You’re Beautiful This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I have a friend. She is one of the prettiest girls I have ever seen, yet there is something very wrong with her. Well, actually, there’s nothing wrong. She is perfect just the way she is. The only thing wrong is that she can’t see that. It’s not her fault, really. It’s the years of a tainted childhood facing the criticism of parents for whom she will never look good enough. It’s the countless mornings of waking up to an empty day because she knows she’ll have to see her face without make-up, without a smile, deeply lined from dwelling on insecurity. She’ll have to start the day looking at a reflection she has come to hate.

What could possibly have made her this way? Why is such a talented, smart, gorgeous girl overrun with self-doubt? Why does she see an imperfect stranger staring back at her in the mirror? I wish I knew. I wish I knew why millions of girls are haunted by their appearance, why they feel they must change to please everyone but themselves. I wish I could understand why one of my best friends has to fight every day to summon a wisp of confidence. I see her expression after her parents have given her another talk about dieting. I watch her neglect food to maintain an already ideal figure. I see her break down into panicked tears without warning, and it kills me, every time.

It’s hard to know how to help someone who is so broken, but I have to. If I cannot fight her parents or change her mind, if I can do nothing else, I will be there for her. I need to be there to tell her the truth every time her parents call her ugly. I need to be there to push food at her every time she resolves to diet. Her friends are all she has. When her home life drags her deeper into depression, we are her only hope for recovery. I know deep down her parents love her, because there is so much to love, but I will never understand how they can be so blind to their daughter and the damage they are causing her.

The road to healing could take years. All I know is that I would give a lifetime to turn her around. Eventually, she’ll take a stand against her parents and what the rest of the world thinks. She’ll realize that the only opinions that ever mattered are hers, and maybe she’ll be able to live a life that she can call her own. Someday, I know she’ll let go. I know she’ll find the freedom not to care anymore. I can see how badly she wants to. I’ll cherish the day when we’ll rip the mirror off the wall and smash it on her floor. Instead, she will see herself through our eyes, and know how great she’s always been. One day, we’ll stand on the broken shards and laugh.

I’ve told her a thousand times, and I’ll tell her a million more, because she needs to hear it every day, “You’re beautiful, in every way, and you always will be.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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UnbelievablyAwesomeful This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm
:) thats sweet
 
millz said...
May 20, 2009 at 6:36 pm
You are such a good friend!!!! I know someday shell realize how beautiful she is and it will be because of your persistance. good piece too
 
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