When a Makeover Means Losing Your True Self
Let me tell you one thing off the bat: This isn’t your typical body image story. I never had anorexia, and I've never been obese. I was, however, obsessed with becoming pretty.
It all started when I joined cross country junior year. I told everyone it was because I wanted to get into a good college, but the truth was that I wanted to impress my crush with my amazing new cross country body and awesome athletic ability. It didn’t hurt that he was on the team, too.
I was never boy-crazy before. To be honest, until this year I always had this voice inside my head telling me I was asexual. God, was I wrong.
What happened to me next might be every teen girl’s dream, even if they don’t admit it out loud. I went through a total Princess Diariestransformation. I wore tons of makeup and I flat-ironed my hair every day. I even had abs for once in my life. It took three hours out of my day, but I looked gorgeous on the outside; I knew that. The catch? Despite all this effort, I never felt good on the inside.
My obsession with looking good got to a point that I rebelled against the beliefs I grew up with. I wore sweatshirts over my crop tops, and I'd just take them off at school so my modest Indian parents wouldn’t disapprove. My grades suffered. I stopped really studying and my dreams of going to an Ivy League school went down the drain. Honors and AP classes just weren’t worth it, right? My true self, a procrastinating but studious nerd, became a shadow.
This all ended when cross country season was over. I had to babysit my severely autistic brother and I felt dumb for not appreciating what I do have. I have a brain that allows me to talk and read and write. I have a stomach that doesn’t do gymnastic tricks after I eat gluten or dairy. He reminded me of my goal in life: To make enough money to take care of him. The fact that I didn’t take advantage of everything I have now sickens me. I didn’t fulfill my goals, and I let him—the guy I actually love the most—down.
I’m not telling you that wearing makeup is bad or that wearing crop tops should be looked down upon. I still do some of the things I did (except the crop tops because that’s just not who I am). But I am saying to never do anything that goes against your true identity. Never go against your morals and never change yourself to fit into society’s standards—let alone for some guy. And if something is stopping you from reaching your goals, then get rid of it. Immediately.
I don’t have abs anymore and I flatiron my hair once a month. But trust me, I am the happiest and most confident I’ve ever been. I am me again.
By Aishwarya Singh, 17