I can’t help but feel like beauty is for the other girls.
The girls who wake up looking as fresh as they had the night before. The girls who look gorgeous with or without makeup. The girls whose hair effortlessly cascades off their shoulders, whose pores are virtually nonexistent, whose legs are toned, tan, and even.
When will I feel like beauty is for me? Will I ever see myself as beautiful?
I was the girl who grew so quickly that her body could never seem to catch up. The girl with intelligence beyond compare who didn’t have the looks to match. The girl who was never given a chance to see herself as beautiful because she believed that no one else seemed to notice her beauty.
I never gave myself the chance to feel beautiful. When will I feel beautiful?
I am the woman who stands in front of the mirror, criticizing every minuscule flaw, wishing she could stop. The woman who deems her arms as “too slender,” whose dismisses her legs as “too uneven,” whose scorns her face as “too ugly” by her own perception alone. The woman who wishes she could stop seeing her body as grotesque and lean into her radiant smile, her sparkling eyes, her slender waist, her delicate features.
When is it my turn to evade self-criticism? When is it my turn to finally feel beautiful?
Will I discover my beauty as I fall in love? As I feel my first child kicking inside me, eager to meet the world? As I watch my skin gradually wrinkle and my hair slowly fade to silver? As I cuddle my first grandchild, watching the miracle of life multiply before me? Or will it arrive as I say goodbye to family and friends, as the vestiges of life gradually leave my face and drain my body, my final realization before I cease to exist? Will I ever feel beautiful?
I see every other woman as a collection of radiant puzzle pieces as I covet everything they have — everything I seem to lack. Her eyes are a stunning color. Her smile practically glows. Her skin is so even. Her nose is shaped perfectly. Her body is so symmetrical.
My beauty can never compare.
Every woman I meet is somehow prettier, more desirable, more deserving of love, celebration, and existence. I scramble to discover the intangible quality that seems to bind every woman but me, but I can never seem to find the missing piece, the unresolvable secret to releasing inner beauty and letting it shine externally.
What am I missing?
Maybe, these other girls simply feel more beautiful because they love themselves more. Maybe, self-love is the key, the salve to my wounds. Maybe, I am a manifestation of eternal beauty, but I simply lack self-awareness. Maybe, my true beauty bubbles beneath the surface, dangerously close to boiling over as I fight to provide myself the tiniest shred of self-love.
Maybe, I am too hard on myself.
Maybe, I need to love myself more fully. Maybe, some seemingly unreachable day in the future, I will see myself as beautiful. Until then, I’ll remain in front of the mirror, with a little too much doubt in my head and a little too much self-hatred in my heart, comparing myself to the other girls, wondering if I will ever see myself as beautiful.
Previously published on Thought Catalog.