This I Believe

Megan - Flint, Michigan
Entered on April 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Adolescence can be an oppressive experience for anyone who belongs to the human species. The thought of sex, drugs, and your appearance always circulates in the back of your head. It’s hard to feel at ease with so many changes taking place, and depression could possibly overcome you. I believe there is one way to fight this burden of adolescence, and it’s what I like to call self confidence.

When I was 13, I noticed I had appeared different from the girls everyone considered to be ‘hot’. I lacked the shiny hair, flat stomach, and toned legs. My teeth were not straight and white, and my nose wasn’t small. I couldn’t talk to people easily, and the word flirt didn’t exist in my dictionary. My social life consisted of one friend, and I often found myself eating alone at lunch. During class I would hear stories of parties that had occurred over the weekend, and often felt like my life was not worth living. When I’d go home, I’d stand in the mirror with my shirt off, and pinch my fat. I’d always complain to my mother about how fat I was, and she’d say the same 4 words to me every time, “Do something about it”.

It wasn’t until summer of 2005 that I took in my mother’s positive advice. I had planned a workout schedule, which consisted of five hundred crunches and twenty minutes on the exercise bike. I started to buy products that made my hair look shiny, and started to wear more makeup. I ended up taking medicine to treat my severe case of social anxiety, which worked fairly well. I had noticed one small glitch in my new lifestyle, I still was not happy. I still listened to the same sad songs, and didn’t associate with boys. I could not figure out what was wrong with me, why I still saw the same ugly person in the mirror, and why I still only had one friend.

Freshmen year had started, and I had developed my very first crush. The thoughts always repeated in my head, “I’m not pretty enough, he’ll never like me, I never talk, and I’m not a flirt”. I examined my friend; she seemed to always have a boyfriend. She had this glow on her like she knew she was beautiful. That’s when it clicked in my head; my attitude was not healthy. I would never get anywhere in life with this sad image of myself, and this lack of confidence. It was like I had grown confidence in my sleep, because the next day I looked in the mirror and thought I was gorgeous. I felt like I could talk to anyone I wanted, and I didn’t care about what people thought of me.

I believe the media plays a huge role in socializing teenage girls. The media sets out this image of what a girl should look like for anyone to like her. I believe girls who don’t look like that perfect, skinny, blonde-haired, blue-eyed model often have a tough time during adolescence. I believe that if girls could look past that media stereotype, and have confidence, it will make their teen life much more enjoyable. Self confidence gets you far in life, and I learned that the hard way.