It is hard to learn to accept our flaws and see them as strengths. It can be a long time, consuming process to become confident in the things that we have always disliked about ourselves. But I believe that with patience and support we can learn to love every aspect of ourselves. This is the story of how I embraced my biggest insecurity.
When I was a few years old, I was diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome a rare disorder of the skin and mucous membrane. During the time that I had SJS, layers of my skin would become blistered and then shed. With the illness, I lost skin all over my entire body, which resulted in major scaring on the cheeks of my face.
Growing up, the rest of my body had healed easily. Once I began middle school, I started to become very self-conscious of my body image. I was embarrassed that my mild scaring would be noticeable to everyone and affect my friendships. I started to wear outrageous amounts of makeup to cover them up. I cared so much about what others thought that I didn’t even realize that I could have it so much worse.
One day I asked my mom to take me to the dermatologist to see if there was anything we could do to remove the scars. The dermatologist suggested multiple treatments, but none of them could guarantee results. It was what I needed to hear. It forced me to accept that there was no way to change what I considered my biggest imperfection. I needed to learn to accept it.
From that point forward, my outlook on my scars changed drastically. They would never define my beauty, nor would they impact who I was or the kind of person that I wanted to be.
Once I started high school, I began to accept my natural beauty. The people I met along the way loved me for who I was, never for my appearance. My scars were a part of me that was unique from anyone else. They have allowed me to share my story with others and help spread awareness about the serious illness.
Society has set a lot of standards on us as women. Some days it can be very hard for us to feel beautiful, but no one’s beauty can be defined by a simple aspect of their appearance. Beautiful people are those who make others feel beautiful inside and out just as much as they do themselves. We are all beautiful in our own unique way and we each have things that make us stand out from anyone else. Scars and all, I have never felt more beautiful.
Hannah Holliday is a strong supporter of A Beautiful Me and believes in it’s message. She studies journalism at Michigan State University.