Tuesday, June 25, 2013

i'm beautifully different.

i remember in kindergarten there was this girl with freckles and glasses that was more shy than i was. and coming from someone who was almost too shy to try and make friends as 5 years old, that’s a bold statement. she was quiet and didn’t know how to stand up to all the other girls with “normal” skin that would make fun of those tiny discolored dots that branched across her cheeks and circled onto her nose. two years later, there was a time in second grade i remember seeing her in the bathroom. summer had just ended and school had just started and if you have freckles you know that’s the season they become more noticeable from the sun bringing out their beauty. she was crying, the rims of her glasses had cupped  tears which finally overflowed, spilling down to her cheeks. to find compassion for her at the age of 7 wasn’t an easy thing to do when the majority of the crowd made fun of her because she was different. correction: she wasn’t different. she just looked different. i remember telling her not to listen to them and that i thought she was pretty and asked if she would like to be my friend. literally spoken like that, in the mind of a 7 year old, was a big deal. seasons passed and she actually grew up beautifully. we lost touch, but she learned to love her freckles and didn’t feel the need to hide them with globs of makeup or blush. she found that she loved them because it was a uniqueness and something other people didn’t possess. it made her who she was. the last i heard was that she married, i think, a boy with freckles himself ironically and they may have just had their first freckled baby girl. i love love. love is beautiful.
because you’re different doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful. being different is a wonderful thing. everyone else is just boring. being different makes you hard to forget. i think women have been depicted that we should all be a size double 0 because that’s what’s attractive to men. i know a girl who can’t gain weight. she struggles with staying healthy because after countless attempts to maintain a healthy weight, her body won’t let her. things aren’t always what they seem. remember that.
if you have blonde hair, if you have brown hair, if you have no hair, you still are beautiful. if you teeth are slightly crooked, or you have dimples, or if you wish you could lose 20 pounds or 100, you still are beautiful. and if you want to change it, do it for you. change what you want to change, but don’t do it for society. there is nothing greater than making a change towards making yourself stronger as long as you are doing it for your own heart.
growing up, i was the one with terrible teeth. teeth growing over top of teeth, crooked teeth – my teeth probably were literally throwing up a gang sign of some sort; that’s how bad they were. and kids in middle school can be so mean. it affected me and i still remember the mean comments and how every time i smiled i covered what i was embarrassed about and in school pictures, i would smile a half smile. praise the Lord for my parents and braces, but what a few hard years those were and sometimes to this day, i’m still self-conscious about it even though they are straight. the saying is true – people may forget what you say, but they don’t forget the way you made them feel.

anyway - call me crazy, but i think the cool thing about all of us is that we are different. what appeals to some people others don’t find attractive. it always intrigues me the different ways different sets of eyes can view something and how over time, things that we initially thought weren’t beautiful finally do become just that. but you have to believe it first because  if you don’t, why would anybody else? believing that you’re beautiful will radiate. beauty isn’t all physical though. there are plenty of people out there with beautiful bodies, and deep sparkling eyes, and gorgeous hair – but inside, those people could be some of the ugliest people you’d find. i’ve seen them. if you don't believe me, read on.
in 6th grade there was another girl. this story literally breaks my heart to tell. we can call her E. again a quiet girl – maybe that’s why her and i got along because i, too, was very quiet....then. slightly different than i am now, but that's another story. anyway, insecurities from all the other girls around us – some who had developed womanly figures overpowered those of us who were still stuck in a young girl’s body; some who were outgoing and confident; some with the charisma we never thought we could obtain. the most noticeable thing about E was her hair. it was literally fire engine red and that’s not an exaggeration. people always picked on her though and she took the punches over and over. she didn’t really have much to say back to those that mocked her and called her “ginger” or asked absurd, personal questions in front of other people in the hallways to try to embarrass her so they could feel better about themselves for a minute; those who gained their pleasure from her pain. i just remember she would always keep quiet when they were the ones constantly talking, constantly laughing just because she was different from them. years went by and we reached high school; the time of your life where every move you make and everything you wear defines what kind of person you are and determines your “social ranking of coolness” which, even if you don’t want to admit, matters to you in some way. i don’t recall if the people who made fun of her continued to do so in these years, but i’m sure the memory of it was still there. one morning in 11th grade, the principal came over the speaker and announced that E had taken her life in her own home night before. those who made fun of her and called her names finally no longer had anything to say.
rest in peace E.
the next time you’d like to put someone down for being different from you, think again. because i believe if you are given the blessing of not being like anybody else, you’re better to remember. never change yourself because there is someone out there that’s going to love it. there’s someone that’s going to love the dimples when you smile, how your freckles shine in the sun, the gap between your teeth, or the way you snort when you laugh too hard.
and if you’re lucky, the first someone just might be yourself.  
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