Creative WritingMental HealthOpinion and Editorial

I Don’t Care If I’m Ugly

All photos by A.C. Brooke.

Changing the Beauty Narrative

It’s funny how the word “ugly” almost carries the same intensity of a curse nowadays. To attach such a description to yourself is grievously looked down upon, which is something I can understand given that nine times out of 10 it’s done so with a negative connotation. But if we’re being honest here, I think I’m ugly sometimes. In fact, I know I’m ugly sometimes. Easily I can look into the mirror and identify the trademark features that go against conventional beauty standards: a mildly asymmetrical face thanks to a noticeable droop in my right eyebrow; a more than generous forehead; and—how could I forget—an often strikingly awkward hairline as a result of a stubborn widow’s peak. That’s not something I say out of insecurity, but rather joyful acceptance. 

Contrary to what we’ve been taught in recent years, I think it’s stupid to expect ourselves to believe we’re attractive all the time. Even if done out of self-love, it just ironically reinforces the idea that looks are important. I think we should love ourselves for who we are because it’s who we are—no strings attached. I know that I probably wouldn’t be classified as exceptionally beautiful to the general population. Pretty? Sure, I think so. But I’m not turning any heads when I walk into a room—and that’s okay. It’s not your job to be pretty for anyone else, not even yourself. That’s not something I used to know. I used to be bound by the belief that my looks had to be bold enough to set me apart, a way of thinking that’s probably not uncommon given the nature of social media and its role in our lives today. But somewhere along the way, I realized that just wasn’t going to happen—I had to come to terms with the fact that I was not indeed the second coming of Cleopatra. A hard pill to swallow, sure, but one that finally gave me the freedom to love myself for who I was and not for who I wished I could be.

My appearance is the least interesting about me, and that’s something I say with beaming confidence. I think I’m funny and caring and creative and intuitive, and ultimately, that’s where my beauty comes from. All those things I listed before—the lopsided eyebrow, the plentiful fivehead—all the things I used to be wildly insecure about, I’ve grown quite fond of these past few months. They remind me that I’m me, and I like being me. In fact, if anything I find these imperfections quite endearing, even if they make me less conventionally attractive. So yeah, I know I’m ugly sometimes. But to me, ugly is merely a trifling word with no power because that’s what I’ve decided all it’s going to be. Who said we have to be pretty, anyway?