This I Believe

Ashley - Baltimore, Maryland
Entered on February 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: integrity

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t read bumper stickers. They’re colorful and fascinating, and usually catchy or witty. On each sticker is something that the person believes or supports. Through stickers, I’ve been told that I should spay or neuter my pets, get milk, and love Jesus. The enthusiastic people driving these colorful vehicles have a message to tell.

I believe that everyone has a message for the world, whether it’s on a bumper sticker or not. Instead of being here merely to enjoy the world, I think we each have a way of improving it.

I have a message. I want to tell every woman in the world that she is beautiful. Every little girl longs for someone to think she’s beautiful, and that feeling never goes away. Yet I find that only a very small percentage of women believe they are beautiful. We self-criticize when we don’t meet standards, though those standards are impossible to attain. I want to tell women they’re beautiful, until they believe it.

Before I could tell my message, I had to learn it. I fell into the trap of desiring to be skinny and pretty. It’s a trap because I was in it before I knew it was hurting me. When I was in sixth grade I tried crunches every night to be skinny. In ninth grade, I suffered through a year of boring Aerobics because I thought I’d lose weight. The interesting thing is that I was never overweight. Every day in high school and into college, I wore makeup. For some reason, I thought that I had to have bright eyelids and dark lashes to be acceptable to others. I wouldn’t leave the house without that makeup.

The makeup only made me feel like I was not pretty, and in my second year of college, I realized that I was too concerned with my appearance. I gave up everyday makeup, and I stopped my time-consuming daily hairdo. Instead of wanting to be skinny, I focused on being healthy. And that’s the only way that exercise has worked for me. I’m healthy and I’m comfortable with how I look. I believe I am beautiful.

What I advocate is more than seeking inner beauty; I suggest embracing our outer selves. Women who are comfortable with their bodies are often more attractive than those who are obviously unsatisfied, regardless of appearance. If we are our own worst critics, we can be our strongest advocates. True beauty is how beautiful we think we are. I wish every woman in the world were comfortable with and confident about the way she looks. If I had a bumper sticker on my car, it would say, “You are beautiful.”

If your life were a bumper sticker, what would it say?