Today, I woke up, looked in the mirror, and thought to myself, “Wow, I’m cute!”
Of course, I didn’t say it out loud. Because if I did, whoever happened to hear me would snort and sarcastically answer, “Yeah, and modest, too.” But what’s wrong with knowing, acknowledging, and enjoying that we like the way we look?
Recently, Teen Vogue ran an article about women agreeing with men who complimented them. You can read the full article here (it’s great), but the main idea is, women started saying “I know” when men complimented their appearance. And men did not react well to it.
Now, I’ll be the first to say that appearance is NOT the most important thing we should value in women, and I’ll probably write another post on just that topic alone. But today I want to talk about the fact that it’s OKAY to like our appearance.
When I was a junior in high school, I first started embracing my big hair. Instead of tying it back, straightening it, or getting it thinned out, I started putting gels in it to make it even bigger and curlier. I started enjoying my hair.
One day, my hair looked particularly awesome. Big, fluffy curls. Parted down the side so that it flipped over the top of my head. I was walking down the hallway when I guy called to me, "Your hair looks great today!" So, of course, I said back, "Thank you! I thought my hair looked awesome today too."
|Me in high school, discovering the |
joys of big hair.
This teacher passing by stopped in her tracks. She was just like, "WOW. Did you just agree with him? I never see students do that. Wow. Good for you!" I appreciated the compliment, but I didn't really get what she was talking about. I was always taught that if someone compliments you, you say thank you. But this teacher said, "Most students I see would disagree and say, 'Thanks, but I think my hair looks awful.'"
What? Why were we supposed to disagree with people complimenting us? Like, I get that we're not supposed to walk around going, "I'm the best! I look amazing!" all the time, since that can be rude. But why were we supposed to not like ourselves?
A few years later, One Direction got popular with their song "What Makes You Beautiful," which included the famous line, "You don't know you're beautiful. That's what makes you beautiful." I think that's when I started to get it--that men find insecurity and low self-esteem attractive in a woman. That female confidence is intimidating. It's not cute to know you're cute. It's cute to hate your body so that men can save you with their unsolicited compliments.
But here's the thing: I'm not going to hate my body. I did that enough when I was younger. Before I started taking medicine to manage my anxiety, I dealt with a lot of body dysmorphia. I couldn't see myself how I actually looked; when I looked in the mirror, I saw a girl maybe twice my size. As a result, I spent a good amount of high school tired, starving, and underweight. (Except my hair, which probably weighed more than my body.)
Now, I'm a 24-year-old sort-of adult. I've gained 25 pounds since high school, I've gone through therapy, I've started taking medication, and I'm happy as hell.
So, I'm allowed to be cute, and to know that I'm cute.
I'll bet you're cute, too.
Tell me in the comments! Happy Saturday!