I remember I was eight years old the first time I looked at another girl and decided she was better than I was. My own flaws were magnified by her lack of them. Her hair was silk, the type that would slip through your fingers if you ever tried to grab onto it, as if it didn’t have time for you. I was eight years old the first time I didn’t feel good enough.
The other girls were magnets, hypnotising every boy who wouldn’t think to give me a second glance. I was nothing compared to them. Their hips curved like expensive champagne bottles with gold detailing. My own resembled a cheap beer can. Their eyes sparkled like fairy dust while mine were glossed with regret, hatred, jealousy. I used to look at them. Soon I looked up to them.
I found myself drowned in envy, my pillow stained with my own sorrows, longing to be anyone other than whom I was. Words like worthless and pathetic snaked through my mind, imprinted onto my brain. I would never deserve the praise or affection, no matter how much I craved it. I wasn’t good enough.
I remember I was eighteen the first time I was able to look in the mirror and catch a smile playing on my lips. My hips were still square and my tank tops tightened around all the wrong places. But I stopped measuring my self-worth by the sizes sewn into my clothes, silenced the harsh voices echoing through my head and listened to the wise whispers. Those that didn’t need to compare in order to define. Those that reminded me of my own talents, my late night lyric scribbling, gentle guitar strums and songs that resonated, songs that meant something. The way I let pencils dance over pages, giving pictures a whole new sense of life. The way the corners of my eyes crinkled when I laughed, the freckles that dotted my cheeks. The voices that reminded me of my worth, no matter how far back I had buried it. Outer beauty attracts, but inner beauty captivates, they said.
I was eighteen years old the first time I felt good enough.