First of all, I’m meant to make this personal, and write about how this affects me. To make the fact that I’m going to be writing about this to an audience of people who are mostly strangers-no offense- I’m just going to pretend that I’m talking to my old friends. I’d like to point out how nerve-wracking this is because I’ve read several articles written by writers on our team, with plenty of personal details and I think their work should be appreciated, because they’re doing this to raise awareness about the various taboo topics that unfortunately plague our minds as teenagers in this messed up world. Okay, enough stalling. Here goes nothing.
Social media sucks. It totally and completely blows. Yes, it helps me stay in contact with the friends I left behind, and yes, it’s got many other benefits. I’m not completely sure that they outweigh the risks though.
Here’s the thing. As a child, I usually didn’t think to doubt myself-whether it be in terms of beauty, or humour, or even intelligence. Whenever I did, however, a simple compliment from my mother would put my self-esteem right back on track. I was sure that there are more important things than looks to a person. I was still superficial to an extent of course, as most children- heck, people in general- are bound to be. I can’t really tell you when that changed. I can pin-point the time when I started to doubt my intelligence, no problem. I can give you many examples of when I started to wonder whether I was being annoying instead of funny. The moment I started looking in the mirror and finding what I saw lacking? I can’t say I remember it.
I can tell you for a fact it was after I’d started my social media accounts. I can also tell you that I’d look at celebrities and wish that my hair was that straight, or blonde, or that I had blue or green eyes instead of boring brown. I’d see people my age posting pictures of them looking ‘grown-up’ and I’d secretly think to myself that I still look like a twelve year old at age sixteen. I knew that it was superficial, and I felt bad for caring about that. Despite this, I developed a front of a sort. I avoided make-up as much as possible, except on special occasions like weddings or engagements. Up until this year, I didn’t really want my own set-for reference, I’m a senior btw, shoutout le dof3et el nakad. I knew that I have flaws, but I also convinced myself that everyone has them. I’d go to school with the classic high ponytail, and didn’t put a major effort into my appearance besides what was necessary. ‘It’s school, not a runway show,’ I’d insist, all in the name of practicality, of course. Sometimes I’d switch up hairstyles, maybe apply some blush when I was too pale, but that was mostly it. So much so, in fact that a bunch of my classmates didn’t recognize me when I showed up for prom. It would be purely comical, of course, if it wasn’t for the fact that it got me thinking: Am I really that bad?
I’m not sure what happened, but between the second term of last year and this year, I started looking in the mirror more. I started noticing things that are barely noticeable-unless you spend five minutes in front of the mirror looking for them. My laugh lines. I’m insecure about those, I even caught myself trying to smile less a few times, which stinks to be honest, because I smile a lot, and that’s one of my favorite things about myself. The exhaustion that comes with going to centres for deroos made my skin appear pale more often than not, and at least twice a week I’d hear the phrase ‘weshek asfar’ from a relative. I know they were concerned, but it was really getting old. It also made me more than a little self-conscious, so a few times I’d apply blush, maybe a bit of lipstick. To be clear, I’m not in any way saying that putting make-up on is bad, and I am most definitely not saying that I did this to impress anyone but myself. I just felt like it, so I did it. It’s relevant to this story, so I’m mentioning it.
Summer comes with many challenges, especially for people our age. Developing a summer body, or whatever, is what most people try to do after winter leaves. Up until a few years ago, I didn’t care much for that. Summer would be spent the same way every year. Spend a while in Cairo, watching movies and going out with my friends. Tab3an aktar 7aga kont ba7ebaha heya el masyaf. It was what I looked forward to every year-with the exceptions of graduation and prom this year, of course, look how that turned out (couldn’t help the nakad, sorry!). I’m not gonna talk too much about this, because I’m sure lots of people experienced the feeling of looking at others in swimsuit pictures and feeling too thin or too fat or whatever. I was no exception to this, which of course I vehemently hated because I never wanted to let those things have a power over me, but what can you do. I wound up succumbing to the pressure of our sadistic, idealistic society anyways. Can’t say I blame myself, but I am nevertheless proud to be able to understand that this isn’t something we should normalize. E7na gamdeen awi begad. We’re amazing, you guys. I’m proud of us. We all have our insecurities. I’m not saying we should get over them, because I’m not sure that’s completely possible-and let’s be honest, they kinda make us humble?-but we definitely shouldn’t let them control us. Again, we’re enough. Those standards of beauty shouldn’t apply to anyone, so we shouldn’t let them define us.
Alright, bye, keep being great 🙂