From as far back as I can remember I've never been the girl to be complimented for her looks. My appearance never quite as graceful as the other females in my life, due to my awkward haircuts and pudgy body. As a result I've spent most of my life feeling quite the ugly duckling, a feeling that has been heavily influenced by the people in my life.
Around the time I was 12-13 years old I decided that I no longer wanted to be the chubby girl and I took up running. I became addicted quite quickly. My new love for running and feeling fit bled into my relationship with food and I began to strive for what I believed was a holistic definition of health. I realise now health does not just constituent of only food and exercise. Steadily the weight dropped off. My family were keen to take photos and for the first time my Dad complimented me on how good I looked.
Then my love turned into an obsession and I developed an eating disorder. The steady weight loss turned into a landslide. I was so happy because I finally had cheekbones and I could wear all the clothes I'd only dreamed of wearing. However, people's compliments quickly turned into concerns. At first I chose to ignore them, then one day something clicked or maybe it was over time and I started to put on weight again, people said I looked 'healthy'. Without intending, those words made me feel ugly and fat, and I ballooned again.
My cheekbones disappeared, as did the hipbones, ribcage and vertebrates, all under a pile of feelings. Although I felt huge, my hair was healthier and my boobs reached an impressive cup size, for my 15 year old self. Unlike before, where I was complimented on my sporty body, my boobs became the new centre of attention. However, although I enjoyed my new bust, I never quite felt comfortable, I turned to running again and went back to being to a more 'normal' weight again.
For a little while there I felt pretty darn good, I had cut off my long hair and people told me it suited my face and made it more feminine. While the eczema on my skin had cleared and I no longer felt embarrassed to show my face and so I stopped wearing foundation.
Over the years, my monster and I have continued to struggle for space inside of my head, as a result my body weight has fluctuated with the battle. However, one thing I've never failed to notice is how many compliments I've received when I've managed to 'lose a few'. Guys would tell me how good my body looked and even my female friends would tell me how banging by bod was. Although it was nice, I never quite felt beautiful or attractive. Especially as my skin began to break out more and more.
When I moved to my new school I was so excited to meet new people and have a fresh start. Although edging on the larger side, I was no longer the weird pale kid. I met a guy and he started to call me gorgeous and beautiful, all the words I had craved to hear but had never heard at my old school. I started to like him and he asked me out and I said yes. Things happened and we broke up and I learned that the whole time he had been pretty excited about the size of my boobs. I no longer felt gorgeous.
I remember one time I was lamenting to my friend about how I wished I could be beautiful like those girls in my grade. She agreed that I wasn't quite as beautiful as those girls, because they were really beautiful. I had my kind of beauty that just took a while for some to realise. I'm not going to lie, it kind of cut me deep.
I no longer have enough fingers and toes to count the amount of times I've been hanging out with friends in public and have watched guy after guy check them out. While I stand beside them feeling more and more like an ugly duckling. Or the times all the girls at work have complained about how some guy hit on them again, while I'm lucky if a guy my age chooses to come through my register by choice.
When I started uni I was excited to meet new people and make new friends. I was also excited that I might finally get a boyfriend so I could finally say yes to when my relatives asked me, 'so, do you have a boyfriend yet?'. I did, as you know already, but that didn't last. Which is quite okay by me, because it was after watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, that I realised why it never felt right. He never made me feel quite that good about myself when we were actually together. He also never told me that I looked pretty or beautiful. Not even when his friend was going on about how gorgeous I was did he say anything. He even once told me that maybe I should do more sit ups, after I complained about how I didn't like my stomach. I don't know if it was vain to expect that of boyfriend, to be called beautiful or pretty. I still don't know.
In the past three months I've taken to wearing make up, due to more break outs. In that time I've had more compliments than ever about how beautiful and pretty I look. It's funny what can happen to your face when you add a little blush and mascara. My friends tell me I'm pretty and my Dad even compliments me for the first time since I was that thin, clear faced 14 year old self. Telling me that I'm such a natural beauty, little does he know he's saying that to foundation, mascara and blush.
The other night I went to a party, I put on my face again, wore an outfit that didn't make me look bad and I've been working on my posture, so I don't slump as much. I was told by one of my guy friends that it's a surprise that I don't have a boyfriend, especially with a body like mine. Little did he know I've been trying to lose weight again and it's only at times like these that people ever say that to me. Did I turn heads though? You bet I didn't.
I know my self worth shouldn't come from my looks but just for once I would just love to feel beautiful and to have someone else believe that I am.