I Believe in Being Mean

Amy - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on March 13, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

Saying “little white lies” to give confidence boosts are the most harmful form of deceit. Telling me that my dress is flattering when, in reality, the garment only defines my stomach pooch and makes my ankles look more like “kankles” is a compliment you should never utter, for I believe in being mean. I believe that the harsh, brutal truth will result in much more happiness than petty compliments which are most likely lies. Indeed, sometimes it is a genuine compliment when someone tells me that the shirt I’m wearing brings out my brilliant blue eyes, but nine times out of ten, my shirt makes my face look exceptionally pale and creates the façade that I have man shoulders. Complimenting any of my features, outfits, or supposed talents only fortifies my insecurities and prompts me to wonder what hideous component of my ensemble makes you want to compliment me in order to cover up your dissatisfaction with my appearance.

Walking down the staircase towards the front door, my mom gushed, “Wow, Amy, you look so beautiful today!” Clad in my inventive outfit consisting of a black turtleneck and bright pink skirt along with my brand-new pink glasses, I couldn’t have been more confident. I had picked out my outfit and put my sandy blond hair in pigtails—all by myself. My mom told me that I looked beautiful, so it must be true. Unfortunately, my creative style was not met with the same enthusiasm from my new third grade classmates on the first day of school. Instead, my glasses, which I proudly wore only earned me the reputation of being a huge geek with no fashion sense. I was scoffed at and had trouble making friends at my new school, for nobody wanted to be friends with the typical nerd. It took me almost a year to make any friends after my horrible entrance.

I often think back to this day and wish my mom had told me how hideous I looked. Some optimists may say that dressing the way I did helped me find friends who truly accepted me for who I was. However, not one girl volunteered to be my friend until the memory of that first day had dulled in her mind. If my mom had been bold enough to be completely honest, I believe I would have had a much happier school year. I don’t blame her for complimenting her daughter as most mothers do, but now when my mom compliments me, I change whatever she says looks nice.

My experience in third grade made me realize that telling someone how horrible she looks will temporarily hinder her confidence, but in the end, she will thank me. Whenever I slight someone’s appearance, they tell me I’m being mean, but really, I’m just being honest, and honesty is a quality that most humans claim to, and should, value above all else.