It’s ironic that one small change to the outside can initiate a revolution on the inside. At least, that’s what happened for me. I might catwalk around like the key to confidence was a birthright, but, truth be told, I’m totally insecure.
Everywhere I go, I feel like all eyes are on me, and it’s not as vain as it sounds. It’s not, “I love her outfit.” It’s, “That skirt makes her look fat.” It’s never, “Her makeup is gorgeous.” It’s, “Her brows need work, and she can’t even wing her eyeliner.” I know people have themselves to worry about, and they probably don’t even know I exist. The results are in, and the odds of everyone being that petty are slim. Even if I’m cast in my dream role as the center of adoration, I can’t shake the patronizing feeling that everyone has their own reasons to hate me.
I wasn’t always insecure. In fact, I used to love the way I looked, so much so, I tried to toss myself into the world of modeling. An agency signed me when I was 15, but I started college so shortly after that I never got to see it through.
Before I gained the freshman 30, I felt confident in whatever outfit I threw on, makeup or not. Sure, I was insecure about other things, but my appearance was not on the list. By sophomore year, I gave up on the notion of modeling, but not yet on my dream to model: just postponed until I looked like a model again.
My college career wrapped early this summer, and, academically, college was a hit. I graduated summa cum laude, three years early, and even took a gap semester. But no degree could fill the confidence void that my appearance created. I set some goals for myself to make my “adult” life more inwardly successful than those sad 2.5 years in college. Nothing was going to feel victorious unless I felt good about myself.
Unfortunately, an outward transformation doesn’t happen overnight. I’d lose a few pounds, but still feel terrible about myself, because I had 27 more to go. So, it didn’t matter. I needed a fast, tangible change to motivate myself to maintain a feeling of self-confidence.
In June, per my morning routine, I was scrolling through Facebook, sipping coffee, generally wondering why I was “friends” with some people. Usually, I skim read a few posts from close friends, but something different caught my eye. A hairdresser in the Highlands was looking for models who wanted to color their hair. In exchange for a free cut and color, I simply had to smize at the camera.
I debated whether or not to send my headshots, since I don’t exactly fit the mold of a model at the moment. Then, I remembered how confident I felt when I signed my contract a few years ago. I also knew I needed a quick fix to keep me on track. A couple of days passed, and I was scrolling through Facebook in a salon chair as I waited for my color to process.
I walked into the salon under the impression that I was going platinum blonde. I walked out of the salon with cotton candy pink hair. I drove home from the salon with a smile plastered to my face. The pink faded to blonde after a couple of weeks. However, during those couple of weeks, I faced something that I’ve battled within myself for years.
Everywhere I went, I felt like all eyes were on me, and it probably is as vain as it sounds. I could see people staring at my hair. Most people even complimented me on it. For once, I wasn’t focused on how fat my skirt made me look or if my eyeliner was crooked. I loved one thing about myself, and it was enough to distract me from everything else I didn’t.
By the time my hair faded, I realized that the way people perceive me isn’t as important as the way I perceive myself. Even if people hated my hair, I loved it, so I didn’t care. Until I reach a point where I’m happy with everything about myself, I need to find small things I like so I don’t walk around with an aura of depression. I think the most important aspect of this journey to self-love is loving yourself on the way to your destination. Sure, I’m not where I want to be, but how am I supposed to get there if I can’t encourage myself to keep going?