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The Secret Life of the American Teenager

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Looking at my face in the bathroom mirror, I review my palette of makeup and dream up the most ridiculous ‘look’ possible. I paint my face using my left hand, to ensure that the art I am creating appears messy, as if completed by a two year old. Finger painting, I recognize that I am finished when I find a smile plastered on my face, which was trying to conceal my laughter. My face was littered with bright blue eyeshadow reaching my eyebrows, lipstick surrounding the outline of my lips, and erratic lines of color sweeping across my cheekbones.
I creep into my room, turning to my friends and let out the explosive laughter that I was holding back. In between hysterics, they manage to give me a thumbs up for the “fabulous” new look I have created. This masterpiece was made for my alter ego, and social experiment, Cynthessa “the model” and would be uploaded to Instagram for the whole world to see.

Now, I bet you’re a bit freaked out right now. Let me get this straight, before you make any strange conclusions. Cynthessa is a character. She is part of an anthropological experiment that I have created to survey the standard of beauty and the culture of young Americans, though evidently, this experiment has changed not only the way I view society, but the way I view myself.

What I’ve realized through this experiment is that people, even young kids, can be very judgmental. I’ve learned that once you put yourself out there and give yourself a label, people will judge you and try to make you feel bad about yourself. They try to make you think that you’re doing something wrong when you are just being yourself. Some of the quite charming comments that I have gotten include: “OMG GET A NEW FACE CUZ UR OLD ONE IS GETTING NASTY LOOKING” “U don’t look pretty and u call that modeling? R u signed 2 Worst Model Possible Agency?” “…Nobody cares about you. Your Disgusting. Ugly. Hideous. Seriously”. All of these words from people I have never met, and never spoke to, who found my picture and decided to comment on it. Some harsh words just for not being beautiful, huh?

Even still, Cynthessa is herself when she models, or well “models”. She has so much confidence in herself and her modeling, and doesn’t care about what anyone else thinks. She is carefree; and stays true to herself, no matter who tries to tell her that she’s not good enough. She teaches me that it’s okay to laugh at myself, and that I should never take life too seriously. I’ve realized that life is so much happier and so much better if you can laugh at your mistakes and your “flaws”. Cynthessa has given me the confidence to be truly myself, and to not beat myself up when everything doesn’t go my way.

Recently, I took a step back and looked at my life, and it gave me the chance to realize the major things that have shaped the person I am today. When I took a look at my life, I understood that all of my good characteristics came from one person, one character, and multiple photographs. I could have never imagined that something originally so insignificant could have such a tremendous impact on my life.

Charles M. Schulz once said “If I were given the opportunity to present a gift to the next generation, it would be the ability for each individual to learn to laugh at himself.” Unfortunately, this gift did not come from him, but from a close friend of mine. You might know her. Her name is Cynthessa.




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