This is the story about a boy named Peter. His story starts at the age of eight, a noticeably big boy for his height and age. He was fat and had a huge belly; he loved donuts and was spoiled by his parents. Anything he wanted he got it. In the summer of 2009, he was committed to lose weight, and it was successful in his attempt of doing so. Now feeling more comfortable with his new figure, he wanted to explore a different hairstyle. He used to have curly hair but didn’t liked it, wanting to look more like Zac Efron he started to straighten his hair. The poor thing didn’t know he looked ridiculous. At the age of 11, he started to feel different from everyone else. Like something wasn’t quite alright, at that moment he didn’t knew exactly but was sure that he was nothing like his classmates. During this time, he started to compare himself with everyone. There were a lot of handsome and conventionally good-looking boys and girls in his classroom. He couldn’t help himself but compare to each one of them, going from the color of their hair, color of their eyes, shape of their nose, hairstyle and likeness. He wasn’t popular, an outcast, from time to time bullied for being different. His teachers knew and some defended him, others just ignored that fact. He was more likely to be with the girls; he felt more secure with them. Though he didn’t have a feud with the boys, he felt more appealed to be friends with the girls; they understood him until certain point. But some girls were just not comfortable sharing much time with him either. He made a lot of mistakes, honest and innocent mistakes, nonetheless these mistakes grant him a reputation. He didn’t fit anywhere. He had to develop a sense of humor; he wasn’t outstanding, he had bad acne breakouts, pimples and zits everywhere in his face. Low self-stem was just one of the many issues he had to endure. He also questioned his sexuality. No role model or example of someone like him was available for him. He felt lonely and the world wasn’t a placed that was prepared for him, it was hard trying to not be much of himself because people like him shouldn’t outstand.
He knew that being himself was dangerous. He felt like he couldn’t express himself for fear of being described as being too much. Thoughts like:
People won’t like me if I say, feel or share the way I do. I’m alone, and I cannot tell my friends how I feel out of fear they will reject me, the world seems so small at the age of 14. It feels like there’s nothing else; it feels like school is all there is and no one is like me. I shall settle for a normal life without a great love. No one can understand how it feels to not be yourself, holding my words and thoughts; God forbid I act like myself because that doesn’t fit the normative, that I have to adapt to.
He was alone. For a very long time he couldn’t accept himself, he didn’t have any self-respect or self-love. That changed drastically on the summer of 2016; he landed his first job as a vacationist. Being there taught him that the world wasn’t so small after all. He meet lots of wonderful people, and for the very first time he felt that he could be himself. Just for one moment he could picture being happy without having to fulfill society standards. For almost three months he was able to speak out and say: I’m gay. Confidently and proud, without being or feeling judged. The workplace environment made him feel safe, maybe a bit exploit but he was happy. No place was better for him. Even when at home he felt like he couldn’t be him. It was a start.
One day he looked in the mirror, and the acne was gone. No more zits or pimples, his eyes started to look brighter. In an attempt to understand what was causing him to feel unpretty he asked the mirror. A confrontation took place, the demons inside, all insecurities and tags came outside taking form of his biggest fear, himself:
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?
Certainly not you my dear.
That’s no surprise, tell me something I don’t already know.
Deep inside, someone longs for a better life, the potential is rooted in your soul but it’s you the one that keeps holding back and it’s only you that can change that.
You have no right to tell me that how I wish I could tie you up in my shoes, make you feel unpretty too. It doesn’t even matter how many times I’ve been told before that I was beautiful. Every time I look into the mirror who’s inside there? Same old me again today.
Your outside seems cool, your inside is blue. Every time you think you through; it’s only you, once again and at the end of the day you have yourself to blame. You can buy hair if it won’t grow. You can fix your nose if you say so. You can buy all the make-up that MAC can make. But if you can’t look inside you, find out who am I too. You’ll always be in a position that makes you feel so damn unpretty.
I was never insecure until I met you, now I’m just being stupid. I used to be so cute to me, needing to be a little bit skinnier. Why do I look to all these things? To keep you happy? Maybe I should get rid of you and then I’ll get back to me.
Go ahead I dare you; you can’t kill me. I’ll always be a part of you, to remind you of whom you are and even if you forget about me you will never be able to change.
Maybe you’re right, look at me I will never pass for a perfect son or a perfect straight guy. I’m not meant to play this part, meet my parents expectations of whom I should be. Now I see, that if I were truly to be myself, I would break my family’s heart. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to play pretend for someone else. I choose me for once. I choose to be a little selfish and love me. Who are you? Who is that boy I see? Staring straight, back at me. Why is my reflection someone I don’t know? Somehow, I cannot hide, who I am though I’ve tried. I now stop asking myself when will my reflection show who I am inside and start working on reflecting that person outside. I’m done.
All demons, names, insecurities, past decisions were forgiven. At that moment Peter for the first time forgave himself, for feeling unworthy, undeserving of a great love, dismissed, misplaced, mistreated or no good enough. He forgave himself, accepted that he was different from the rest, special with a greater purpose. His new aspiration in life was to be happy. From that moment he promised to start living his life true to himself. Stopped trying to meet anyone’s expectations. Learned that perfection is a disease, tried to fix something, he couldn’t see. No doctor, treatment or pill could take the pain away. It was always inside, and nobody can free him from his own body. It was always his soul that needed the surgery. Fake smiles and denial could only take him so far, he hit a break point. All the fake façade left him in the dark, with shattered mirrors and the shards of a beautiful boy. Even after the darkest point, he survived. He never felt unpretty again.
Are you happy with yourself?
I am happy. I feel pretty, witty, bright and I pity anyone who isn’t me tonight.