I see you. I see how uncomfortable you get every time someone looks at the burns on your skin. I see how you always try to hide the stretch marks on your body. I see how you wear makeup every day to cover up your vitiligo patches and how much you don’t want anyone to see your moles or your scars or your acne. I see how every day you keep on hiding them.
I see how you always try to keep your mouth closed when you smile because you’re uncomfortable when your teeth show. Or how you always try to wear darker clothes that hide the shape of your body because you don’t want people to notice how curvy you are.
I have grown up seeing women always trying to hide themselves. I have grown up seeing women scared of the mere idea of being flawed in any possible way, and how the world puts so much pressure on women to always strive to look perfect.
I wish I would have grown up seeing more women in front of me that didn’t hide themselves so I wouldn’t feel like I had to, too. I wish I would have seen more women embracing their flaws so I would also learn to embrace mine.
I have grown up seeing women even pointing out each other’s flaws like it’s something to be disgusted about. I wish I would have seen more women empowering each other and teaching each other how to accept themselves more instead of tearing each other down.
I wish I could have known earlier that it’s okay to be flawed, that we are all so perfectly imperfect.
I realized growing up that it wasn’t just about hiding physical flaws or imperfections; it’s beyond that. I realized that women hide their independence or their success because they don’t want to seem intimidating to others. I have seen women hiding their own accomplishments because they are scared of the idea of outshining their partners. Women even hide their sexual assaults because they are scared of how the world would look at them, or worse, that it might actually blame them, even though they are the victims in the story.
I understood while growing up that being a woman is not easy. I understood that I could go ahead and try to act like I have it all together all the time or I could go ahead and be the woman I truly am, the one who embraces her flaws. The one who is not scared to be imperfect. The one who is not scared to show her own success. The one who is not scared to tell her story out loud and knows that there is no shame in telling her story.
I wish I would have known that earlier. I wish I would have known that it’s okay to accept myself just the way I am, and that by doing so, I could teach others how to accept me just the way I am and how to even accept themselves too.
So, this is the kind of woman I aim to be. The woman that can inspire other women and girls to not hide themselves. That’s the kind of woman I wish we could all be. The one that inspires others by just being completely and utterly herself, without being afraid to show it to the world. That’s the kind of woman I wish I would have seen growing up.