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Am I Beautiful?
It’s what everyone wonders, isn’t it? Come on, admit that at some point you’ve asked it. Maybe you were examining yourself in your new swimsuit, or trying to style your hair for school, or staring at a photo of yourself and wondering, “Is that really how I look?!”. You’re not alone; I think everyone has asked themselves this at one time or another. Determining the answer is the hard part, so I’m going to go about it step by step.
Step 1: Examine Yourself in the Mirror
It seems simple. I look at myself in the large bathroom mirror, going over every part of myself. The body: feet a bit too long, okay-ish legs, oddly angled hip-thigh joint, straight torso, soft stomach, wide shoulders, long neck. The hair: dry, mismatched layer lengths, dull colour, face-framing front sections. The face: small, heart-shaped, puffy cheeks when I smile, flat cheeks when I don’t, ugly metal braces, rose lips, nose that if just a little bit too big, strong dark eyes, long lashes, badly-shaped eyebrows, high forehead.
Right, so, what now? I think I look okay-ish; pretty in some places, plain in others, darn right ugly in my worse bits. But, in general, I think I’m okay. But they I’ve got to remember that the image is reversed, and then I start wondering if maybe my hair parting looks alright in the reflection but in real life is very odd, and that starts me on even more questions. To get a better view, I go to my full-length mirror in my bedroom.
I am horrified by what I see. Here, there is just daylight reflecting off me, and I look much worse that the softer image the bright bulbs of the other mirror gave me. I’ve lost all my colour, and the flaws of my skin seem to be magnified in the mirror. I suppose this is what most people see, when I’m out and about, or with friends, or sat around with my family. Do they notice how terrible I look?
Step 2: Use Mathematics to Calculate Your Beauty
I’ve weighed and measured myself, and now I’m on the internet trying to find out my BMI, or Body Mass Index. It say’s mine is 18.9, in the average section. That’s good, right? It says that means I’m healthy. Although maybe healthy doesn’t mean beautiful. I look my latest fashion magazine and wonder whether the models have an “average” BMI. They can’t have; they look so thin. This BMI calculator would probably label them dangerously underweight, but maybe being underweight is beautiful? There’s another thing that strikes me; all the models are very tall. I’m five foot four, definitely not tall. I’m as tall as my mum, and my friends, and people always tell me I’m tall. But I think they don’t mean tall. They mean... long. Long legs, long arms, long torso. But I’m not actually tall, am I?
I think back to the last time I went to the opticians. I had to get new glasses, and I picked ones that I thought suited my face shape okay-ish. They had very thin frames, very small lenses, metal front, tortoiseshell sides. I read somewhere that tortoiseshell glasses were not cool, but these are Ralph Lauren ones, so does that mean that they are back in fashion? Anyway, back to mathematics. The woman gets a strange contraption that looks like binoculars to measure some distance near my eyes, so they can get the right size for the glasses. She laughs and tells me the measurement is exactly the same either side, right down to the small measurement. She says that’s very rare. Okay, so I’m symmetrical. Is symmetry beauty? Wasn’t there some super clever guy who calculated measurements and symmetry and stuff to figure out what beauty was? I wonder what he would say about me.
Step 3: Check the Opinion of Others
I’d like to write down how my mum tells me how pretty I am, how my dad calls me “Lily Long Legs” and how my brother says I look like model when I show him my new outfit, but I really don’t think I can count the opinions of people too close to me. I try to think of compliments (and criticisms) I’ve received from randomers who would otherwise not look twice at me. I know these can’t be flattery, favouritism or clouded judgement.
There was the day at the market, when that random woman said both times we bumped into each other, “I love your jacket, by the way!” I loved that jacket too, but I don’t think that compliment counts because it wasn’t really about me, it was just about my jacket and she probably would’ve said that she liked it no matter who was wearing it.
My first day in art class at a new school, and my now-best-friend’s friend said twice, randomly, and without knowing me for more than five minutes, “You are so pretty!” My now-best-friend nudged gave her a look as if to say, “That’s a random and odd-timed thing to say.” The girl said, “What? She is really pretty!” The girl had been looking me in the face, so it can’t have been something I was wearing. She’d stayed true to her statement though it was uncalled-for. Maybe she really meant it? But I could take that statement in lots of ways, so I’m not really sure where that puts me.
I rack my brains some more and other faces start drifting through my head. A teacher saying I looked nice at a dance, a girl asking me if I was wearing mascara because my eyelashes were so long, a few different boys who talked to me lots and looked at me constantly in lessons. I stop at the boys. I’ve had a few “boyfriends” when I was little and silly, and then I had a few obviously-interested boys, but the kind who would chat me up properly or ask me out somewhere. These were the kind who would try to get in the same group as me for projects, or ask me to dance when we did lessons in P.E., or talk to me, shuffling their feet and looking nervous, about absolute rubbish. They never went further than that though, never actually said they liked me. I was kind, I was open, I hinted I wanted to hang out more, but nothing happened.
Step 4: List Attributes and Faults
I suppose the idea of this step is to see which list is longer. I’d rather not examine myself again, though, so let’s skip ahead.
Step 5: Find Photos of Yourself and Rate Them
I’ve scanned through lots of recent photos. The winter ones are mostly rated low because the cold made me look too pale, and my winter attire isn’t exactly flattering. The summer ones vary. Ones where I’m showing seemingly massive thighs in short shorts are rated low, but ones where I am in just the right light at the right time with the right outfit are rated high. Photos of me on days out (the zoo, an amusement park, out for a walk) are rated medium; I look okay though often the backgrounds look silly and too obvious. School photos: they’re mostly low; I’m really not too good at smiling unnaturally. There’s one that is the lowest of the low; I’m squinting my eyes and baring my teeth and I have my hair ferociously pulled back to look “neat”. Right, well, this isn’t going very good.
Step 6: Forget Everything You Just Thought and Get Over Yourself
Well, that makes sense, I guess. I’ve managed to get out all my self-doubt in one rambling written piece and now I can move on. Next time I walk past a mirror, I’ll smile and look at the things I like most about myself, and then I’ll move on and just not think about how I look. I’ll focus on being friendly and intelligent and fun to be with and people won’t care about how I look and, eventually, neither will I.
There’s no definition for beauty. No one can determine what other people should find beautiful. There are no real steps to answering the “Am I beautiful?” question, you just have to learn to laugh and do fun things without caring about your looks and be happy, and you’ll feel beautiful inside. Your exterior doesn’t matter. You may like, you may not. Other people may like, other people may not. But, really, it doesn’t matter. Just get over yourself.
Now, would you like to:
...............take the test again?
...............send to a friend?
...............move on with your life?