Note: Forgive the two serious posts in recent past. I promise I’ll get back to one-liners and amusing anecdotes soon.
I was browsing Slate.com when a blogpost about a relatively new trend among teenage girls on Youtube stuck out to me. The girls post videos of themselves asking the world to tell them if they’re pretty or ugly.
In one, a girl with dark-rimmed glasses and thick hair complains about having tiny teeth, big hands and small wrists. She tells her audience she sees herself as “this wicked ugly, fat thing,” and begs them to give her their honest opinion.
Even the cute girls are there with similar questions. They seemed just as unsure of themselves.
It’s difficult to watch these videos, partly because of how insecure the girls all seem. Mostly because of how much some of them remind me of myself at that age.
In middle school, I was an awkward girl that people sometimes picked on. Two large moles on both sides of my neck earned me nicknames like Frankenstein and Mole Girl until my parents graciously allowed me to have them removed as an eighth grader. I was weird, too, I’d say. Ultra-religious, awkward and shy, which i attribute to being home-schooled until fifth grade. In middle school I was still adjusting to the new environment.
High school was better but I was always self conscious about my weight and how tall I was.
I never posted a Youtube video of myself asking whether I was pretty. Youtube didn’t even exist yet. But I can relate to this desire for someone to validate my worth.
If I could say something to these girls, my message would be: it gets better. (Can I borrow that phrase from the LGBT community?)
Life gets so much better. Our entire culture is so obsessed with youth that you might make the mistake of thinking that these are the best days of your life.
Don’t get me wrong, youth has a lot of positives and being an adult isn’t always fun, but the best kept secret about aging is that you also grow into yourself. I spent my teenage years trying to make people like me and worrying about those who didn’t. Trying not to mess up for fear of being judged and disappointing people.
Life in my twenties has been about letting go of what other people think about me and finding the type of people who love me and make me come alive. It’s been about finding my own voice.
It gets better, physically too.
You’ll grow into your nose. Your skin will clear up (for the most part). And some day having thighs that don’t touch each other won’t matter at all.
I promise it gets better, girls.
You’ll learn that your personality and how kindly you treat others matter more than your dress size. That the parts of you people called “weird” in high school make you unique and interesting later in life.
You will fall in love with someone who makes you believe you’re worth loving, that you aren’t the ugly duckling after all. You will probably get your heart broken but it will be worth what you learn. Plus, you’ll break a few hearts, too.
Next month I turn 29. I have high hopes for my life as I ease into the next decade — finding love, succeeding at my job, maybe a kid or two. (Maybe). But I can’t be sure of what will happen. I especially don’t know what life will bring your way, but I do know one thing: this, how you feel at this moment, will not last forever.
It gets better.