Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Well that’s what we’re taught at least. We’re all beautiful in our own ways. If we really believed this though, we wouldn’t feel the need to have surgeries to fix things about ourselves we don’t like. We wouldn’t buy beauty magazines showing us the most recent trends in fashion, or telling us how to lose those last five pounds. And we really wouldn’t feel the need to put others appearances down, to make us feel better in some small way.
When I was in middle school I have two distinct memories of being teased about my appearance. The first involved some boys putting small pieces of paper in my hair with words like “Fatty”, “Wide Load”, and “Big Girl” written on them. Even in middle school I was larger than most kids, already wearing adult women’s plus sizes. Until I began this journey several years ago this is the age when I last remember my weight and being on a scale. I was at a friend’s sleepover birthday party, and being girls of even 11 or so we cared about things like how much we weighed. So we got on the scale and talked about how much we were overweight and wished we were like the other girls. I didn’t want to get on the scale, so I quickly jumped on and off. The scale read 260, but one of the girls thought it read 160 to which I was told that wasn’t that bad. I knew how much I really weighed though. So the names the boys called me on those papers sent me home in tears that day.
The other memory I have of being teased in middle school was going to the girls bathroom in 6th grade and having an 8th grader block the door as I tried to leave saying, “You’re a boy, why are you in here?” I had a short bowl haircut at the time, not the best choice for me at that age, but with hair as thick as mine was, and as curly as it was at the time it was the best my mom could think to have done with it. This girl finally let me leave, but I didn’t get my hair cut again from that day till I graduated high school. And sadly that isn’t an exaggeration.
When I left grade school and began college, I gained a bit more self-confidence about my image, and began to really believe how beautiful I was. I still had a tough time when it came to buying clothes, and seeing me as feminine, but I was learning, and coming into my own. So for about ten years I began to no longer care what others thought, I really was beautiful in my own way. My weight didn’t matter, my hair didn’t matter, and the fact that I never wore makeup didn’t matter. I was finally comfortable with who I was. When I began this journey I was slipping in my feelings about myself, which is why I began to take care of myself better than I had been, and have been for the past 4 years or so.
2015 has gotten off to a rough start for me though, and it’s becoming hard to again say, “Screw what others think, I’m my own beautiful person.” My hair has been the topic of conversation again since I’ve kept it short for many years now. I’ve moved past the bowl haircut, but it is a shorter pixie style. Over the holiday’s I had my hair cut again, family and friends expressed that they thought I should let it grow out. I prefer it short though, and since it’s my head I decided to cut it.
Recently a male friend told me though he didn’t like my hair, “it makes you look like a dyke and it confuses men.” This pissed me off, and not just because of the derogatory name he used. Honestly, get over it. A haircut doesn’t define your sexuality, if you personally prefer women with long hair; spend time with women with long hair. I’m keeping mine how it is. But then at a restaurant my mother and I stopped at as we moved me back to Kentucky (story for another day), a woman in the restroom washing her hands next to me looked at me for a bit before deciding to wash her hands and mumbling under her breath “I guess THAT is a girl.” Really, the boobs didn’t give it away for you lady?
I feel like recently because I choose not to conform to more traditional ideas of beauty I’m not only being told I’m not beautiful, but also my sexuality is coming into question too. And by the way, it is perfectly okay that at 32 I’m not married, and that doesn’t make me gay!!
Ideas of beauty change over time, people change over time, trends change, and we don’t have to follow them. We don’t have to change over time if we don’t want to. Most of us do, but for those of us who choose not to it can be hard when we are so far out of the ideas. Apparently that’s where I fall right now. I’m not going to change my hair, style, physical appearance, or anything else about myself just because a few people don’t like who I am. Just remember, no matter how tough someone looks, their armor can only take so many hits before it breaks and your words and actions take a greater toll on that person.
Just to give you an idea of how physical beauty trends have changed over time, I saw this video and really liked it. Trends change drastically, so be who you are because YOU like that person, not because others do or don’t. <3