This I Believe

Danielle - New Glarus, Wisconsin
Entered on January 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Comparing to Perfection

“Why did you eat that? Why don’t you exercise more? Why don’t you look like her?” The common phrase rang in my ear like church bells as I stared into a reflective glass. It recognized every bulge and flaw while, at the same time, saying that my best features were only kinda pretty. Ish. I look at my front. Left Side. Right Side. And the back.

This would happen everyday and I no longer thought of myself as the Disney-placed adjectives of “special”, “beautiful on the inside”, and “looks aren’t always important”. Instead, they were replaced with the new ideas of “fat”, “ugly”, “unimportant”, and (my personal favorite) “not good enough”. These were placed by all of the things that my friends and I have seen. The bags of bones that we see stroll down the runways that “need to lose weight”. The Miss America’s that we see that can point out a million flaws about their looks. The older actresses that fill their faces with so much collagen that they can’t even smile. I can hear my friends say, “I’m so fat” when they weigh 110 lbs. at 5’ 9”, and “I’m so ugly”, when they look like Scarlett Johanson.

As much as it frustrated and annoyed me telling them every second that it’s not true, I found even myself stating the lies formed by a magazine and a mirror. When flipping through the pages of a magazine, once can see what the eyes have been trained to do by society. They’ve been programmed to compare and contrast until we’ve dissected every pore of the “picture perfect” and ourselves. They look at the lines of flesh as if they were drawn by a toddler rather than the images’ Van Gogh-Creator.

Even as I do this, as many should suspect, you sink into the feelings of hatred of yourself, and even more possibly into depression. I have seen many turn to anorexia, self-mutilating, and even suicide. They felt that it’s the only way to be deemed as normal and acceptable. I have even bent to the pressure of comparison, saying “Your fat”, “Your ugly”, and “Your not good enough”. The words that had stamped the ideas in my mind as “true”. The days of Disney were long gone. Now, it was time for the real world.

Away from the protective shield of Mickey Mouse, I thought that the only way that I could be totally satisfied would be to turn the mirror in my room to broken shards of glass upon the floor. But, of course, that didn’t work. For the shards on the floor made my image even more distorted. While staring into the glass, one can see why this comparison is so. The images are made to make us feel terrible in comparison so that we will buy beauty products to make us like them, when in actuality the “perfect” image is not a person, but an image. Either the companies were creating a self-sustaining genocide of the general people, or they didn’t know. But all I knew was that I shouldn’t care and that no one else should. Realizing that the problem wasn’t me, I put the shards back into the frame. Looking back into the glass once more, turned, turned, and turned. I sighed deeply, “God I’m gorgeous.”