I think it began in the fourth grade. The years before, in the time anticipating puberty, I was athletic, flat-chested, and freckled. However, as time passed that year, I could feel my clothes sticking to me in a different way, rolls of skin beneath my school’s uniform. I began to notice my own invisibility and later how my friends were so much more attractive than me. I guess this was my “DUFF” moment, the period of time where I realized I was the ugly friend. The fat friend. The one you keep around because of her personality.

My self-confidence continued to plummet as boys came into the picture. You see, they never liked me. Within the continuous cycle of note-passing and lip-glossed whispers, I was always left out. That problem followed me into middle school, where the guys I liked never felt the same way. Instead, they flocked to the blonde girls who looked nothing like the pale, chubby one with the obnoxious laugh. Eighth grade was by far the worst year, my anxieties about my body and life piling on top of each other, escalating into a small period of depression. When high school came around though, it was different. My friend group expanded into the territory of bodies and beliefs that didn’t fit into the normal conservative constraints. 

And then, I was surrounded by people who didn’t care that much about looks, rather our conversations and inside jokes. Yet, my body issues didn’t disappear. I still hate how my stomach sticks out and forms rolls. I hate how I look in candid photographs and how stretch marks decorate my thighs. However, at the same time, I love so many parts of myself. I love my freckles, splayed across my cheeks. I love the slight heterochromia within my eyes, and how my legs look in jeans. So, even though I don’t completely feel beautiful sometimes, I believe the key to self-acceptance is to love more things about yourself than you hate.

By Sophie Sebastiani

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