Don't be afraid to be "ugly"

  • Ugly is not a "bad word".

    I write this as a message to anyone who may be where I once was. People always misunderstand what I mean when I say that I am “So damn proud to be ugly”, and jump to quash the idea. While I appreciate their love and support, I am not afraid to be ugly and own that word. I am not and never have been conventionally attractive, but I am not ashamed of this face, or this body. From my first day at school I was branded with that once stinging label of “Ugly”. Even well in to my adult life people tried to make me feel inadequate for my appearance and for not fitting what they personally found attractive. However what they don’t realise is that Ugliness can be your greatest strength. For me, it’s the most powerful tool for self preservation I have at my disposal. The standard of beauty that we are sold by the media and that is perpetuated by social media is pushed as this international standard of what we’re supposed to be, what we should aspire to, but that bracket of what is beautiful is so narrow it will strangle you if you listen to it. Please don’t spend decades torturing yourself over that feeling that you’re not good enough like I did, because your value is not skin deep. I now see ugliness as being synonymous with beauty.They are two sides of the same coin. In Ugliness there is beauty, and in beauty there is ugliness, but in both there is strength.

    "Ugliness" as it's used these days, is uniqueness, it’s strength and divergence from the standard of beauty shoved down our throats from the day we are born; The universal standard we must adhere to according to media and social interaction. Ugliness is not something we become due to the words or opinions of others. I could tell you that my eyes were filled with bees a hundred times a day, every day , all year and it still wouldn’t make it true. So why does the disapproval of a stranger immediately become true? Like all things used against us, we must reclaim the label of ugliness, the dismissal and devaluing that comes along with it. And the only way to do that is to embrace "ugliness". Our unique features, our uneven faces, our so called misshapen bodies. They are beautiful, they are beauty, they are our homes and no one else has the right to make us feel like strangers in our own bodies.

    You will always be ugly to someone, but just because they have taken offence at your appearance like they do at mine, or felt your appearance so outrageous to their sensibilities that they have taken time out of their day to tell you so; that doesn’t make it any more true than my eyes being filled with bees. Just know you made enough of an impact somewhere deep inside them, most likely due to their own insecurity, that they took that time.  Just because the voices shouting loudest are negative, doesn’t mean they’re right. Embracing ugliness is my armour against the words and actions of others. Ugliness is being unafraid to divert from the norm, from the standard of beauty imposed on you by others.  If I am considered ugly and imperfect on the outside in my natural state by the general standard set by media and social networks, that is wonderful news, because if they’re already expressing their repulsion and discomfort looking at me in my raw, natural form, then whatever I do with makeup, clothing, surgery etc isn’t going to make them any more disgusted or more uncomfortable. Because to the people who see beauty in this rigid absolutist way, I am already those things.

    With my embrace of that word, that concept, is a chosen desensitisation to the bitterness and hatred we all sometimes have thrust upon us by others. In doing that, I slip through the cracks of judgment and the standard by which we are measured. I am no longer judged by the criteria they judge themselves and each other by, I’m considered beyond the help of a little blush and a wardrobe makeover and am soon forgotten, and in turn free. My face is mine to decorate as I wish, to love and to do with what I wish and to do what I feel is beautiful because once I’m labeled ugly and thrown out of someone else's mind the only standard of beauty I am held to is my own.  

    We are socialised and raised from day one to value the opinions of others and to strive to be attractive and accepted by them. It’s natural that these words hurt us as human beings. The only way to combat the natural reaction of hurt is to accept that they’re not the voice of reason or authority, and that just because they feel that way and try to ingrain it in to you and make you feel hideous, doesn't mean you are. Unfortunately you will always be ugly to someone. Do not let that be a negative thing, embrace your imperfections and learn to love what they say is “wrong” with you. Do Not place value or faith in the fear of the great faceless “Them” that we are always told to aspire to be. Dita Von Teese once said “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach and there will always be someone who hates peaches”. There will always be someone who thinks you’re not good enough, that you’re ugly, that you’re imperfect. Their hate doesn’t need to shape who you are. I use my ugliness to create beauty and create art. Therefore my ugliness has become something I love and I no longer feel that pang of hurt when someone attacks my looks, because I know that the only love for my face I need comes from myself. Beauty is subjective and vast, If you look at your reflection and you see beauty then you are beautiful. Being beautiful to yourself and to your soul is the most important thing you can do for your mental health, because seeing your own beauty unleashes the power inside you, you may wish to paint that beauty all over your body, you may wish to paint that beauty on a canvas, sing it, scream it from the mountains, but if you harness the beauty within you, even if some call the outside horrible things, you will feel more at home in your body than those who attack you ever could in their own.

    Loving your own beauty inside and out is the only way to save yourself from the coldness of the world and the cruelty of the world. Your body is not a vessel for which you should strive to gain the seal of approval from some empty corporation or faceless ideology. Skin deep beauty is valueless in the long term. To be so afraid of being considered ugly that you refrain from doing what makes you happy with your appearance, is a tragedy. Be what you consider beautiful, not what you are told to feel is beautiful.  Don’t be afraid to be “ugly”.

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