"Ugly"

I have spent the last decade hiding from myself. I have always prided myself on being different, although whether that was sheer will or a coping mechanism is a mystery to me.  But it was all a construct – in the back of my mind I knew that I still wanted to be cool, popular, “pretty”. Growing up I never realized that there was anyone else that I could be. In middle school I was thrust into a new world, a world where perfection is unattainable but highly sought after. I was bullied for being “ugly,” and it deeply affected how I perceived myself. 

It has taken almost a decade to begin healing the scars of middle school and to remember who I really am underneath the personality I created for myself, but the deep gashes that those words left haven’t healed. When I look at images of myself I still think “ugly.” I wear makeup every day. I tell myself that I wear it because I love the artistry of it, but I know deep inside that I wear it because it makes me feel pretty. This shouldn’t bother me; feeling pretty is my right as a human being. But the fact is that “pretty” is an idea created by the media and cosmetic companies to make money off of people like me.  People that they have directly targeted to make them feel insecure and “ugly”. “Ugly” is a word that carries so many negative connotations. It is never used in a way that makes people feel good about themselves, and yet it’s a word that is used constantly in today’s society and media. My objective is to take a concept that is used to destroy self-image and use it to help people overcome the concept of “ugly” and understand that beauty has nothing to do with the way that you look, but rather the way that you feel.

The aim of this project is not to revolutionize beauty, but rather to redefine it. This project is aimed at a specific target: myself. I have found that one of the best ways to overcome my own insecurities is to fully realize them for what they are: fictional statements that I have allowed to define me. When I look in a mirror I don’t want to see only the flaws. The imperfect skin, the overbite, the lazy eye, they don’t define who I am. When I look into a mirror, I want to be happy with the image reflected back at me, whether I’m wearing makeup or not.