The idea was I didn’t want to look myself.
I wanted to look like those girls I saw in my fathers penthouse magazines. Perfect bleached hair and small features with mile long legs and big boobs. They had unrealistically set the bar for my beauty standards. I bleached my hair as blonde as I could get it, bought the longest hair extensions because my hair just wasn’t long enough, layered foundation on so strong you couldn’t see my acne scars and drank until I was, I thought, a better version of myself. I would look in the mirror after putting together my “masterpiece” and not recognize my own reflection, satisfied with my work.
. It may have taken a few hours of getting it right but by the time work rolled around, I left the house as my own version of Frankenstein.
It was a constant battle between accepting myself as the awkward, lonely and undesirable teen I had grown up as or instead forming a mission to reach perfection that I would chase forever.
I got spray tans to hide that I was so pale so it looked better in the black lights. I would shop in all the stores that had the most revealing clothing so I could lure customers in during my daily life, adorn a push up bra so tight it left marks on my skin for hours after taking it off. As I yearned for what I believed would make me the most cash, I was losing the most important thing…. who I was. And to be honest, it was exhausting.
This charade of pretending, … it never lasts.
Soon enough, It was no longer glamorous to look into the stage mirror and see past the heavy eyeliner the tired girl looking back at me. It quickly became boring and I realized how much fun it could be to be real. This fantasy I created for myself wore thin and suddenly I was yearning for something different…
The real girl who stood awkward in front the mirror when she was naked and without makeup, exposing the acne scars. The girl who laughed loudly at almost every joke and loved fiercely. She had an attitude and sass but that was okay. The girl who teared up at tiny sentiments, who loved her friends, and endless dreaming. The girl who always wanted to cut her hair short and lost herself in joy when she went running.
Sure I wasn’t elegant or tall, my boobs were small and I was awkward in my own skin, but that was me. 100% original, and that could never be replaced.
In some ways I have stripping to thank. It let me realize that I didn’t need to cover myself up to be what I wanted. It took so long but I realized I just had to accept who I am. And maybe instead of letting strangers convince me of who I was I should have started with my own reflection.
Maybe I too, could be beautiful…