When I was in sixth grade, something happened to my body. I got breasts before any other the other girls. The flat-chested girls were jealous and I was mortified. I started cradling my books to my chest when walking from class to class, and I noticed boys were staring at me in class a lot more often. In short, I grew to hate my breasts.
My self-image was in the potty, so to speak.
I mean, at the time, I did not hate these boys. Still don't. I sort of hated that I began developing before most girls. Strange thing is that I did not feel more like a woman – just felt different than my friends. And I did not feel any prettier, though when I look at pictures me, I should have thought of myself as pretty.
Years later, I was talking some friends – and nearly universally, none of us considered ourselves pretty when in school. I am not talking "hot" because, lets face it, we were kids. But we were cute, all of us, and none of us knew.
In It's a Wonderful Life, there is a line: "Youth is wasted on the young." Now I don't believe the line because the young are foolish. And being foolish is more than it is cracked up to be. Foolish means carefree. Foolish can mean free-spirited. Foolish is great, really.
But foolish also doesn't know how pretty she is when she was thirteen years old. Or how wonderfully she was inside, how fully of hope, how full of dreams. All she remembers is how clumsy guys got, bumping into her breasts between classes.
Yeah, parents can tell you that you are pretty when you are young but you really never believe them.
Yesterday, I read a bit of self-flagellation on one of my favorite blogger's sites, and in a second, all of these thoughts came pouring out. The world is full of beautiful.1 people, and it is sad to know that most of us never really consider ourselves beautiful.1
1Beautiful can mean so many things, and while I primarily focused on physical beauty in my examples, I was thinking of everything that makes someone unique – gifts of intelligence, patience, kindness, and talent, as well as unique physical traits, like the wrinkling of a nose to an unpleasant odor.