The Beauty in Being You

My favorite quote was said by C.S. Lewis and reads, “Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you never know who would love the person you hide.” At first glance, this sounds just like any other cliché quote telling you to embrace who you are. But as you truly allow the meaning behind these words to resonate in your heart, you might realize how little we do what it’s suggesting to do.

In the sixth grade, I was the most confident person I knew. Not having grown into my head yet, I wore my huge glasses and tacky bows without a care in the world of what others may have thought about me or the extravagant colors I would pick for the rubber bands on my braces. I remember clearly being one of the most outgoing people in my grade, constantly looking to make someone laugh or for an opportunity to share my geeky interests with anyone who seemed even mildly interested. I once met a close friend of mine with my entire head (covering my face and all) wrapped in a pink scarf, simply introducing myself excitedly – not caring that I looked absolutely ridiculous, or even considering the fact that they couldn’t see my face. My personality was a strange one, but nonetheless, I liked who I was and I had people in my life that loved me too.

In the eighth grade, I went on a school trip to Universal. I was having a fun time with my friends when I suddenly overheard a conversation taking place behind me in the line for a ride. It took me only a few seconds to realize that the group of boys behind us was talking about me and my friends, and me being the young girl I was, leaned in a bit to hear what they were saying about me. That whole day was filled with heat, water rides, sweat, and lots of walking, so I wasn’t looking my absolute best. Even so, the words I heard spoken about me hurt me in a way I had never experienced before.

Until that moment, I had never questioned who I was or if my appearance was sufficient enough.

As time passed, I never truly recovered from the pain caused by the words those strangers said about me. Friends began to go to parties weekly (which were gatherings I was never a fan of), girls my age began to have experiences with boys that I hadn’t had yet and everything that was normal and comfortable in my life seemed to be quickly fading away. I began to settle with the idea that who I was wouldn’t be accepted in the society I was in, and I quickly began to put a mask over my true self. As my insecurities began to pile up, I became more closed off, and I found myself completely changing who I was and what I decided made me happy. Somewhere along the way, I had to realize that the only people who matter in my life are the ones who love and accept me for who I am.

I’m only a seventeen-year-old girl who has a lot left to experience, but if I could teach you one thing from what I have been through in my life so far, it would be to be yourself. Wholly, completely, and downright yourself. Quit changing your morals in an attempt to prove yourself to someone who wants something from you that you’re not ready to offer yet. Stop being ashamed of your quirks and peculiar interests because they may make you seem strange. Leave behind ALL insecurities about your appearance, because there is so much more to our lives than our looks. Aim to impact the hearts of those around you instead of their eyes, and understand that there’s something so incredibly beautiful about being different than those around you. You don’t need to be doing what everyone else is doing to be special. Be a rarity, and learn to be yourself.

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Natalie Santos
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Dreamer from Miami

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