As I look through old photo albums, creep on my own Facebook, and analyze the different pictures of myself from my late elementary school years, I can’t help but say, “Why on EARTH did my parents let me dress like THAT?”
I was that girl who wore basketball shorts, pressed her hair to her head when she pulled it back into a ponytail, wasn’t even slightly interested in dressing like a female, and threw herself into every sport she could muster between school and hanging out with my small circle of best friends.
I was that girl who didn’t wear makeup until eighth grade.
I was that girl who wasn’t interested in little elementary school “relationships.”
I was that girl who wanted to wear t-shirts to school every day instead of fashionable clothing.
BUT I was that girl who stood up for the special needs girl in her class.
I was the girl who didn’t dive into drama when it flooded the halls of junior high.
I was the girl who became close friends with literary characters and preferred knowledge instead of worrying about petty fights with friends.
I was the girl who tried becoming friends with everyone who showed me respect.
I was the girl who learned the difference between physical beauty and inner beauty.
Today, I am the girl who thrives on accomplishments, has steadfast determination, and has an unwavering faith in someday living in a world where people can join hands and live in harmony.
To every girl who has ever looked at herself in the mirror and hated the reflection looking back at her:
You are strong.
You are beautiful. The way your face is shaped, how your eyes are placed, the color of your skin, the way your mouth curls when you smile. These qualities define who YOU are and the comments other people make about your unique qualities define who THEY are.
You will change the world, but be patient. Remember, you will do it one step at a time.
You are loved. If you doubt this even for one moment, then know this: I love you. The man above loves you. Every girl who can relate to how you feel about yourself understands you and loves you.
Every person has a story.
Your story will be full of tears, defeat, darkness, and, at times, loneliness. But every bleak moment has a silver lining, and yours is coming soon.
If you promise to look at the positives about yourself and realize how special you are, then you will find a golden future of confidence at your feet. Confidence brightens your smile, heightens your laugh, fulfills your needs, and strengthens your weaknesses.
Promise to have faith.
Lauren is a Ball State University alumna with a Bachelor's degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. She enjoys breakfast for dinner with a side of literary enjoyment.