The beauty industry has definitely been shaken up in recent years, particularly as the beauty standards have increasingly shifted. Nowadays, we see more people of color being represented in ads and on the runway. Clothing lines claim to be more inclusive. But at the same time, social media and influencers have not been as forgiving, and sadly I, along with millions of girls around the world, have felt the repercussions of that. We push ourselves to spend long and painful hours at the gym, change our hair, try fad diet after fad diet etc. We invest so much in an attempt to look more like “them.” The investment is not just monetary. The investment costs us time, energy, confidence and even sanity.
This is something I truly struggled with when I first got to Notre Dame. Many international students thought I had an unfair advantage when it came to fitting in. I looked white. I could pass for an American. But this is definitely not how I felt. Looking around me, all I could notice was how different I was from the other girls. To be honest, for the first few weeks everybody looked exactly the same to me. I had trouble distinguishing faces. Almost every girl around me was a skinny athletic white blonde of average height.
And the worst part was that I wasn’t any of that. My insecurities bubbled up as I found myself hating parts of me I had never thought twice about before. I started hating my broad shoulders. At times I thought I wasn’t tall enough. Other times I was too big. I imagined myself with lighter eyes and lighter hair. Some days I was too curvy and wished I could flatten my curves. On other days, I was as flat as a board. I wanted to erase my beauty marks. Wouldn’t all these changes make me more attractive?
As time went by, it became increasingly difficult to not focus on the imperfections. You see, when the little voice in your head calls out all the imperfections, you can’t help but assume that everyone else sees them too.
I’m not going to pretend I have uncovered the formula to make all insecurities disappear, nor will I pretend that I feel the most comfortable in my skin. Trust me, I am far from that, but I do want to get there at some point. Hopefully soon because this state I’m stuck in is quite vulnerable and unforgiving.
The next time you feel like …….