My Journey to Beauty
Growing up, I was the girl who was always seen playing with the boys. Being my tomboyish self, I had no desire to dress up and try to make myself look pretty for the boys. No, I was one of the boys. They thought of me as one of them, not some girl they might like. That role was fine with me because I was not the least bit interested in romance. Life was all about who could climb the biggest tree and how high you could ramp your bike.
My journey really began when, for the first time, the boys didn’t include me. I was almost a teenager and they no longer saw me as one of them. After all, I was a girl. It was then I actually began to look at myself in the mirror and realized I was growing into a young lady. But I immediately began to notice things that were “wrong” with me. My hair wasn’t blonde enough. My face was covered in acne. My teeth weren’t straight. All these things needed to change before I could be “beautiful.” I was so sure that I was flawed that my self-esteem became very low. My parents kept telling me that I was beautiful because I was the way that God had made me. But I could not be swayed in my opinion of myself. Every other girl that I saw seemed to have everything I was so sure I needed.
I continued to think down about myself but things changed a bit when I got my first boyfriend at the age of fifteen. John Matthews Jr. made me feel like the most beautiful girl on earth. He reminded me every day that I was perfect just the way I was. Through the love of my boyfriend I began to realize maybe I wasn’t flawed.
After three months though, things changed. We were realizing that we were not compatible as we had first though. So, the relationship ended and I was once again left alone. Without the constant reminder that I was beautiful my self-esteem began to plummet. Once again I would stand in front of the mirror and point out to myself all the flaws that I saw. My parents continued to try and help build up my confidence. But parents are supposed to think their kids are beautiful and handsome so that didn’t help at all. I cared about what the rest of the world called beautiful.
Beauty continued to be an issue for me and I tried everything I could to be beautiful. I soon became involved in many immoral things, just so I could feel better about myself. But the more things I did, the less beautiful I felt. Those things were not making me beautiful. Instead they made me feel dirty and used. The guys I were involved with only cared about my body and how much I was willing to give them.
When I was sixteen I went to a church youth camp in Michigan. It was there that I met the guy that I spent the next two years loving. His name was Daniel Johnson, and to me, he was gorgeous. He was muscular, charming, and surprisingly enough he seemed to take an interest in me. At this particular time though, I was back with John again. We had gotten back in contact and decided to give it another go. While I was at this camp, John did something stupid that caused the Emergency Room doctors to think he might have a brain tumor. I became very angry with John, so when Daniel flirted, I flirted back.
Soon after camp, John and I broke up again, but this time was different. I had liked Daniel at camp and we had traded numbers causing us to text a lot. The more I got to know Daniel, the more I fell for him. Yes, he was a player but I tried to ignore that. He was always on and off about me, never really wanting to commit. When we were together he was always looking at other girls but he wanted to keep me around and refused to let me go. The first time he kissed me we both felt something and even he admitted to that.
A year passed and he continued to try and find a girlfriend, one that wasn’t me. I never could figure out why he didn’t want to date me when he admitted to having feelings for me. We were perfect for each other, or so I thought.
Another year passed and Daniel and I got closer as friends and I was so sure that he was finally going to choose me. He came and spent a weekend at my house and things finally started to happen. We were kissing when he finally asked me for sex. Now I had to make a big decision. As of that moment he had never wanted a relationship with me and now he wanted to take away something that was, and still is, very important to me. I refused him and it was then the truth came out. I asked him how he could expect that of me yet not want to date me. “You are perfect for me in every way…except your face.” Those words did something to me. My heart broke into a million pieces and any self-esteem I had was now shattered with it.
I never saw Daniel again after that weekend and that was okay with me. I had said my goodbyes and now I was trying to move forward. In my desperation to be loved by any guy, including him, I had become someone I didn’t recognize, someone I hated.
Slowly, I let my faith and trust in God return and I began the long journey of building myself back into the person I wanted to be. It was a painful process and I had to come to terms with the fact I would never be anything other than me. Friends banded together and worked to help me get back up and keep moving forward in my life.
Several months later, I was halfway through my senior year of high school. I was slowly moving forward but I didn’t trust any guys except for my best friend, Darrin. He helped me see that not all guys were like that.
Right around graduation, a really great guy named Oliver approached my mom and told her that he wanted to date me. She told him that I had been through a really rough time and he would have to win my heart if he was really interested in having a relationship with me. Oliver, being the kind of guy he was, proceeded to do that. In the next month or so we began dating. He was everything I had ever wanted.
I had begun to see myself as beautiful again and Oliver loved reminding me that I was. We built each other up and made each other stronger. We had talked about the future and our relationship was getting serious. When I went with my mom to Canada to visit family, I received the phone call that I never thought was coming. He was ending things. To this day I still don’t know why.
“You are perfect for me in every way…except your face.” Those words immediately came to my mind and I was certain this was the reason he had ended things. We talked after he broke it off and he swore up and down that it wasn’t me. Even though my self-confidence was better, the words still bothered me.
For the first time in my teenage life, I had self-esteem that wasn’t completely crumbling around me when a relationship ended. I was slowly learning that being me was okay. God was helping to show me that I was perfect the way he had made me and I just needed to be myself. I could finally go shopping and buy something I liked and not care what others thought. It was very freeing and I began to become someone that I loved. My personality was something that I had always liked, and I was now realizing that beauty isn’t just about looks.
The many hurts and disappointments that I faced, and still face, have been a journey. They have taught me how it amazing it is to find the beauty within yourself and others. They taught me to love who I am and to never apologize for being that person.
Beauty isn’t about looking like a super model or a athlete. It isn’t about having the perfect body or having flawless skin. Beauty is something that each and every person already has. It lies inside all of us and we just need to set it free. I had to learn that other people didn’t get to decide whether or not I was beautiful. They didn’t get to tell me who to be or how to act. Now that I have stopped caring about what others think, I feel so good. My journey to beauty has just begun and isn’t always an easy one, but it’s worth it.