As a young girl, I had a careless attitude toward my appearance. My skin was merely skin. Slowly, the years came and went, and the carelessness faded along with my childhood. I was suddenly gaining awareness of my imperfections. My skin was different. It was pale white, flushed when I became nervous or embarrassed, and, like most teenagers’ complexions, had blemishes. Even teammates from my CYO volleyball team nicknamed me the “Heat-O-Meter” since my face turned crimson at the sign of any physical activity. Soon enough, I developed an overwhelming hatred toward my skin. Complaints about the newest pimple on my forehead or the almost-translucent tone of my legs arose whenever I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My veins shone through my colorless wrists, and my skin was like paper…hideous paper. My reflection even evoked tears from within me. I hated myself. Every time I saw someone who was devoid of blemishes or pasty, white skin, envy whirled within me. I desired to have untouched, flawless, beautiful, tanned skin like those women I saw in magazines. Unfortunately, I was nothing like them. All the tanning beds in the world could never rid me of my sensitive, chalky-white skin. In my eyes, I was an abomination.
It was not long before expressions of my pessimistic attitude toward myself became bothersome. Gradually, the vision of my haunting reflection perished, and what was wrong with my complexion became what was beautiful about it. I no longer concentrated on the impurities of the empty, white canvas which covered my muscles and bones, but I saw the wonders of its presence. Bumps and bruises, scars and blemishes, laugh lines and sunburns were all now the brilliant inner workings of my human design. The way my skin gathered at the elbows, knees, and ankles, to bend for the contours of my bones, fascinated me. I discovered the miraculous formation of my skin cells, and how wonderful it was that all those miniscule particles formed the most captivating masterpiece my eyes had ever witnessed. I found constellations formed by freckles and made them into happy faces, hearts, and stars. I discovered that the lines on my face were not just “wrinkles” or “laugh lines”, but they were memories. Every time I had smiled at a stranger, laughed with a loved one, or smirked at a teacher’s funny hair-do, it was right there on my face. Everything about my skin was unbelievably interesting and wonderful. Innocently rediscovering my beauty somewhat brought back my childish, yet open-minded ways. Not only was my skin now tolerable, it was extraordinary.
Through my struggle with my skin, I learned the true significance of beauty. I believe that the “perfect image” is not being perfect; it is being imperfect. I believe that as a human race, skin connects us all; skin is beautiful on everyone. And lastly, I believe my rosy cheeks, light complexion, and constellations of freckles make me unique and radiant. I believe in my skin.
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