I was always the girl who wanted to fit in. By age 9, I already had boobs and all the other stuff that comes along with puberty. I thought I was a freak. I wrapped my chest as tightly as I could before school just so no one could tell that I was a curvy “woman” attending the fourth grade.
I was tall and awkward most of my life and, well, that’s an entirely different story. The point is, I never wanted to be different. I just wanted to enjoy my childhood which translated into blending in rather than standing out.
I can’t lie. I am still awkward. My friends eventually caught up with me by middle school but my mentality never really changed. I am still not the skinny girl or the smartest girl and that is just fine. However, one dramatic transformation has taken place within me as a 20-something. I love myself as is. I accept I am different and I love every inch that I am.
People can tell us that image isn’t everything. We grow up being taught that we need to love people’s substance rather than looks, yet we talk about things like “love at first sight.”
I try to not judge people upon first glance. The little awkward girl inside of me remembers what it is like to be “different” so I do my best to make all of those around me feel like they belong. As humans, of course we all belong and deserve the same respect as the next person. And while this is true, image does matter in our society.
People will judge us if we have a unicorn tattoo on our face. People will make preconceived notions about us based upon our appearance. Of course, I am not saying this is right, as I am guilty of doing much the same. I can’t help call it like I see it.
I always give people a chance to prove or disprove what I believe about them upon first glance. I think this is the best course of action. But guess what? Looks do matter, a lot.
I am not happy our society focuses on looks but it does. I know people looked at me differently when I had bright red hair. I know people stare if any cleavage is present. The teenage me would say f it. Be yourself! The 20-something me knows better.
I try to look put together and consistent everyday. Not because society told me to, but because people in my “world” like consistent and dependable people. I don’t follow fashion trends, yet I always try to keep my look classic and timeless.
My younger sister would say I’m conforming to societal norms. Maybe I am a sellout! However you want to look at it, I am choosing to not stand out by what I look like on the outside. I don’t want to be loud or obnoxious by the clothes I wear or the hairdo I rock. I can be loud and obnoxious with my personality alone, haha.
I believe intelligence and wisdom can drown out the rest of the noise. Image will always be a factor in our everyday lives. It is up to us what we do with this fact.
Let’s open our hearts and place prejudices in our pockets upon meeting new people. Let’s try to look into hearts rather than into cars or clothing brands. Let’s try to just see with the heart even though our eyes and thought patterns tend to get in the way. And while our physical bodies do offer first impressions of who we are, let’s remember they are just vessels.
Some of our vessels are louder or more put together than others, yet we are all on this journey we call life together. Let’s try to make everyone around us feel as much love and understanding as possible when we encounter them. Physical appearance can get lost in translation, yet love will always be universal. Choose love not looks.