Julianne of This Fleeting Dream:
When I was at school, I was bullied for: being tall, being skinny, being pale and refusing to fake tan, having big feet (and therefore unfashionable shoes), having a big nose, having a ‘posh’ accent (because I didn’t mysteriously develop a Mockney accent in Year 8), having unfortunately oily hair, having a belly button that looks like it’s been stretched, having small boobs, not having my ears pierced, wearing glasses, wearing braces, not wearing make-up and not having had a boyfriend. At one point or another, I obsessed over each of these things, especially the last, because it was the logical, unavoidable, and in my mind eternal consequence of all the previous items.
I hardly ever think about these things now. I wear contact lenses, finished with the braces, and learned that conditioner hates my hair, but I don’t look fundamentally different. All that’s changed is my mindset. It’s hard to feel great about the shape you have through genetic coincidence when for years and years you believed it made you ugly. But it can be done. You just have to stop listening. In most situations in life, it’s a good idea to listen to other people, take expert advice, and be open minded. But when it comes to the physical things about you that you cannot change, or deep down, aren’t really that fussed about changing, close that mind! Bar entry to your brain! Ignore, ignore, ignore, ignore, ignore it. It’s actually easier in the long run to stop listening to that rubbish. It’s more logical to find your own way, to be happy because of who you are and the things you do because you can control all of that. Remember that you will never ever maintain proximity to the cultural ideal for more than a couple of years because you will get old. It is not worth bothering with because you cannot possibly hold onto it. It is just a lie, one that could destroy you if you pursue it. So don’t buy magazines full of pictures of people that you will never look like. Stop worrying about getting a romantic partner. Do stuff instead! Read books, play instruments, learn things, dress up in clothes you think are fun. Clothes and make-up are not the enemy if you’re trying to express yourself, rather than achieve that impossible ideal. Try wearing things that actually emphasize your so-called flaws. I wear vertical striped skinny trousers which I am sure make me look more like a stick but they make me feel like awesome incarnate so who cares?
If you see someone and think they don’t care enough about their looks, that they have bad taste, or wear colours that don’t suit them – mind your own business! They might be too busy curing cancer or trying to save the rhinos or doing something else amazing to be bothered about meeting your beauty standards. Be your own kind of beautiful, and always be kind to others.