Be your own beautiful

IT might just be me but I feel that as teenagers, there is a lot of pressure to be a certain person.

This person would change depending on different factors - what TV shows you like, which celebrities you follow, who your friends are, who your family wants you to be and who you want yourself to be.

But the word beauty has become something specific.

When there are people like Kate Moss telling us that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, why wouldn’t we want to lose weight?

When the only images we see of our idols come with professional makeup, lighting, styling and hours of photoshop, why wouldn’t we feel inadequate?

Why wouldn’t we want to drastically change our appearance - wear more makeup, wear different clothing, change our friends?

Why wouldn’t we? When we are constantly being told that what we already are isn’t enough.

You see the media’s been doing this really fun thing for years now where we’re taught subliminally that instead of counting our blessings, we should be counting calories and that our weight is a measure of our worth.

That the amount of skin a girl chooses to show tells you how “easy” she is. That how muscly a boy is dictates how dateable he is.

We wonder why intermediate age kids are suddenly looking and acting like teenagers when this is how they are taught to act.

You will not find a “pre-teen” played by an actual pre-teen on a TV show. No they will be a teenager, 16 or 17.

It’s the same for teenagers - “teens” on TV and in movies are played by twenty-somethings. Watching this we feel the standards raise.

There is this constant unattainable bar for how we as teenagers should act or look, we should be more mature, prettier, more handsome, get a better body.

It’s made worse by the fact that everything is all so in your face.

Walk into a shop and you will be hard-pressed to find a magazine that isn’t trying its best to make you feel inadequate; “how to to lose belly fat in 10 days!” “six-pack in six weeks” “what you SHOULDN’T be eating and why”.

You log into your instagram and the first picture that pops up is some scantily clad bronzed barbie and her buff boyfriend on a beach in the Bahamas.

The next one is that girl in your class that could be a model, face flawlessly covered in makeup, hair perfectly curled, just casually like “I look like crap today! and NEXT is the one who goes to the gym every day and posts a selfie every time they workout, because they look amazing and they know it.

And then you start to think, “Wow she’s beautiful. gosh, they’re perfect. Is that what I’m supposed to look like?
why don’t I look like that? How can I look like that?”

And suddenly the word beautiful becomes something else.

It becomes something elusive, we see it in everyone else but can’t see it in ourselves.

If our body is our house how often do we try to burn it to the ground?

How often do we shatter the window panes, break the doors, ransack the cupboards, throwing everything on the floor?

Beauty becomes something arrogant.

We are taught from a young age that to call yourself beautiful is selfish. There aren’t many who could stand here and say to you, fully believing it ; I am beautiful and I mean it. I feel fake even saying those words hypothetically.

Beauty becomes something fearful.

We worry about not being enough, funny enough, talented enough, worth enough, pretty enough.

We worry that because they are more beautiful that automatically means they are better than us, worth more than us.

There shouldn’t be this pressure to look a certain way, this expectation of needing makeup to hide our “flaws”, this sense of achievement that only comes with seeing a smaller number on the scale.

I’m trying to say that we shouldn’t be taught to base our worth off our physical appearance.

Beauty isn’t just found in a flawless face or a faultless body, even though that is all the word means to us now.

If I asked you to think of something beautiful, I’m guessing you thought of a person and yet we know that this isn’t all that beauty is limited to.

It can be found in anything, the laughter between friends, the love between families, the sun staining the sky as it sets. Your best friend who has been by your side from the moment you chose them in the window of the pet shop.

Numbers and measurements shouldn’t dictate when we deem ourselves worthy. Having a certain number of friends or fitting into a certain size dress or doing something you hate simply because everyone else is and so you should, won’t make you feel happier, more worthy.

One of my favourite songwriters said, “Robbing someone’s smile and putting it on your face doesn’t make you happy.”

I think that, in an age where everyone is so ready to give their two cents and come to quick conclusions without really thinking about people’s feelings, or how what they say or spread online could affect others, it’s important to focus on yourself.

Focus on what you enjoy, what makes you happy.

Be your own beautiful.

IT might just be me but I feel that as teenagers, there is a lot of pressure to be a certain person.

This person would change depending on different factors - what TV shows you like, which celebrities you follow, who your friends are, who your family wants you to be and who you want yourself to be.

But the word beauty has become something specific.

When there are people like Kate Moss telling us that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, why wouldn’t we want to lose weight?

When the only images we see of our idols come with professional makeup, lighting, styling and hours of photoshop, why wouldn’t we feel inadequate?

Why wouldn’t we want to drastically change our appearance - wear more makeup, wear different clothing, change our friends?

Why wouldn’t we? When we are constantly being told that what we already are isn’t enough.

You see the media’s been doing this really fun thing for years now where we’re taught subliminally that instead of counting our blessings, we should be counting calories and that our weight is a measure of our worth.

That the amount of skin a girl chooses to show tells you how “easy” she is. That how muscly a boy is dictates how dateable he is.

We wonder why intermediate age kids are suddenly looking and acting like teenagers when this is how they are taught to act.

You will not find a “pre-teen” played by an actual pre-teen on a TV show. No they will be a teenager, 16 or 17.

It’s the same for teenagers - “teens” on TV and in movies are played by twenty-somethings. Watching this we feel the standards raise.

There is this constant unattainable bar for how we as teenagers should act or look, we should be more mature, prettier, more handsome, get a better body.

It’s made worse by the fact that everything is all so in your face.

Walk into a shop and you will be hard-pressed to find a magazine that isn’t trying its best to make you feel inadequate; “how to to lose belly fat in 10 days!” “six-pack in six weeks” “what you SHOULDN’T be eating and why”.

You log into your instagram and the first picture that pops up is some scantily clad bronzed barbie and her buff boyfriend on a beach in the Bahamas.

The next one is that girl in your class that could be a model, face flawlessly covered in makeup, hair perfectly curled, just casually like “I look like crap today! and NEXT is the one who goes to the gym every day and posts a selfie every time they workout, because they look amazing and they know it.

And then you start to think, “Wow she’s beautiful. gosh, they’re perfect. Is that what I’m supposed to look like?
why don’t I look like that? How can I look like that?”

And suddenly the word beautiful becomes something else.

It becomes something elusive, we see it in everyone else but can’t see it in ourselves.

If our body is our house how often do we try to burn it to the ground?

How often do we shatter the window panes, break the doors, ransack the cupboards, throwing everything on the floor?

Beauty becomes something arrogant.

We are taught from a young age that to call yourself beautiful is selfish. There aren’t many who could stand here and say to you, fully believing it ; I am beautiful and I mean it. I feel fake even saying those words hypothetically.

Beauty becomes something fearful.

We worry about not being enough, funny enough, talented enough, worth enough, pretty enough.

We worry that because they are more beautiful that automatically means they are better than us, worth more than us.

There shouldn’t be this pressure to look a certain way, this expectation of needing makeup to hide our “flaws”, this sense of achievement that only comes with seeing a smaller number on the scale.

I’m trying to say that we shouldn’t be taught to base our worth off our physical appearance.

Beauty isn’t just found in a flawless face or a faultless body, even though that is all the word means to us now.

If I asked you to think of something beautiful, I’m guessing you thought of a person and yet we know that this isn’t all that beauty is limited to.

It can be found in anything, the laughter between friends, the love between families, the sun staining the sky as it sets. Your best friend who has been by your side from the moment you chose them in the window of the pet shop.

Numbers and measurements shouldn’t dictate when we deem ourselves worthy. Having a certain number of friends or fitting into a certain size dress or doing something you hate simply because everyone else is and so you should, won’t make you feel happier, more worthy.

One of my favourite songwriters said, “Robbing someone’s smile and putting it on your face doesn’t make you happy.”

I think that, in an age where everyone is so ready to give their two cents and come to quick conclusions without really thinking about people’s feelings, or how what they say or spread online could affect others, it’s important to focus on yourself.

Focus on what you enjoy, what makes you happy.

Be your own beautiful.

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Susie Anderson - 1 month ago
Written by my beautiful second granddaughter, who has been beautiful since the day she arrived. I, at the ripe old age of 77, have and do struggle with the sentiments she has so eloquently described. Well done!

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