When I was ten years old, I thought I was ugly.
A boy in the year above at school said I was.
I pretended I didn’t care, then went home and cried.
Fourteen years later, I still remember that throwaway comment. It doesn’t make me cry anymore (ha! thank the days, that would be awkward). But it triggered an awareness – of my appearance, and how people can use their opinion of it as a weapon.
Since that indelible day, a plethora of strangers and acquaintances have offered unprovoked criticisms – about my face, legs, body weight, teeth, even hands (true story).
I’ve been metaphorically cut up into nebulous body parts, and condemned accordingly.
Of course, it’s human nature to judge physical appearance. But a line is crossed when that opinion is directly verbalised, rather than kept private.
(There have been nice comments too, but it’s funny what sticks with you as the years go by.)
Whether these comments are accurate or not isn’t really the point, and I’m not looking to organise a pity party.
Rather – why would someone want to criticise my appearance, if I hadn’t asked for their opinion? And why do people think it’s okay to do so?
Whether I’m fat, thin, attractive, unfortunate-looking… surely that’s my concern, and no-one else’s?
I wonder what people want to achieve by it… superiority, solace, security… Whatever it might be, it’s so easy to accept someone’s perception of you.
People love to pigeon-hole, and when it’s so subtly done, it can masquerade as truth.
But truth, it is not.
Attacking someone’s appearance is cowardly.
Someone’s view of you does not define who you are.
You are worth more than someone’s mark out of ten.
So, at the risk of sounding earnest… here’s to owning what I am, whatever that is. Here’s to not stressing about whether I’m the next Victoria Secret Model or not. Because as long as I think I am (ha!), that’s all that matters.