The shiny girls walk into the room. Their hair is perfectly coiffed, artfully arranged to look as if it falls that way naturally, disguising the hours of labor it took to make it appear so. They have tasteful arrangements of jewelry and their clothes are stylish, modern, from the best stores. Bright white, perfectly straight smiles. Tight fashionable jeans and shoes with just a bit of heel. Slim bodies, curves in just the right places. They fit into their size two clothing. Their faces are glowing, but not from sweat or exertion – from the layers of foundation and expensive mascara that cement the look. They laugh and joke and stand there, composed, beautiful. Shining.
I take a mental stock of my appearance. Baggy shorts, a comfy t-shirt, shoes that I can slip on as I walk out the door. Clean face, bare of any makeup, scarred in places from wars with hormones. Hair that curls wildly about in no preconceived pattern, streak of pink fading and askew. Teeth that have never been whitened, that have never met braces. A body that fights me and my efforts to be healthy, a body that is trying to destroy me from within, a body genetically predisposed to lumps and bumps and unseemly proportions. My clothes that come from clearance bins and thrift stores. I haven’t done my eyebrows in a while – haven’t had the time. I’m glowing too, but it’s sweat from the heat of the day.
I think, these are the kind of girls that people see as attractive. Not me. They are shining, perfect, contained. Artfully decorated. Composed. Opinions never designed to contradict. They love children and they love church. They are always in a good mood. They expect everyone to like them, because no one ever hasn’t. They are perfect.
I am not. I am volatile. I have issues. I speak loudly. My laughter echoes through the room, is not contained in girlish giggles. My opinions clash with those of many and I am firm in holding out against the popular belief. I don’t particularly like children. I sometimes have physical reactions to how much I dislike church. I cry and cannot tell you why I am crying. I take medication to help me survive. I am broken. I expect people to dislike me, to judge me, to hurt me and then leave me, because many have. I am not composed, artfully decorated, contained.
I think, they are the ones that are desirable. Not me. Not me.
I don’t like to look in mirrors or see myself in pictures, because it reminds me of how uncomfortable I am in my body. I avoid talking to people who knew me when I was younger because I hate the look in their eyes as they take in my new largeness. I hate when things don’t fit or styles are unflattering. I hate that I have to explain to people what medical syndrome I have that makes me overweight.
So I hide behind my gregarious laugh and I hide behind this computer screen. When I write, I escape to another world of my own creation. I sing songs in secret but believe deeply that I can never sing them in public, because no one likes to listen to the fat girl. Every so often I get nervous to eat in public, afraid that others are judging what is on my plate because of what makes up my body.
They are the beautiful ones. Not me.
Oh, little heart. How I grieve for you. Because you do not know, you cannot see, how perfect you are. Yes, your wild hair. Yes, your thrift store clothes. Yes, your awkward sentences and cackling laugh. Yes, your fondness for the eclectic. Yes, your big, fat, perfect body. Yes, you. You are a beautiful one. You are a desirable one. You are seen as attractive. You are perfect, too.
It makes me so sad that you cannot, will not see it. How dangerous would it be to acknowledge your artfully arrayed self as the shining perfect thing it truly is? How scared would the world be of you then? For you would have stumbled upon its best kept secret – that belief in your own beauty, your own perfection, is all that is needed to really be beautiful.