This I Believe

Katherine - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on November 16, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe appearance affects everyone and their actions toward others.

In my hometown of Culpeper, VA, I had it all; a great family, loyal friends, and more then a couple guys chasing after me. I was well known in my school and had a pleasant job that filled my wallet. I loved my life and was always out with my friends or playing with my dogs and laughing it up with my mother. Like all teenage girls, I was mindful of my appearance. I did my best to look my best and I never believed I looked unappealing.

Even though I had everything I wanted there was still something missing. I needed to live on my own away from that tiny little dink of a town, to break away from my family and friends to meet new and exciting people, to learn about self-discipline and to keep an organized state of mind. So when I graduated High School, I spent as much time as I could with my friends and family and left for college in August.

The first couple of days consisted mostly of unpacking and calls home. Being away from everyone I knew and loved took a toll. I became so homesick and stressed that my face broke out horribly. My confidence began to diminish and I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I had never realized how important my appearance really was, and I had a feeling that people were disgusted by me.

Soon, I began to realize that not one person I passed on the sidewalk glanced my way. When I would look up and smile at them like I was used to doing back home, they would ignore me or give me a quick look. At that point I realized that people did notice, and my low confidence told me that they actually WERE disgusted with me.

Weeks went by as I hammered it into my brain that I couldn’t compare to any girl on campus. I didn’t even want to go back home because I didn’t want my friends to see me the change. When I arrived back home for fall break, I could feel my confidence come back and my happiness return. I felt so much better about myself and my life that by the end of the break my skin was almost completely clear.

With my arrival back on campus and my confidence as well, I noticed people looking at me and returning my smile, just like I had expected. I was more outgoing and happy as people paid more attention to me. Unfortunately, my skin got worse every day, and I returned to the ignored little girl with no self-esteem. These individuals didn’t notice that they were intentionally looking away from me, mainly because they did it so often to so many people every day. There are just some people that aren’t noticed because of something that they can’t control.