By Amanda Vining, Regular ContributorAugust 10, 2015
I was recently on a visit home to see my family in North Carolina. I am the oldest of four daughters, and my entire family had gathered to celebrate my youngest sister’s graduation from high school. Living in a house with so many girls, getting ready for a celebration often takes twice as long as the celebration itself.
The mirror in the bathroom is a sacred and chaotic place of make up, hair styling tools, and beauty products galore.
Moments before the graduation, it was in front of this mirror that I had a bold realization.
My sisters and I were all huddled in front of the bathroom mirror, struggling to share lipstick, a flat iron, and nail polish colors. As we were getting ready, one of my sisters remarked, “My face is so broken out. I have too many blemishes.” Another sister remarked, “My eyebrows are too dark.” And the third said, “When did I get so fat? I look like a hippopotamus!” When it was my turn to chime in, I looked at my face in the mirror and said, “I hate my mole.”
But then, as I continued to look at my reflection, I realized that I wasn’t being honest. I didn’t always feel comfortable having a mole just above my upper lip, and I was often self-conscious of it, but I didn’t hate it. Nor did I hate the way I looked. I’m not always perfectly comfortable in my body, but more often than not, I love my appearance, from my slightly large nose to my curvy waist to my size 9 feet.
image via brightshinyobjects.net
So I broke the silence among my sisters who were busy applying lip gloss and mascara, and I said, “Y’all, I look AWESOME!”
All three of my sisters looked at me, confused and speechless. I was speechless, too, because it occurred to me how rare it is for a woman or girl to look in the mirror and say something positive about her appearance.
This experience reminded of the scene in the movie Mean Girls when “the plastics” are all huddled around “Queen Bee” Regina George’s bedroom mirror and each girl takes a turn saying something negative about her own reflection. When it comes time for Lindsay Lohan’s character to say something, she remarks that until that moment she hadn’t realized so much could be wrong with one’s body, and in turn she nervously offers up, “I have bad breath in the morning.
When did we get to the point where women are expected to say negative things about themselves when they look in a mirror? Why is it so shocking to say something positive about your own appearance? That just feels wrong to me!
As the oldest of my sisters, it is my job to model self-love and confidence for them. As a girl, it is my responsibility to love who I am and encourage other women and girls around me to embrace their unique beauty.
I challenge YOU to look in the mirror and LOVE your reflection! Trust me, it can be hard at first, but I challenge you to say something positive about yourself every single time you see yourself staring back at you through that glass. You can do it! Together, we can change the way we look in mirrors and create a girl culture where we celebrate our BEAUTYFULL bodies!
What do you see when you look in the mirror? What's you favorite part of your reflection? Tell us below!
Amanda lives in Austin, Texas, where she strives every day to be as BRAVE and BeautyFULL as she can be. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a self-designed degree in Children’s Rights, and Duke University with a certificate in Nonprofit Management. In her spare time, Amanda can be found scouring Pinterest for her latest craft project, drinking coconut mochas in her favorite coffee shop, and creating content for the sexual violence prevention organization and blog, Talk About Rape (www.talkaboutrape.com.)
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