This is how beautiful feels.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the struggles women face because of media and other sources that make these beautiful women feel like they aren't. I know what it's like to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and not like the person staring back at you. I spent many long years awaiting the day when I would look in the mirror and smile at the girl looking back. I really felt like I was still stuck in the awkward phase of my life even after high school. I compared myself to others with extremely judging eyes and tried so hard to be something I wasn't. I don't think I am that wrong when I say that most women have felt the same.

This is really hard for me to admit... but, I struggled with acne for many years. I tried everything from Proactive to home remedies. Aside from the pain of acne, my heart ached every time I caught a glimpse of my face or saw a picture of myself online. I tried my best to stay out of pictures that I had no control of. I almost obsessively edited every little pimple off my face before I let anyone else see any pictures of me. Not only was it frustrating, but I felt like I was hiding behind the magic of photoshop. I felt like I couldn't be myself. Along with the acne, I had braces until the beginning of this year. I watched my friends grow up to be stunningly beautiful women while I felt like a middleschooler. Then one night I was complaining to my roommate about my acne and how terrible I felt. I was to the point where I was so sick of it that I often wished that I could buy a new face. My roommate was so kind and understanding and helped me to feel a little better. She suggested that I go see a dermatologist (something I had never thought of). That next week I set up an appointment but didn't expect miracles. I had been to the doctor before and had taken medication and used topical creams that seemed to do nothing but dry out my face. My new dermatologist recommended Acutane. I was skeptical, but decided to give it a shot anyways. After the first two months I started seeing a  difference, and my face began to heal. Apart from the symptoms of my skin being extremely dry, I started to feel better about myself. After six months of treatment I am happy to say that I am acne free!
(I am not at all promoting Acutane. It was just the only thing that worked for me. I understand that the drug may not be right for everyone and you can talk to your doctor about using it.)

The other morning I woke up, looked in the mirror, and smiled. For the first time in a long time I felt truly beautiful. I thought to myself "This is how beautiful feels." I didn't feel like I had to wear a ton of makeup to cover my face. I was happy! I even laughed with joy! Today I did an experiment. I took pictures of myself, and for the first time I  didn't edit out any blemishes, but a few under eye wrinkles... I am still working on not editing at all... but it is a huge step from where i started!

Ok so this story might be a little misleading to the reason why I told the story in the first place. I am in no way saying that in order to feel beautiful you must be acne free. One of my biggest regrets is not seeing how truly beautiful I really am and was all those years I thought otherwise. It is still a work in progress. I still have days where I have the same old terrible feelings about myself, but I am trying to remember what I have learned and apply it. There is no doubt that women make this world go round. We are all beautiful inside and out. We each hold a light inside of us that we need to let shine. Don't ever forget who you are, where you have come from, and where you are going. Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't beautiful, even if it's yourself.

Throughout the next couple of months I want to have guest posters come here and talk about self image and beauty. I want them to share personal experiences and how they have overcome (or are working to overcome) beauty struggles. My aim is to address all of the issues women face today with love, support, kindness, progress, goals, ideas, strength, and friendship. The goal is to help women know how beautiful feels.

So if you want to be a part of the project please comment, share, and/or email me! I would love to hear your stories and most importantly be your friend! If your interested in guest posting shoot me an email and tell me a little bit about yourself and what you want to talk about in the post! I am excited to create a support group of beautiful women to love and care for one another.

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