She Saw Herself for the First Time in Ages

September 1, 2016
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It wasn’t like Samantha wasn’t pretty. She was pretty. She just wasn’t “pretty pretty”. Not the kind of pretty that makes you stop and stare. Not jaw dropping or head spinning pretty. Okay, so she could never become a model that much was obvious. She could never become anything more than slightly above average. Samantha knew all this and accepted all of this. It wasn’t like she was happy with it, but there really wasn’t much she could do about it. While some teens were blessed with clear skin, slim bodies and big beautiful eyes. Samantha was given her dad’s bumpy nose and large feet. She had her mother’s almond shaped eyes and oily skin. A smile that almost looked like a devious smirk, lanky arms and about 4’11’’ in height. She didn’t have much to work with from the beginning but still. Struggling with her imperfections through middle school she rose from slightly below average to slightly above average. It took her all of middle school to fix what she was given. She begged her parents for heels to raise her to at least 5 foot. She went to a dermatologist daily to keep her skin smooth. She often worked out at the gym to help give her arms more tone. She learned to be skilled in make up. Buying product after product to make her skin glow. After years of being called lanky and ugly Samantha finally achieved “pretty”. It was a long struggle to become pretty. A title that Samantha obviously deserved. It was years of dedication. Learning to not overeat, even at parties. Dragging herself to the gym every weekend for a daily workout. Keeping up with her chores so she could buy her monthly needed make up set. She knew she was pretty. So why did it hurt so much when someone typed “ew, you're so ugly” on a photo she had posted online. A photo of herself. An all teeth, pink lipped kind of photo. 


At first it took Samantha by surprise. It had been quite some time since she had heard words like that, but still it hurt. It hurt bad. Back in middle school she knew people talking about her. Words whispered at a slight hush and eyes glancing back and forth keeping watch to make sure no one would hear but of course. People always heard. Secrets were passed along and sooner or later you’d find out. Probably because someone felt “bad” for you or felt as though “you should know…” Samantha knew she was ugly back then. She knew it. She understood it. She accepted it but what she didn’t accept was being ugly now. She had put so much work into herself. She didn’t understand why. The anger boiled over in her body and she couldn’t help but feel cheated. It wasn’t like she asked to be this way. It wasn’t like she tried to be ugly. It wasn’t like she didn’t want to be pretty. So with a furious temper and a few quick taps of the finger she answered back.


“Not as ugly as you.”


And that was all it took to start the storm. Line after line of comments. They flooded her account. Apparently whoever wrote “ew, you’re so ugly” had friends. A lot of friends.

“Your makeup is so thick!”
“Put a bag over it.”
“You look like a kid w****.”
“She’s probably so insecure.”
“You make me sick.”
“You’re disgusting.”

Samantha was dumb founded. She just didn’t understand. Yes it’s true she wore make up but you could barely see it… Right? From her bed she could glance upward at the mirror hanging on the bedroom door. It was a pretty big mirror. One of those things you just didn’t really think about but easily the most noticeable thing in the room. It had been hanging on her door before they had even moved into the house. It was dirty and had scratches. A few stickers and pictures glued on from her elementary years. You could still see paper cling on, even after countless times of picking at it but still it was a mirror. It still reflected back the same almond eyes. The same bumpy nose. The same long hair but never thick makeup. Never a fake face. She looked up from behind her screen lite phone. She was sitting on her bed. Lying against a light blue comforter and a pink pillow. Her walls a pure white with flowers blooming from the floor. Her clothes were just as she remembered. Skirt and light blue blouse. Pink socks and a necklace. Gold colored but incredibly cheap. The only thing she didn’t recognize was her face. It was different. Not exactly how she remembered. Her eyeliner was thick and long. Lips, more of a dark red then light pink. Skin more clay like and plastic then she remembered. Eyebrows thick, with an obvious pencil line tracing the outer edge. It did look thick. It did look... Ugly. Samantha couldn’t help but feel as if this was what people wanted. Sure she looked a little fake…. A little plastic, but wasn’t this better than before? Isn’t clay like skin better then acene dotted skin? Samantha couldn’t take it. It was like seeing yourself for the first time. A stranger. An unknown being that you’re suddenly trapped in. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and tiptoed out. Doing her best to not step on creaky wood. She made her way to the bathroom. A clean white painted room. A picture of birds hanging on the side of the wall. Opening the drawer she searched carefully for her makeup remover till she came up with a plastic little bag. Carefully taking out a wipe she began rubbing her face. Slow circular motions around her eyes and on her cheek. Samantha washed her face with her hands. Splashing cold water on her skin. Black residue and peachy powder swirled down into the drain. Looking back up at the mirror, she saw herself for the first time in what felt like ages. She knew what she looked like. Like a faded memory the picture was there. Somewhere in the back of her mind. It had always been there she just hadn’t thought much of it. A few bumps cascading over her skin. Eyes, an obviously thin almond shape but pure. For some reason she looked, and felt so pure. So clean...


I can’t say for sure what it was that made her smile at her tiny phone case. A small flash brightening her dim lit room. I can’t say for sure if she even meant to do it on purpose. I can’t say for sure if she mean’t to go into her Instagram account. I can’t say for sure if she mean’t to upload her photo for the world to see. I can’t say how she felt afterwards, confused, discouraged, disappointed because only a moment after she had posted her photo. Only a single moment. A single pause to take in what she had done. Someone quickly typed...


“ew, you're so ugly….”

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