After watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, I felt many things, all of which encompassed around feeling very, very inferior. So naturally, I bought a bottle of white wine, threw on my favorite lingerie, and stared at myself in the mirror. This is what I saw.
I stood on my “tippy” toes, stretched out my arms side to side, threw my head up, messed around with my hair, and turned around to see my backside. After doing all of these motions in the mirror, I realized that all these actions embody the things I wish I could see in myself.
I stood on my toes, because I have to wonder if maybe my self-worth would feel a little bit more secure if I could just stand a little bit taller. I stretched out my arms side to side, because like wanting to be taller, I wish I was longer and leaner; I wish I was stronger… in all aspects of my life; I wish I was more open-armed to the things in my life I hold onto so tightly, like the things that freak me out and the things I’m not ready to let go of or are too afraid to open up to. I threw my head up because I’m bad at eye contact and have this terrible habit of looking and smiling at people with my face down. I messed with my hair because despite dying it lighter and cutting it all off, I still manage to hide behind it. I turned around to see my backside, because the parts of me that are exposed while also being the parts of me that I don’t know 100-percent about terrify me. Also because I want to be a person who never looks back, though I always do.
Then I stared at myself and thought of the few people who have seen me like this. Layers off, all of me. Everything on the table. Not many have seen me at this point, but there have been a select few who have, and it’s a heart-wrenching type of scary. Especially the ones who saw me and all of me, and changed their mind and walked away.
Because then, I have to ask myself why. And then the amount of answers to that question are more than the English alphabet has to offer, and then I feel inferior the same way I did after watching the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
But I know that what I measure up to is much more than tall girls winking and blowing kisses on TV.
I have my dad’s thick hair, my mom’s gentle hands, my mom’s bubbly and infectious laugh, and my dad’s personality of pleasing everyone around me before pleasing myself. I have things from people who have made me who I am today. Maybe that genetic pool doesn’t translate into looking like Adriana Lima, but looking like Ella Marie Cajayon shouldn’t and isn’t the worst thing in the world either.
If there’s one thing I’ve realized when it comes to my life, and especially my body image, it’s that validation and reassurance are two totally different things. It’s absolutely fine to want people to lift us up and reassure us of the things we deep-down already know about ourselves, but it’s not fine to need people to lift us up and validate us as someone who we don’t think we are and think we could never be but want to be.
It’s not who we are that’s holding us back, it’s who and what we think we’re not. It’s who we want to be, when we don’t realize how great the person we are already is. It’s accepting that while we can’t control everything in life, we need to at least be appreciative of what’s right in front of us.
So I feel inferior to bronzed, six-feet tall, almost naked and yet stunning women televised on TV. But the naked truth is that while I may not and never look like that, the person I am versus the person I look like isn’t a fair comparison.
Yes, at 21 years old, I can already see a few wrinkles on my face. Like the parts of my face that crease when I smile, but that just means I’ve smiled enough to make those marks permanent, and what’s so ugly about that?
What I see when I watch the Victoria Secret fashion show is something I can find the words for, but what I see when I look at myself in the mirror could never be fully described in an article. And despite the good and the bad that I see in myself when I look in the mirror, the fact that what I see in myself cannot be defined, in a way, is so much more beautiful than an underwear model who makes me feel inferior. That’s the one thing we have over them, and that one thing speak volumes. Because who I am in the mirror is raw, unedited, and not scripted, something supermodel women we see on TV will never be.
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