I have always been told that I was beautiful.
As a child, my beauty reflected in the cuteness of a little girl with pigtails and fat cheeks. I was healthy and I was happy and during childhood the measure of what is beautiful is tied to the sound of laughter and the appearance of health.
But like we all do, I went through puberty. And I was still beautiful in my own way. But as a teenager, beauty is proportional to the speed one looses childlike qualities.
Like most 13 year olds, I was awkward. And as icing on the cake, I was an artist so my perception of myself was tied to how tortured I could seem. Except that I wasn’t really tortured. And I knew that by letting my mom wax my eyebrows and blow dry my hair straight I’d be beautiful- even in my awkwardness. So I let her, and I was.
And one day, I stopped wanting to seem tortured. Ironically, that’s when I got a tattoo and got my belly button pierced. I started wearing short shirts under a leather jacket and over the knee socks with short skirts. It was the 90s.
But this is the part when I really did start feeling tortured.
And I wrote poetry, and listened to grunge and did things I still won’t tell my mom even if she asks. It was at this point when I realized that I wasn’t as skinny as the other girls, but it didn’t matter. So time went by, I grew out of my tortured stage and wore clothes more suitable for the weather. Under fuzzy sweaters and funky jackets, the fat girl I had become had a comfortable home. And at the time, it worked.
Until I hit my 20s. And then it didn’t. I stopped feeling beautiful.
The world said I wasn’t.
And I worked so hard on what has to this day been the biggest project I’ve ever embarked on, that it became my life. Over the course of 2 years I became skinnier than most of the girls I know. I was beautiful again. Even if my bones stuck out and my head looked big. During that time I defined myself by the size of my jeans: a perfect 0.
When I turned 30 I gained some weight. I finally hit 120 lbs and I was devastated. But I found some comfort in being able to sleep on my side without my knees bruising each other. It was also kinda cool to see the breasts I hadn’t seen since I was in my teens.
It’s very likely that I would have found 120 lbs to be my ideal state of being had Life not worked its magic. Things happened and having lived through things I’d rather not discuss right now, I am no longer the skinny girl I used to be. In some ways, it kills me.
The clothes hanging in my closet do not correspond to the person who owns them. Who I used to be has not caught up with who I am. So now I find myself like I was at 20: trying to find the beautiful woman I am supposed to be.
But in some ways I know better now. I have an extra set of eyes I can see myself through.
So as I try to lose the weight and get back to who I was, I have also found the need to learn to reconcile the girl I once was, with the woman I’ve become. I have to come to terms with the fact that I will need a woman’s body to attain the goals I have set out for myself.
There is beauty in the process of aging. And part of aging is embracing the person you grew up to be. It has taken me a long time to fully appreciate who I am and at this point, despite of what I may want though never losing sight of my goals, I have to learn to see the beauty in who I have become.