•Where Self Esteem Comes in According to Society•
I stand in front of a mirror with an olive green frame, in which my mother painted so it would match my walls. I pose in those boy short underwears you buy at Kohls and a spaghetti strap tank top. I grab my hips to see what it’d look like if I didn’t have any fat there. I turn to the side and grab the part of the stomach that lies near the belly button. I let go, then suck in to see how small I can get. My expression dials down as I pull my leggings up and I flop back down on my bed. I lie there, destroying myself through thoughts. I am thirteen years old.
I spent a lot of my time as a young girl taking small things and making them big. But every little kid does that, right? I took criticisms very harshly, and then made my own. I turned against myself. I spent hours comparing myself to how pretty and popular my peers were. I obsessed over my idols trying to get out of my skin. I bought things that other people said made me look good and I buried myself in magazines, teaching myself to be the cover girl. I googled how to be likable and how to get attention, constantly. I closely inspected every inch of myself. I planned my future according to what someone else said would make me happy, successful, and rich, then put myself down if I didn’t get it right on the first try. I butchered myself for not doing things their way.
These are ideas I allowed into my head. I grew up with these standards. I was fed them my whole life, who knows any different? I was told I was beautiful the way I was, but I was also told that being this way would “improve” me. That’s what it’s supposed to be. After all, what they said was the truth, right? I wore society’s glasses through all my moments and when I finally took them off, I remembered how to see.
When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Do you recognize yourself? Are you a product of yourself, or of society?
We spend a lot of our time with blinders on and mouths open. On one end we have our ‘superiors’ feeding us whatever they want, and on the other, we have society feeding us its own beliefs.
Graduate high school, go to college and get a degree you semi-care for, get a 9 to 5 job, fund your 401k, retire. Sound a bit familiar? Do something you LOVE, but be sure it’ll make you rich, so you can have a ‘good’ life. Sound more familiar?
And when they’re done, we shut our mouths so older generations can tell us how things should be. Then when it comes to what we feel, we’re embarrassed to speak up. We let them mold us because they’re the artist and we’re clay.
Now, does scrolling through social media, all day, make you feel good? Or does it make you feel, more or less, terrible about what you look like and what you’re doing?
When we scroll through social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr), or flip through a magazine, we’re plagued by façades and false information. We mistake what we’re seeing for reality. We convince ourselves that the photo tells all, that the person in the photo is happy and living their best life. We listen to those articles telling us how to get the best summer body because our bodies aren’t already good enough. We religiously read articles on how to keep our man happy because we aren’t already bleeding ourselves dry to please them. We look at that billboard and believe we are half-empty, instead of half-full.
Because we have all these things being thrown at us, if we don’t fulfill everyone’s expectations, we often feel bad about ourselves. We feel like we aren’t capable because we can’t be everything they told us to be, but what we have to realize is that we weren’t meant to be all of that. Everyone who tells us these things has already created their own world. And in the world they created, everyone has to fit a certain model. Your world can be different.
Strip yourself down.
Who are you without society? Who would you be if you; lived freely, did what made you happy, weren’t the model man or woman, weren’t paper thin, didn’t wear the right fall or spring colors, didn’t compare yourself to everything you saw or read, and didn’t force yourself to be anything, other than what you are? Who would you be if you looked through your own eyes, instead of everyone else’s?
You would be YOU. You would be you, raw and unfiltered!
My mother always tells me, “you create”. So keep looking through those incredible eyes, you have them for a reason. Envision your future and create.
Your ideas are important. Your thoughts are worthy.