By Daniela Hernandez
How do you feel beautiful?
It’s a question I recently received on my blog. I kept thinking and thinking and thinking about how I was going to respond. Because I am confident, I thought answering this question would be easy — but it took me about a week to formulate an answer.
A few years ago, I had dreams, goals, and I looked forward to the future; I was ready to work my butt off to accomplish everything, but life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to.
We’ve all been there: I got my heart broken, was betrayed badly by someone I trusted and considered a good friend, was confused about school, and struggled with family problems. All these things just seemed to come crashing down on me. The worst thing I had to struggle and deal with was my self-image. I hated how I looked; I constantly reminded myself how “worthless” and “not good enough” I was because I did not look how others wanted me to. It was a constant struggle, and I was not open about it with anyone, as those closest to me were often the ones making me feel that way.
In time, I fought back, and I decided that I was not going to put myself down anymore. I took my self-worth and love back. I decided to surround myself with more positivity, and blocked out anyone who thought that it was okay to make me feel bad about myself. I thank the blogs on Tumblr that I followed and my followers who constantly reminded me that I was inspiring them to feel better about themselves.
Today, there are many ways in which my life is great: I have a family that loves me, a 5 month old niece who means the world to me, friends who sometimes drive me crazy, but they are always there when I need them, and amazing women and men who believe in what I am trying to accomplish with my body-positive blog and support me all the way. I have a job, a home, and food on the table.
While these things and people make me happy, I sometimes still feel emptiness inside of me. I’ve been trying so badly to figure out what that emptiness is. These past few months have been especially hard — I dropped out of school without really thinking about it, and I really regret it. I stopped doing the things that I enjoyed, because I got lazy and tired. I don’t take care of myself like I used to, and that bothers me. I feel like I have given up on my dreams and goals, and feel like I am alive but I am not really living. I let everyone think that I’m okay, but in reality, I feel like my life is a complete mess at the moment, and I have no idea how to get back on track. There is no one to blame but myself.
But I am ready to forgive (myself), move on, and start living my life again.
So… how do I feel beautiful?
- I feel beautiful by knowing that I am struggling with some things, but I am still standing and staying as strong as I can.
- I feel beautiful by knowing that I have made mistakes and I will keep on making mistakes, but what’s important is that I learn from them and move on.
- I feel beautiful by knowing that even though most people have beyond high expectations of me, I am only human. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself when I screw up and disappoint others because all that really matters is me knowing that I tried my best.
- I feel beautiful by knowing that a lot of people feel inspired by what I am doing with my blog, and they support me and have my back.
- I feel beautiful by knowing that no matter how bad things are, I am strong enough to overcome anything!
- I feel beautiful by knowing that my family and friends love me, no matter how many things I have done to piss them off.
- I feel beautiful because even though I experience body shaming, sexism, and discrimination almost everyday, I stay strong with the belief that I am beautiful just the way I am, and that I shouldn’t have to change for anybody.
- I feel beautiful because I know that I am a good person, because I know that I care about others, and because I am accepting of others.
- I feel beautiful because I learned that I am worthy of being loved, especially by myself.
- I feel beautiful because I am an amazing person, and I am good enough!
There are so many things that make me feel beautiful, and they have nothing to do with how I look on the outside.
Although there are a lot of things I have to improve on, and a lot of things that I need to start doing for myself, what’s important is that I AM NOT GIVING UP, and I will keep fighting until I fill that emptiness inside of me with the accomplishment of my goals, hopes and dreams.
I am beautiful — and so are you.
Daniela Hernandez is a 20-year-old living in Aruba. She currently runs a blog, Static Rouge Curves, where she focuses on body positivity, fashion, and confidence tips. She can be found on Tumblr and Facebook.
Photo credit TazPhotos.