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Body Talk: Sticking Out

Ever since I was a little girl, I have stuck out.

Whether it was because I was the last one to finish my running exercises, or because I was a head taller than everyone else, or because I was just fatter than everyone else; I have always stuck out like a sore thumb.

I was nothing like the other girls in my class when I was little: I was tall, fat, Latina, wasn’t nearly as rich as them, and I liked both girls and boys. I didn’t want to stick out, so I crouched over to make myself seem smaller. I developed their way of speaking, putting “like” before every word and promising to only speak Spanish to my parents. I stayed quiet when they talked about all of the gifts their parent’s had bought them, and I only ever made my crushes on boys known to them, repressing my own feelings for other girls in my own mind and making myself feel straight.

I figured out eventually that my uniqueness wasn’t a bad thing, but no matter how hard I tried, I always stuck out. While browsing the internet, I saw pictures of beautiful girls with beautiful hair. They didn’t stick out from a crowd. They stood out. I wanted to do that. I wanted to stand out like those beautiful girls with their perfect hair.

My mind was made up, I begged my parents to take me to a salon, and they agreed. My hair was purple, and everything was good. There was just one problem: I still stuck out.

I realized then that it wasn’t my hair that could make me stand out. It was practically in my DNA to be different than everyone else. If I wanted to stand out like those beautiful girls, that change would have to come from inside me, not outside of me. I could change every aspect of my body, make myself perfect by society’s standards, but that would not change the fact that I hated myself and my body. I found out that to be beautiful, I would first have to see myself as such.

This story doesn’t have a happy ending. I’ve been doing work with professionals to try and improve my view of myself, but I still stick out.

Maybe one day I can stand out.

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