“So you agree. You think you’re really pretty.”

Of all the ridiculous things my ears have heard, the one that has resounded in my mind the past few weeks is when I overheard a pair of young women discussing another nameless woman in a derogatory manner. 
“She isn’t even pretty in real life. She just takes good pictures.” 
And see, I have a few problems with this. For one, who says that? That’s almost saying, “yes this chicken is good, but it is only good when I can’t taste it.” Not only is this typical mindless gossip, it’s just….mean. And whatever, people are mean, words are mean. I get that. 
I just think it’s bullshit.
Where do these distorted views of beauty stem from? Why do humans feel slightly uncomfortable and jealous when they notice someone who might actually be confident in who they are, what they look like. (God forbid someone doesn’t swim in a pool of self loathing like 97% of those I know.) I’m genuinely curious. I spent a good 10 years fighting against this whole “self love” concept. I grinded my teeth and rolled my eyes, scoffing at those who walked tall and reeked of self confidence. “The nerve!” These thoughts did nothing for my own self image. I remember being 14 and crying when I had to be seen in public when I thought I wasn’t pretty enough to go to the grocery store, of all places. 
That was then, this is now. I’m not sure what happened because before I left for college, I had no idea the length people, women in particular would go to hurt one another. And I am both, the victim and the inflict or when it has come to bullying. I joined in the negativity because it was easier than facing my own issues of “I don’t really like….me.” I witnessed food being tossed on the bed of some girl we as a freshman floor decided was a bitch. I said nothing as my friends scrolled through 100 profile pictures of the same girl whispering “she’s not even cute.” Under her breath. It wasn’t until a few semesters afterward that I thought to myself how cruel and insecure most of us are. And yeah, I’m speaking directly to you, ladies. 

How come we need permission to openly like ourselves? 

 I used to think the whole “self love” thing was dumb and pointless. Then I realized I had spent over a decade not being friends with myself and that truly is a sad story. You have one life. Just one. You carried yourself through turmoil, loss, daily life. You are a bunch of atoms that breathe into everything around you. Therefore, yes. I do believe in the concept of self acceptance now more than ever. 

I’m not a sagely wise person, there is no lecture, no boasting here. I just don’t girl-hate another woman the way I did all those years before. I realized how empty jealousy is and the toxic baggage that comes with it. I used to believe that another girl’s beauty was the absence of my own. I can’t explain what happened exactly. I just realized how stupid it was of me to hate someone simply because they had longer hair, wider hips, brighter eyes. These days I see another girl workin it, and 9 times out of 10, I’ll tell her. Now, I absolutely love seeing the girl who works in the neighboring office as mine, the one who rocks her heels and short bob compliments her tiny, porcelain face. We wave at one another and we have no idea who the other is. I just know that she’s a human just like me.
Do you ever sit back and think of the person who really don’t care for? The one who has either tormented you, or just rubbed you wrong for years? One of the most humbling mental pictures that I painted in my mind occurred to me in a dream a little over a year ago. In this dream, I was standing in a faded blue colored room. And the girl I hated most was there. Curled up in MY bed. A puddle of tears, a heap of pain. My brain then switched to another dream and in the morning I was so confused by this. First, I scoffed, disgusted that my head would bring THAT one particular, “homewreckin wench” (as I believe I once called her.) into MY dream space. But then, I immediately went back to the times when I was a puddle of tears myself. When I was in fact, a “homewreckin wench.” I felt compassion for this girl even though this situation never really happened and I would bet a thousand dollars this particular girl would have nothing kind to say about me. What I am getting at is, even though I thought I hated her, I was humbled to face the undeniable fact. She is a human, just like me. With feelings, thoughts, fears, things she laughs at, games she has played, a collection of people she has met throughout her life. While she might not have the inner awakening I had, and I understand most do not, It is a feeling and lesson I wish others could grasp. Even the one person who hate more than anything, is beautiful in their own way. 
We point fingers and call names because it is easier than looking at our own lives, our own reflections. 
Women. What fascinating, confusing, emotional and beautiful creatures we are. I say beautiful because that’s what I think every woman is. We don’t get to see ourselves in true, raw form. Our eyes aren’t skin deep, but if they could see past our fleshy, complex physical features, the oceans of depth we could see underneath. If someone asked me, what do you think of beauty? I’d shoot back with, “I don’t know. Society kinda screwed that up too.”
We are taught to believe in ourselves,

But not too much.

Love ourselves, 

But keep it to yourself.
To that, I shake my head and disagree. 
I don’t think they way we feel towards ourselves should be silent. I want to be luminous in my pride, loud with my body, comfortable with my body because it carries me and takes care of me at the rise and fall of the sun. That’s beauty. If we can’t support another human because of their exterior, can we all just agree to not be so damn cruel? (Drops mic, applause ensues) 
My sister Caiti found a quote online that goes, “love your crooked neighbor with your crooked heart.” And that’s what I’ll close with, I think. 
The next time I see a girl and feel a little jealous, I’m going to think to myself “she’s really pretty. And I am too.” 
Here are some pictures I think I look good in. What are yours? Go take a picture of yourself and don’t be embarrassed. And if anybody scoffs at you for loving yoself, don’t succumb to their suck fest. Odds are, they aren’t too fond of themselves. 
Take CaraYourself.



Launched in 2014 as a community for creative thinkers, bloggers, and those with eyes and an open heart, this CaraFranMin is a quickly growing collective of go-getters from around Pittsburgh. My hopes for this account is to promote a more honest, and raw type of writing among young people. To speak up about the things that aren't always easy to talk about, and to get real with others. I've always loved telling, sharing, and writing stories. The way I see it--This is what life is all about- human connection and how our passion molds us into the people we become. I am fascinated by what makes people tick, those who go the distance and follow their true calling. Any chance to get to know others better, make them feel inspired or turn their day around, I'm in. Some noteworthy things about me include: There is a constant stream of song lyrics going through my mind at all times. I'm an avid people watcher. An overly friendly introvert. Die hard Coffee lover and expert "I KNOW THIS SONG" -er. And I am obsessed with my Golden Retriever, Theodore. Catch me at Carnegie Coffee Company on the weekends, or somewhere floating on my paddleboard around the Burgh.

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