I was born with the confidence of a wild horse, until the world slowly broke me down--brick by brick, zit by zit. That is to say, every supposed "flaw" on my face or body was first pointed out to me by someone else.
I had no idea my forehead was big until a middle school bully asked if she could use it to help her with her geometry homework. (Good one, CATIE.) My big hips never phased my tween-age self until my mom jokingly called them “birthing hips.” Hell, I was even naively cool with my gappy teeth until a commercial for Invisalign told me I shouldn't be.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten a lot better at handling my insecurities. Some days are better than others, but overall I’m way stronger than the bumbling, self-loathing woman I used to be. I can remember avoiding mirrors and photos at all costs, and crying, on multiple occasions, at the sight of my own reflection.
That’s why products and treatments designed to “fix” things on my face or body bother me so much, because I vividly remember how much I desperately wanted to correct those things--and how I would have tried anything.
These days, I’m over that noise. I seek to better myself by reading books, exercising, and eating healthfully, but I'm no longer looking to "correct" my flaws. Rather, I'm embracing them, redefining the things I once hated as things that I love.
1. My Wild, Frizzy Hair
I started leafing through women’s magazines as soon as I could read. I devoured Marie Claire, Allure, and Redbook with a feverish excitement. One of the first things I "learned" was that long, wavy, shiny, silky hair was essential to being beautiful. My hair has never been, and in all likeliness will never be, shiny or silky. I’ve got my mom’s hair--thin, curly, frizzy, and wild--but when I think back to being a little kid, I adored my mom's hair. Still, I've spent hundreds of hours of my life blow-drying, straightening, glossing, gelling, scrunching, and otherwise beating my hair into submission. But frizz is just part of the game with curly hair, and I'm done trying to fight it. I’m on a mission to rebrand frizz as its own sort of volume, which is another thing those lady mags told me I needed.
2. The Bags Under My Eyes
Ah, yes, every woman's worst enemy--under-eye bags. I’ve probably purchased dozens of concealers and treatments designed to hide or disguise my permanent bags, but nothing--I repeat, NOTHING--has worked. Like global warming or Madonna, these bags are here to stay.
Honestly, the hype about hiding under-eye bags seems like just that, hype. First of all, for a lot of us, those under-eye bags are genetic. Lots of women in my family have them, and it has nothing to do with how much sleep we’re getting. Even if your bags are a result of a sleepless night or two, who cares? You were probably too busy working or having fun to sleep for eight hours, right? In 2014, under-eye bags are just the cool girl way of letting everyone know how busy and exciting your life is.
3. My Freckles And Moles
Most days, I wear a thin layer of some sort of CC cream to cancel out redness and hide any zits that have popped up. I like to work with the thinnest coverage possible, because I hate hiding my freckles and moles (aka beauty marks), but that wasn’t always the case. I used to slather on foundation in the hopes of creating the flawless complexion I was never meant to have.
In a world full of airbrushed faces, freckles and moles can feel like blemishes. But they’re NOT. (Plus, what’s wrong with blemishes?) Freckles are super cute and everyone knows it, but moles are, too. My face is covered in them, as well as some other discoloration, thanks to dumb teenage Rachel’s tanning addiction. These days, the only thought I put into my moles is when I check them for irregularities, because I’m hyper-paranoid about skin cancer, also thanks to dumb teenage Rachel’s tanning addiction.
4. The Cellulite On My Butt And Thighs
I’ve been freaking out about my body since I was 11. And I’m exhausted. I’m tired of skipping meals, making myself barf, popping diet pills, trying out yet another fad diet, and otherwise making myself miserable. Today, I’m all about being as healthy as possible, and I'm fine with not looking like the woman on the cover of a magazine.
I eat well, workout regularly, and drink tons of water--and guess what? At a size 4, I’ve still got cellulite. Despite trying bunches of anti-cellulite creams, lotions, serums, and treatments, my butt and the back of my thighs remain dotted with those cute little dimples. That's just the lay of the land.
I’m thankful for this body that is strong and capable. These legs might have cellulite, but they also run, walk, cycle, and kick.
I’m not done with my confidence journey, but I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of myself. I’m OVER hating myself, and I'm equally OVER products that promote that sort of self-loathing.
I still wear concealer on my zits sometimes; I wear mascara to make my eyes look bigger; and I wear ChapStick so my lips won’t peel or crack. But for the most part, I use makeup for fun and self-expression. It’s not about meeting any standard or becoming anyone other than myself.
What beauty insecurities have you overcome? Are you also OVER the industry's numerous “correcting” products?