In grade 5, I didn’t like how tall I was.
I used my long legs for track and the basketball team. I was the fastest girl in my grade for the 100-meter sprint. My basketball coach used me for blocking all the other team’s shots.
But I didn’t like how tall I was.
In grade 6, my eyebrows were too furry.
Two caterpillars rested on top of my eyes, and I knew that girls thought they were ugly. So I shortened them – with scissors. Yep, not with a perfectly capable eyebrow plucker. Instead, I took two sharp long blades and snipped off half of my eyebrow. I can tell you I was better off with the caterpillars.
And in grade 8, I began to compare my body shape to the ones around me – my friends’, their sisters’ and their sisters’ friends’. I didn’t compare my health, I compared my appearance. Now that I look back, I think there’s something wrong with that.
As a child, you aren’t aware that you don’t get to choose what is normal, accepted, healthy. You don’t realize that your opinion doesn’t matter that much and that your talents will be disregarded if your standard of beauty and expression don’t align with the norms. There are standards. Let the media do that for you, let the people decide what is best for you.
How about you create your own rules?
I am now a fourth-year university student studying media, communication, and culture. I still have long legs, thick eyebrows, and fat on my hips, but I like it. It’s me and I am healthy.
As much as I love advertising and public relations, I think it’s important to reflect on what the media tries to sell to you. Magazines, insta-models, have this, be that. We need be more aware. If we constantly listen to external opinions, our reality will turn from subjective to more objective in nature.
What I’m saying is that it shouldn’t be our goal to look like Kylie Jenner. You are you, and you don’t need to buy anything to achieve that. The goal should be to feel comfortable in our own bodies and abilities, and we can do that by blocking out negative influences and reconstructing what it means to be happy.
So next time, think twice after double-tapping an insta-model or watching a commercial that hits you right in the feels. Nike won’t get you to the Olympics just like Coke won’t “open happiness”. Instead of identifying ourselves through what we wear and what we drink, we should identify ourselves through what we say and do.
Remember to stay curious, be kind, and have faith.