I stare blankly at myself in my bathroom mirror, disappointed with my reflection. It doesn’t come as a surprise anymore; I’ve grown immune to it. My lack of self acceptance has become a part of who I am, and sadly who I will become. I stare, and feel my heart deteriorate as I acknowledge every flaw that lies on my skin.
I haven’t completely given up on myself yet.
My mind begins to wonder where the madness of my self destruction may have originated from. I eventually come to a conclusion that may be surprising to all.
It started on my tenth birthday. Butterflies in my stomach as I rip open the colorful, balloon wrapping paper and tear apart the medium-sized brown box. I have waited for this gift for my entire life, but reflecting back, it only damaged who I am. A beautiful, crisp, matte black iPhone 4 was now mine. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and the first thing I downloaded was a popular social app that all my friends already had: Instagram.
That was where it erupted. Slowly, although I was blinded, the destruction of myself and my physical appearance began. For hours a day, I would scroll through my feed and examine the perfection of everyone who I followed. They had what I wanted: a skinny waist, perfectly clear skin, long, luscious hair. I began to believe that my worth was less than theirs.
Going on 13 years old, I’ve grown exhausted of constantly feeling bad for myself. I needed to do something to escape this vicious mindset that circulated through my mentality.
Quaker values say that everyone is on the same level of equality, no matter skin color or body image, but oftentimes it felt like I was struggling to keep up with everyone, even with my peers.
I had to compete against Instagram’s expectations to feel loved within my own skin. My worth began to rise when I achieved things that made me feel confident within myself, whether it be wearing a fun outfit or wearing makeup—I was starting to feel like me.
My message is this: Don’t let social media’s mind trap tell you that you aren’t enough. Don’t let the size double-zero models tear into your self worth. Do what makes you feel vibrant and alive in your own skin.
I stare at myself within my bathroom mirror, utterly satisfied with who I am. I see my flaws, but to me, they have only led me to believe that I am even more beautiful.
So I thank you, social media, for making me feel hopeless and invisible, and for allowing me to work for and realize my own self love.