I don’t like the way my legs look

Noelani Stachurski

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When you stand in front of a full-length mirror, what do you see?

Do you see yourself staring back at you? Or is it deeper than that? Are you noticing the way you stand, the way your hair looks and the way it falls, the way your eyes follow your hands to your clothes to adjust them ever so slightly, the angle your head takes as you try to contort your figure in different ways?

Are you satisfied with your reflection?

I, for one, am not. When I stand in front of my full-length mirror, it is because the one in my bathroom wasn’t good enough. Because maybe I can blame my features on the lighting. Maybe I will look better when I can see myself in its entirety. But when I get there, to my full-length mirror, and I stand in front of it, I’m only satisfied to a certain point. There are parts of things I am confident in. But of course, like everyone else, there are parts of me I am not confident in. And when I stand in front of that full-length mirror, I start to notice every single one. Each little detail flashing out at me like a game show buzzer beeping over and over. Except it isn’t a game, that’s just me staring back. My legs, my stomach, my face. How I wish I was skinnier in some places, and some not. How, in comparison to everyone else, I did not meet any standard of beauty. How, in comparison to every other girl I knew, I was not beautiful. How, when I stand in front of my full-length mirror every day, I register myself under the word ‘ugly’.

How does it feel to stand up in front of the entire class?

Can you feel the burning energy in the air, all the mixed emotions and feelings and thoughts honing in on one particular spot in the classroom that just happens to be where you stand? Can you feel the tension, the way your nerves turn into nuclear energy right in front of your very eyes? Can you feel how others are feeling in that moment? Do you see their looks, their faces, do they pay attention? Can they tell you are nervous? Can they tell you are afraid of their judgement, their criticism? Can they tell you’re asking yourself lightyears of questions no one could answer in the time it takes you to inhale and exhale?

You feel yourself wondering if your shirt’s tucked in right. Or if your hair looked okay, if there were any pieces sticking up. Or if you had anything in your teeth? That you would die if your breath smelled. Or even if anyone noticed how gross your lashes looked without mascara. You hope no one else can tell that so many things are going wrong with you, when everyone else looks perfect.

But that’s what it feels like to be insecure.

I used to be extremely insecure. I hated the way I looked, the way my body looked, and every little detail in between. I still, of course, have some things I hate about myself. But I certainly am different from the person I was a year ago.

A year ago, I couldn’t look people in the eye for more than a solid minute. In the middle of conversations, I would look away out of fear there was something on my face, or that they would judge me for my appearance.

A year ago, I put myself down and pushed myself below others, afraid I wasn’t good enough to be around someone, or to be friends with someone. I thought they were worth more, that they deserved someone better to form a relationship with, or that by being around them, I would make them worth less too.

A year ago, I gave up on myself, not taking the time to put in any effort. Because I didn’t feel beautiful or confident in myself, that truly reflected into other areas.

A year ago, I was more shy, more of someone who settled for less.

A year ago, I wasn’t in a good place.

But today, I stress the importance of self-love.

I am confident in who I am and I’ve learned that it’s okay to not be in your goal state because you can work towards your achievements, ideals, and maybe even perfection. I live by the phrase: “grateful for where I’m at, excited for where I’m going,” which is applicable to many areas, but transcends into this topic nicely. I am grateful for who I am in this moment, grateful for the blessings I receive each day and how great it is just to be alive. And, truly, I am excited for the person I will be in the future, because there is always room for change, and there is always room for development.

The beauty I sought a year ago maybe wasn’t there all along. The beauty I was looking for was probably someone else’s beauty and not mine. I was eager to be someone else. But I learned that everyone is different. Every body type, every face shape, every little thing is different. So how could we possibly compare ourselves to others?

I think the beauty we all need to learn how to embrace and be comfortable with is the feeling of satisfaction with oneself. Because really, beauty isn’t a thing. Beauty, the type that makes us all insecure, is a concept created by perfection. But both concepts, in this case, are impossible. You can’t be everyone’s beautiful, but you can be beautiful in your own right. And above all, it is important to note that confidence in oneself and confidence in one’s own capabilities is key.

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