I was born into a world where being fair skinned and having a size 2 figure was the only option in order to be considered beautiful. I was never able to look up to someone that looked like me other than my mother. As time progressed, the media portrayed what the ideal woman or girl should look like; none of which reflected what the majority of the population looked like.
As a young girl, I always looked at myself as the opposite of what was considered beautiful, which was what the media taught me to believe. I was never a size 2, and for a while, I wasn’t able to accept that. Over time, my confidence became extremely low; I’d put on a brave face in front of those around me to make it seem like my confidence was up to par, when in reality it wasn’t.
Ever since I can remember, I was either talked down to or taunted by those around me because of my weight. Degrading comments were thrown at me so much that I actually began to believe them.
When I was first introduced the concept of school, I had been extremely sheltered and hidden from the cruelty of words that a public school could bring. It wasn’t until I left my private school at age 5 and entered a public school that I began to see the world in a new way. I went from knowing everyone, to knowing no one.
It was a huge transition; not only because of the scholastic aspect, but the change of environment. It was almost as if I had experienced a culture shock. I was constantly reminded of what I looked like, which wasn’t beautiful.
I was always reminded of my appearance through those around me or media. Hearing something again and again can eventually make an individual believe it.
Repetition is everywhere. It’s in the media, advertising, and politics. Repetition is one of the most widespread methods of persuasion, but it has become so commonplace that it’s rarely recognized.
According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, this effect has been diagnosed as the illusion of “truth effect”, which arises [at least partly] because familiarity breeds liking. Being exposed to a message constantly makes what is being said become more familiar.
In my case, hearing the same words, names, and phrases caused me to believe them.
Transitioning into middle school with the same mindset, I began to analyze those around me and my confidence became even worse.
Although these phrases and name weren’t outwardly thrown at me, they stuck with me, due to the way that my mindset had formed. It wasn’t until I was involved in confrontations that I’d once again begun to hear familiar names and phrases thrown at me.
According to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, the common cliche phrase “sticks and stones” that regards bullying what really causes lasting damage is completely wrong. In actuality, emotional harm lasts much longer than physical harm, which could affect someone’s mental state permanently and even impact their physical appearance.
Always being talked about and constantly reminded of my appearance caused me to sink deeper into a shell, and it became almost impossible for me to get out. Even though I’ve always had great grades, I was never able to look past that.
It wasn’t until my entrance of high school that I began to uplift myself.
I was finally able to declare my beauty.
For those who are reading this, I encourage you to believe in your beauty and don’t allow anyone to define you. Beauty resides within the eye’s of the beholder.
“Our perception of ‘beauty’”, whether it’s “internal or external, represents more than just an amalgamation of our opinions”, stated by Avinash Saraf.
The true meaning of beauty, and any other quality we aspire to have, is a testament of our values and a reflection of ourselves. Seeing our values as goals makes it to where we push ourselves to achieve such qualities. Those who we consider “beautiful” become our role models, as we strive to become more like them.
I aspire to be the best version of myself. I’ve learned to love myself and everything that came along with me, and I encourage you to do the same.
My name is Jazmyn Davis, and I know now that am beautiful, and so are you.