My body's epidamy | Teen Ink

My body's epidamy

November 16, 2020
By chandlersimpson BRONZE, San Antonio, Texas
chandlersimpson BRONZE, San Antonio, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

 A Ted Talk led by Meagan Ramsay stated that scientists say one in every three teenage girls don't participate in classroom discussions because they are too insecure about their appearance and refuse to draw attention to themselves. One in five of them don't come to class if they feel ugly. Young girls all over the world are posting videos proposing the self destructing question of  “am I ugly?” and leaving it up to society to validate that. These patterns of timorous, meek, self-conscious behavior of little girls bowing down on their knees to the sickening potums of societal beauty standard. That not only pains my ears to bleed but also slaughters my heart in two. We must find a cure for this self-exploiting build up of the deflated ego. We are losing young women across the world due to the new infectious epidemic of diffidence and loneliness. Thousands wounded and shot down in the hospital of shallow hatred. The grand juxtaposition of it all is that as we are more connected than ever we somehow find ourselves so disconnected. Social Media is not only driving teens into repucative depression and lethal anxiety, but compelling women into a competition of comparison. Putting them in an alternate dimension of artificial happiness. Coerced and contrived, we digress. 

And somehow I survived it. Puberty. Three years of body image issues, the constant pressure of friends hanging above me like the cutthroat blade of a giggling guillotine, and the cold tyranny of acne prone teenage girls poking away at my emotions. Inevitably, the torturous suffering of middle school molded me into the strong confident woman I am today. Suffering seems endless at the ages eleven through fourteen. Walls closing in, hearts banging, eyes scratching from their corneas, and suddenly you find yourself sitting in the shower, scribbling in an intoxicated journal of overrun emotions that are solely driven by your temporary frustration. The hardest part about not knowing yourself, is that the pain only feels like it will last forever. Summer going into my freshman year, I was terribly insecure about myself. Being so self conscious submitted me to a numerous number of teenage anxiety and depression statistical data. I didn’t want to be a part of my hobbies. I began losing my friends. My mind was controlled by Society’s approval of my adequacy. Of my superficial appearance. Of my hip width and boob size. Of my bluntly bleach blonde hair. Of my stolen plastic personality. My happiness sprouted from everyone else’s happiness with me. And the most painful part about being insecure is not knowing that you truly are. 

Kathleen Benson is one of the most beautiful, understanding, intelligent people I know. Still to this day. She has always been my straight arrow. During our term at Camp Waldemar (a fine institution of grooming women into building character and self esteem, also known as Manners Camp) she suggested I begin reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. When she handed me the book, my mind choked on the title. The bluntness and arrogance threw me off. I raised my eyebrows and sighed with a “Really Kathleen”? “No, no, no, Chandler, it’s actually an amazing book. Please read it!” she pestered and I complied. 

Two days. I finished The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck in two days. Eyes glued to the page, short breaks of breath, and an overall enthusiasm about reading began to flow tentatively through my pulsating veins. Each word is more fruitful than the last. I began getting stuffed with an understanding of my emotions. Not only understanding, but learning how to extinct and dimish these endangering thoughts of self destruction. Take the bullets out of the gun and replace them with  sweet candied darts. The behavior of self reflection and awareness felt more atypical then Kanye West winning the election. As I indulged in Manson’s logic, and knawed down on the cold cubes of the depressive cure, I came face to face with how incredibly toxic I had been living my life. I was my own high school bully. Shoving myself into a locker of self hatred. Socking away the lunch money. Spatting in my face. But after I slammed that locker door shut, my muffled cries still could be heard. Sitting in my room after posting a picture on instagram, proving my existence to all. 495 likes, reload, 496 likes, reload, 498 likes, reload, 500 likes. My body would then sink into the satisfaction of validation and I would feel my mouth begin to make creases in my cheeks. A few moments later I would reload the page, find an Instagram post from a stunning muse. 567 likes, 5, 6, 7, likes. Back to my page, to my post, to my followers. Reload, reload, reload, reload. RELOAD CHANDLER. No longer do I smile, no longer do I feel joy, for I am just left with the tasteless black and white emotions of compare and contrast. The media manipulated me. Manipulated my mind. Made me submit to what was considerably  ̈acceptable ̈ and I began nit picking every discussion that I came enclosed to. You can’t post twice in one day. Don't tell them that’s wrong. Pull your skirt up. Pull your shirt down. Don't smile. They will see your gap. Don't talk to him, they said he’s weird. Was that weird? Am I being annoying? I don't think they like me, why should they. I am the worst. I need to be pretty. I need to be perfect. Oh but look at her, look at you, look at me, everyone look at ME. I knew I was in trouble when the sight of my reflection brought me to tears. Chandler, I think it’s time to start reading.

In my early days of angst, I crumbled at the call of criticism, clogged my mind with misionalious opinions of nothingness. I was obsessed with my self image. Defined only by my peers. This circular cycle of destruction subconsciously shattered my self esteem. Then I was enlightened. A great awakening of self worth. I began focusing on what I cared about and not what others cared about me. Manson’s morals of care and how much one should give, was like the ibuprofen I take for my migraines. Always sitting there, and I knew if I took it, I would feel better. But I didn't. I‘d watch the medicine sit on my counter for days, and let the pulsating pain of my ambitious mind pound on and on. He proposed a rationality of if you care about everything and everyone, the things you should care about the most simply no longer exist. My media obsessed mind was taking away my desire to care for my close family and friends, because I was so focused on reaching the 45 comment count mark. Why should I be spending my time worrying about hundreds of opinions from strangers, who don't even know who I AM? By reducing how much I care, I could ultimately care more. I had to train myself, train myself to let go and grow. I started with Instagram. I no longer wanted to post to prove to be this muse of a figure I do not appear to be. I wanted to post to share an insight of myself and my personality. I was getting sick of looking at my page and swiping to another just to find another perfect parallel staring right back at me with a mouth ripping smile. Tearing away from this virtual fantastical Barbie Doll version of myself allowed me to embrace who I really AM. I melted the plastic. 

Step two in my conquest to not give a f*ck began with abolish any opinions that arent my own. By this meaning, if someone who I was not particularly close to didn't like me I needed to ask myself, does this really matter? Is who I am diminished because of his or her? Do they really know who I am? Ordinarily my answer fell into a long muteness of uncertainty which then resolved to a No. At this point in time, my vigorous coaching of letting go of other people's opinions and forming my own began to build. Snapping the lego pieces into place, each f*ck florishing away. Soon, I stood miniature against my empire state building of respect. Oh and who is that waving from the tippy top? It’s Me. My happiest self. Who I am. Soon I fell back into my molded self. I started indulging back into my interests, uncovering my likes and dislikes like a relentless historian dusting off treasured fossils. Figuring out what I wanted, who I wanted to be. I soon was crowned empress of myself. Knighted by self love. A monarchy of partiality, governing every aspect of my life, an absolute sovereignty of self confidence. I became. 

Congratulations, you have made it to the land of self-love. May I offer you a chardonnay with three pumps of self respect or possibly some caviar served with high doses of serotonin and self esteem? After all you are a bestowed empress as well. You grabbed insecurity and animosity by the throat and demanded “I am your king”, and looked stunning doing it. Manson may have not vouched on this but by looking your best, feeling your best,  you will most definitely be your best. Now as I hail an end to my praise of the book that changed my life, I feel immensely gracious and grateful that I can look at myself and no longer feel resentment or irritability. I feel great and no one will tell me otherwise. Thank you Manson, for helping me get my mentality back.

The author's comments:

This piece is dedicated to Mark Mansons book of wonders, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F%$k, that changed my life and overall well being

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