Trying to teach myself that I am beautiful

Katianna Mansfield

More stories from Katianna Mansfield

I am okay now
February 16, 2018

Now that I have apologized to my body for all the harm I’ve caused and worked around the clock to heal it, I have an important task to accomplish to allow myself to be happy physically, mentally, and emotionally with my body:

I have to realize that I am beautiful.

Years of self-conscious mirror glances, rejection, and genuinely being told I’m not attractive by a multitude of people have led to the belief that I am inherently ugly.

This is not something I discuss openly– there are maybe two people on this planet who know I feel this way. I know that every person has self-image problem; it has made me reluctant to talk about it because I feel like I don’t have a right to do so. But now that I see how it has impacted me and hurt my perception of the world, I have to get it out of my heart and off of my shoulders.

It’s not okay to hate parts of me because I don’t look like other people. It affects me so deeply, these insecurities that feel so cliche to talk about. But, they’re exceptionally important; I have to emphasize them.

Feeling fundamentally unalluring has given me issues with my confidence that have struck deep and embedded themselves into my very roots. I have a problem with believing my significant other finds me attractive. I look for constant reassurance, and even then I just look in the mirror and can’t believe them. This creates a barrier in my trust with a person if I don’t think they feel attraction to me, one of the initial powerful bases for a relationship.

I have developed a competitive nature with my female coworkers who can get good tips just because they’re gorgeous and flirty. I needed to become the best without those things to feel good about myself. Maybe I have never gotten a random $50 tip or phone numbers, and Snapchat usernames at the bottoms of checks are vastly rare. But, I have genuine connections with each person that walks in the door, and I am a great caretaker. When people tell me something they like about me physically, it lights up my entire world. I have worked so hard to be beautiful on the inside because I have always believed that I am not beautiful on the outside– I have to give people a reason to like me. But if someone mentions a characteristic they appreciate that they have to look at on a daily basis, that induces a small earthquake on my tree of insecurity.

Every time I think poorly of my physical appearance, I will pull up pictures from when I felt beautiful. I will memorize the feeling of feeling attractive. When I go to the store to shop for clothes, I won’t look at the things I see all the girls my age wearing and decide to try them on just to see. I’ll remember that I have a different body type that looks good in the clothes I like and that I don’t have to torture myself to fit the constraints of “in” clothing.

I will try my best to believe people when they tell me they find me beautiful.

I will take my biggest insecurities and make them my favorite attributes.

These wide hips that give a sassy waitress pose (thanks, Mason), they are not too big, and it doesn’t matter that most girls don’t have them. My eyes aren’t tired and bloodshot; they are worn and experienced, and they show every emotion I have. My teeth aren’t yellow and full of old cavities; they are straight and pretty, and they look better now that I let myself smile with them. Lips that always remain scarred and scabbed, dry and cracked, they are a part of me and are intrinsic to my person. My hair is unkempt and split, but I work the breakdown look well. Bigger cheeks frame my face and give it volume, they’re not chubby or child-like. My eyebrows don’t have to be full, sleek arches to look beautiful; they can be sparse and crooked, and it’s okay that I talk with them so vivaciously. Being short does not make me look stubby or awkward. I am small and compact, and I pack a mean punch.

I will memorize the feeling of feeling attractive.”

I will work every day the way I know I am capable of, and I will prove to myself that I am gorgeous. Maybe not like everyone else, but I don’t have to be.

I can be beautiful like me, exactly the way I am.