We have all heard it before that advertising and media have done horrors to us women and our self-image.
Admittedly, the body positive movement is helping—but still, many of us feel wildly insecure.
With the 20s roaring in, I have a word to us women who maybe, sometimes, or all the time feel “not good enough.”
Maybe what’s not good enough is not your hair, whether you desire it long and thick or short and curly. Maybe what’s not enough is not your body, if not tight and toned or curvy and voluptuous.
Maybe what’s not enough is your gratitude.
I stand with my back suction cupped to the shower wall; my left leg lightly buckled as my right foot is lifted hip height. I’m forward folding, tracing the razor from my ankle up my shins. The small shower space makes shaving nearly impossible, but after so many attempts, I’ve made do. I step out, moisturize, and go about my day just to know in 24 hours I’ll be met with stubble.
I spent most of my teens and much of my young adult years grimacing at my legs, cursing them for their stubborn growth. Thousands of dollars have gone to waxing kits; salon visits; stinky, skunk-smelling hair removal creams; and, yes, I bought a laser treatment on Groupon.
But today, dismounting from my forward fold and propelling up my other leg, I smile as the small, stubborn stubble greets me. It’s 2020, and I have given up feeling insecure about the small things.
In undergraduate, I used to look in dismay as my friends would proudly show their whispers of hair trickling back in after the second week. I would roll my eyes as they would complain shamelessly about how they have to shave again, hardly remembering when the last time they did was. Because it was something I was so self-conscious of, it became easier and more tempting to pay attention to what other women had better than me when it came to shaved or un-shaved legs.
And of course, it didn’t stop there.
Teeth, shoulder width, pore size, ab count, hair length. Whatever I was paying attention to negatively on myself, I would find myself comparing with other women.
It wasn’t until I realized one day that tons of women—women in magazines, on social media, friends, and friends of friends—all have something I don’t.
And I have something they don’t.
So instead of judging myself against other women, I started appreciating aspects of myself. What I found was I not only became happier, but I became prettier. Unexpectedly, the women around me became more beautiful too. I guess beauty really is the eye of the beholder.
I found that when I became grateful for the parts of myself that I loved, I could earnestly and honestly see those aspects in others.
Gone were my eye rolls over women’s brags of their kempt, “unkempt” legs.
Because I love my calves. I love my ankles, tight and strong. I love my feet and healthy arches.
So, to the women who don’t have to shave their legs every other day, be grateful for that and for those of us who have to. Be grateful for something else.