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At the end of seventh grade, the summer before, and the very beginning of eighth grade year, I had severe self image issues. I made mistake after mistake, trying to change my appearence. This event may seem like nothing, but I beg to differ. To me, it was the first step to the realization that every person is perfect the way they are, every girl is beautiful, and I am just fine the way I am.

Every teenage girl goes through a time in her life when she questions herself. She questions her looks: her hair, eyes, nose, weight. She questions her social life: her popularity, her friends, her love life. She questions her future: if she even has one, should she even continue trying? I was asking similar questions.

By the end of seventh grade, I wasn’t eating as much as I should. I quit doing my homework. I was wearing skin tight jeans and pulling my v-necks down. I was painting my nails black, and going behind my parents back. At the beginning of the summer before eighth grade, I made it my goal to become a popular, slender but curvy, tan blonde with green eyes. Unrealistic, I know. But I tried!

First thing, my eyes. According to google, it’s impossible to change your iris colour naturally. The only solution was contacts, and I pleaded to my mom to get me some. She said no, of course. So, the green eyes thing did not happen.

Next, how to tan. I found a solution. Take a butter dish, put your favorite white lotion in it, and add cocoa powder until the lotion is the colour that you want your skin to be. Apply as a regular lotion, but don’t get wet for two hours. It worked! This of course, egged me on.

Third, to become a perfect hour-glass. I googled it, and I got some weird concoction of olive oil, sugar, salt, and water. I tried it. If I had drank anymore, I think I might have died from Olive Oil Poisoning... a new poisoning not yet known to man.

And last, but not finally, my goal to be blonde. I googled that too! Again, a recipe came up. Mix lemon juice and water into a squirt bottle, then squirt until hair is damp and expose to sun for two hours. Easy enough, right? If you read the entire page of instruction’s, maybe. BE CAREFUL! ACIDS TEND TO BURN SKIN WHEN EXPOSED TO SUN RAYS. (I looked back later and saw it typed in bold letters at the bottom of the recipe.)

So I made my mixture. I might have used a Windex bottle with Windex still in it. Then I stuck it under the sink.

A few days later, I asked my mom if I could go to the beach with some friends and my friend’s mom, thinking she’d say no, but she said yes! So I ran to the bathroom, put on my tankini and swim shorts, grabbed a towel, sprayed my hair until it was soaked, and I ran out the door before she could change her mind.


My friend and I walked slowly to the beach... I told her it was to enjoy the beauty, but in actuality it was to sun my hair and skin. By the time we got halfway to the beach, my head was burning and it ached like crazy. Then, my friend got a call from my house phone, so I answered it.

“Hello?”, I answered cautiously.

“Courtney?”, my mom questioned, in a tone that told me I was in trouble.

“Yes...”, scared to death, but sort of knowing why I was in trouble.

“Do you know anything about the Windex bottle full of lemon juice under the sink?”, she asked, knowing I did.

“Maybe...”, reluctantly telling her, briefly thinking of saying ‘What are you talking about?’

“Did you even wash out the bottle before you put that in there?”

“Of course!”, but in the back of my mind, I was wondering if I actually had.

“Okay. We’ll talk about this when you get home. You didn’t use any, did you?”

“No...”.

“Good. The lemon juice will burn your scalp. It’s a good think you washed out the bottle too, because that might make it worse.”

Now, I was panicking. When we got to the beach, I stuck my head in the water and I swear I heard a sizzle sound, but I got instant relief. The damage was already done, though. My scalp was burned, and it hurt for a week and a half after that. I had an enormous headache, and I was hot constantly. But I didn’t tell my mom, because I knew she would know I was lying. I kept my hair in a pony-tail to cover up my scalp.

When I was little, my mom used to say “It hurts to be beautiful”, and I learned that the hard way time after time. This event got me thinking, though. Is it really worth it?
After several events such as this, I learned that every girl is beautiful the way they are. We don’t need to change anything. It’s the inside that counts, not our curves or our blondeness or how tan we are. Audrey Hepburn also helped me along the way.

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It's the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.” ? Audrey Hepburn
“Make-up can only make you look pretty on the outside but it doesn't help if your ugly on the inside. Unless you eat the make-up.” ? Audrey Hepburn
I have given up the curvy, tan, green-eyed blonde idea, and have accepted myself the way I am. Slender, chunky, brown-eyed, green-eyed, blonde, brunette, pale or tan, we’re all perfect.




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