By Rosa Gonzalez Andrade
I am on a journey of self-love, where I’m fighting myself. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see the same beauty I see on TV, the hourglass-shaped women with velvet like skin. Instead, I see a short, tanned, average-body girl. My dark skin stands out the most, the skin color I once hated. That’s the version of myself that not many get to see. The version that is self-conscious and full of rage.
That rage lives a monster that brings out an immense amount of gray emotion. The monster ignites with hatred from what it sees online. It never ignores the criticism, it only uses it like fuel, making it harder to control. This is the version of myself that I hate the most.
The voices this monster creates drive me insane, one saying I’m too dark another saying I’m too short. There are times when looking in the mirror is like a living nightmare. But trust me, I am learning how to tame this monster before it gets too powerful, before it devours me whole.
I never believed I had any type of physical beauty, but I had the wrong priorities. I was so caught up on trying to change my appearance when instead I should’ve learned to love it. I disliked feeling so insecure and jealous of others’ beauty. I wanted to change, for the better, and so I began to look beyond traditional standards.
I looked towards the things I was closest to, my culture above many others. I realized that my features were passed down by the most majestic people of Mexico. I then saw my tanned skin, which was the skin color of the indigenas, as my favorite feature. My azabache hair, as smooth as silk and my almond-shaped eyes did not fall behind.
“I then saw my tanned skin, which was the skin color of the indigenas, as my favorite feature. My azabache hair, as smooth as silk and my almond-shaped eyes did not fall behind. “
I am beautiful, in fact, everyone is. We are all art pieces that were crafted very delicately. You might think you weigh too much or not near enough but if you’re healthy, why should anyone care about YOUR body. You might hate your skin color but our melanin reminds us we are alive. Regardless you are beautiful, don’t let society make you think you are something less than, you ARE living art.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still times where all I see are my blemishes, where the monster regains control. But I will not let that rage of self-hate interfere with my happiness. I will continue to fight it no matter how many times it shoots me down, I will get back up.
Many are currently going through the most gruesome criticism and peer pressure. Our weight is constantly shoved in our faces, especially during this pandemic where we’re expected to get as fit as possible. But I have my own definition of beauty, where I don’t have to change. I don’t have to erase who I am or even hide under a mask. I can finally stop pretending like I’m something I never was. I can happily embrace who I was always meant to be, myself.