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Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.

You are the definition of beaUtiful.

The word "beautiful" is such an amazing adjective, but it's more than a word. It describes many feelings and actions, but it all starts within yourself. When someone calls you beautiful, do you feel that you are? Or do you feel validated? When you feel beautiful, you feel like you accept yourself with who you are and what you do. You love yourself. You have that control. On the other side, when you feel validated you go based off what others tell you. You need to be accepted by others. You crave for positive opinions from everyone but yourself.

As I dealt with depression, one of the many reasons behind it was my insecurities. My whole childhood, I dealt with not accepting how I look. I wasn't like the other girls. I was tall and big with thick hair and also hairy eyebrows. During my childhood I was always getting picked on, at school, at home, and at church. Mostly getting picked on how I look. At school kids would called me names like giant or skyscraper. At home and church, my cousins would call me saying I'm overgrown or say I look like a professional wrestler (looking back, I take that as a compliment now). My cousins didn't mean no harm, but somehow I felt hurt. When you're getting hit with negativity from left to right, you have no choice but to feel like everyone is against you.

In high school, I dealt with my self esteem the most. As I said before, I wasn't the prettiest, fittest, or most in-shape kind of girl. I played basketball in hopes of helping me with my self-esteem but it made it worse. Being in a team full of girls who look at you as a monster. The only friend I had in high school was my own sister. I remember one time I complimented my teammate on Free Dress Day, she had a cute outfit on. Her response wasn't a simple "Thank you," it was "I wish I can say the same to you." Girls would make fun of me not having a body that seems appealing to society.

High school was the first time I started talking to guys. I had interest in this one particular guy. He was tall, handsome, light skin with green eyes. He played football and he was very popular. He was such a sweet boy to me. We would talk on AIM, I would text him on my dad's cell phone and we would walk each other to class. In my head I was thinking like , why is he being nice to me? When there's all these pretty girls walking around. Still to this day, I have no clue on how he felt about me. I told one of my teammates that I liked him a lot. She told me she would talk to him for me. Next thing you know when we came back from summer break, they became official themselves. This is the same girl that told most of the guys at my school that I was the ugliest student there. Worst of all, she was suppose to be a close friend of mine. I knew she had a negative perspective on me but I still tried to be friends her. Did her homework , her exams and turned her F's into A's in hopes that she would change her opinion on me.

Feeling ugly and seeing myself as an ugly person was one of the many reasons why I would punish and hurt myself. I don't remember one time where I would come home from school happy. I always ended my days with cuts on my inner thighs and on my chest. Somehow the physical pain I caused on myself on the outside made me feel less pain on the inside. It was weird how the times where I felt less pain were the times I physically hurt myself. The only time I felt at ease was when I felt sharp items scratching through my skin. Dealing with so much negativity at school and home, I felt crushed. I felt the need to accept people's opinion of me. I didn't feel beautiful, I felt validated. I felt the need to be accepted by everyone just to make me feel beautiful. There were so many experiences that validated me as hideous. It was easy for me to accept that than to accept how I really am. Throughout my whole life I listened to peoples' opinions about my physical appearance.

I started feeling the beauty within myself in the beginning of 2017. Yes, it took me so many years to accept myself physically and mentally. I don't wish anyone to go through the experiences I have went through but those experiences taught me what I know now. I know not to let anyone get in my head, I know I come first, I know myself more than anyone. 2017 was the first part of the "finding myself" journey I put myself on. The year before I went through the first heartbreak that involved a man. After that, I discovered self worth and self love. Instead of giving in time to impress others that don't care for my existence, I invested my time more in the people that loved me back. The year of 2017 I explored many new experiences. Few of them included heart breaks and tears but I took them as lessons instead of grudges. Instead of holding onto the pain, I learned from it and moved forward. 

I realize no matter what size you are, people will have negative opinions about it. You're too skinny, you're too fat. My favorite phrases are the ones that make you an exception apart from your ethnicity, while they are complimenting you they are insulting your worth. You find their people non-attractive but have made that person an exception, which doesn't make any sense to me. One of my many favorite quotes to clear this up, "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be someone who hates peaches.” No matter how much you accept yourself for who you are, no matter how much self love you put in yourself there are going to be people who will think opposite. It's all about filling yourself with strength and positivity to fight those opinions.

Being beautiful doesn't start with the views from others, it starts within yourself. It starts by accepting yourself, making sure you are good with yourself. The misconception of beauty is that it's in the "eye of the beholder," in my opinion it's in your heart. I believe it must be in the heart to show your true appreciation to yourself. It's not what you see, it's not what you hear, it's how you feel. Fall in love with yourself, be obsessed with the fact that you are beautiful. I think of people being impatient of who you truly are on the inside, all they see first is the outside appearance when there is so much more to offer than that. Beauty starts within, that's the main concept of the word.  I mean you can't spell or pronounce beautiful without saying "be you."