A Queen Diary by Katie Cartwright
Growing up, I viewed beauty as a checklist. I believed that there were certain criteria that made you pretty: being tall, thin, tan and toned, with straight hair and clear skin. The more boxes I could check off of the list, the more beautiful I believed I was.
In reality, I’m 5’4” with mild to severe scoliosis. I have a mane of naturally thick, frizzy, wavy hair, and fair, acne prone skin. You can only imagine the amount of time I spent in middle and high school trying to hide the curve of my spine with clothing, straightening my hair, and covering up my skin with layers of makeup. These “solutions” only exacerbated my insecurities. My clothes made me appear frumpy. Daily straightening damaged my hair, making it appear even frizzier than it is naturally. The makeup suffocated my skin, prolonging a vicious cycle of covering up breakouts and hyperpigmentation. I was never happy with the way I looked, despite all the steps I took to “check off my boxes,” and be beautiful.
As a senior in high school, I decided enough was enough. I wanted to love myself- curvy spine, unruly hair, blemished skin and all. I started taking care of my body. In addition to exercising more regularly, I began wearing tops that revealed more of my figure (and my scoliosis), I put the flat iron down, embraced a middle part that gives my hair lots of volume, and started focusing on the health of my skin rather than what it looked like. I hoped to look beautiful eventually, but over time, I realized that I felt beautiful. With that epiphany came the confidence that I am beautiful, despite my imperfections.
Beauty is not a checklist. Beauty is something that you are. You and I and everyone else are made in God’s likeness; therefore, there’s no way we could be anything but beautiful! Sure, some days I struggle to believe that I am beautiful. But ultimately, no one else dwells on my imperfections but me. It is up to me to embrace my beauty. Whether I want to believe it or not, it is there. Everyday, I am beautiful.