Dear little sister,
Those freckles that lay upon your nose…do you see? Those are angels’ kisses, signs of love’s protection and security. And those careless red curls? The ones that seem to have a mind of their own as they toss in the breeze? Those show your vibrancy, your vitality, your fun-loving nature, some of the traits that make you you. As the years pass and the times go I have witnessed your transformation as the annoying little sister to the sophisticated young woman you are today, always being characterized by those freckles and those red curls. But lately, it seems as if your spirit has been stolen from you. The light behind your eyes is lost and the spark of your smile is no longer present. The look you give to your reflection in the mirror can kill, especially as your hands roam over your stomach and face. You hate what looks back at you with each judgment passed. You try to erase who you are by placing cover-up over the bridge of your nose and straightening the curl out of your hair. And the tears that streak your face as you beg to God, and plead to me, only fall heavier than the night before. No longer are you Chloe, but a distant self, one whose focus is on advertisements, boys, and attention.
I understand where you are coming from, I truly do. I once was you. Struggling to find beauty in what seemed to be an empty, vacant vessel. Never thinking I would surmount to anything when friends found boyfriends or when peers gained popularity. It does not seem fair that they are the ones who are blessed as you ache for such recognition. But Chloe, you are far more beautiful than you realize. You can offer so much to this world, and you do not even see it. It kills my own spirit whenever I see you goggle over a Victoria Secrets model and then compare your body to hers’. Because you are more than just a pretty face, but a girl who has a sea of opportunity to show yourself the worth you always had.
Men epitomize lust, want, desire in the darkest way possible. Their sexual beasts control their thoughts and actions without a second notion, especially among boys in their early to late teens, the same age as you. So as they associate themselves with young girls, like yourself, they begin to use their wit and charm. It will seem like they care, or they are interested, or they believe you are beautiful – which may all be true – but always consider the facts. Human beings are controlled by our primitive needs of hunger, safety, and sex. Despite what it may appear, they are continually driven by their sex drive. And what girl would want to be chosen out of a selection of libido?
Girls dream about the fanatical mystery of finding Prince Charming, and we become gullible by doing so. Not realizing love and lust are two separate entities. Especially once we reach that age where dating is acceptable, girls trust the partners to guide them through the transition. They do not take their love lives into their own hands, thinking the males in the relationship are all-knowing and experienced. But in reality, boys do not know right from wrong, good from bad concerning the treatment of young women. So they reach out to social medias to train them, groomed to be “womanizers”, “players”, and “hunks”. Nonetheless, women flock to these animals believing it is okay, it is alright to be treated like a piece of meat. Why is that? Is it the lack of parental supervision in their child’s life? Or is it the absence of teaching chivalry and class among both sexes as they grow older?
Do not base your worth or your value on the thoughts of the boys in your life. They are young and immature as they go through each interaction with an egotistical attitude, thinking they have you wrapped around their finger. Always remember the best way of navigating through men is taking each on its own merit. There are boys who fit the description of narcissistic flirts. And there are boys who value a mind and a soul in a woman. They are rare in species, but once you meet the right one, you will not want to let go. Because the one you want to impress is the boy you want to marry, start a family with, and grow old together.
Keep in mind that the chances of finding your Prince Charming in high school are fairly rare. Know when that day comes, whether it be in five or ten years, to be yourself. Do not try to be someone you are not. You want the man of your dreams to embody sophistication, class, heart, intelligence, kindness. Not to have pants around his ankles and a tattoo on his forehead. Good guys are out there in the world; they are somewhere. But at sixteen, focus on your life and who you wish to be. Do not search for “him”, because he will be placed in your life when you least expect it. And when that time comes, you will know that he is the one.
Remember that the man in your life will also love the way you look like without makeup, thinking you are the most beautiful woman. Which will only boost your self-confidence and the way you view yourself. But more importantly, you should be comfortable and proud of the features upon your face and the shape of your body, without the confirmation of any man. You were made in the image of God, but with a unique set of looks that no one else shares. The birth mark on your leg, the unruly eyebrows upon your face, the curves near your hips were given with you in mind. The fashion industry, television, and magazines have created a false sense of beauty that is unreachable for girls of different nationalities and family traits. ‘Beautiful’ women must be a size 0, 5’11”, no curves, long hair, with high cheekbones in the eyes of the media. Then what happens with the shorties, the curvacious, the pixie cuts? They are considered ugly or forbidden in association with such an industry. But those are the “unconventional” beauties that walk the streets, far from the requirements of high fashion. And those are the ones all women should aspire to be. They are different, unique, and gorgeous in their own way. The confidence in the looks they were born with is what makes them unbelievably beautiful in my eyes. They are the ones who have not gotten breast augmentations, nose configurations, or any plastic surgery of any kind. They are the ones who are proud to show off a thicker brow, a darker skin color, or a pair of chubby cheeks.
The industry does not depict the women of the world, since it is not a real representation of diversity’s beauty. So why relate your looks back to ones that are manufactured and photo-shopped with each advertisement? You are beautiful in your own right and your own way. There is no need to feel inferior when looking at billboards of half-naked women, because you are the one who is beautiful with the clothes on and the makeup off. Remind yourself of the beauty you see when going to the grocery store or filling up your tank, because these are the women we all need to look up to.
While looks influence our perception of ourselves, we should not base our worth in such a timely sanction. Our beauty is fleeting with age, but our mind is continually absorbing information and continually growing in knowledge. So I would like you to open your heart and mind to the power of literature. Reading a piece of writing can enlighten one’s ideologies, truths, and misconceptions. It reveals another world where people can delve into vast amounts of issues that people have faced for centuries, the battle between evil and good, black and white, wrong and right. Writers, such as Naomi Wolf in “The Beauty Myth”, have even used their works to convey the media’s toxicity upon young girls of this generation. There are books, stories, novellas, and articles that are easily identifiable in a world where, at one point or another, feel completely misunderstood.
Education, as a whole, is a chance to mature through inquiries and reasoning which is applicable with whatever path you wish to take. But a bachelor’s degree, an esteemed educational route, can provide a plethora of career opportunities which brings about a sense of stability, and a feeling of intellect. A person should feel much more secure in their mind because at the end of the day, you only have yourself. The confidence in your knowledge and experiences you have gained is what makes up who you are. Looks do not constitute a person. A boyfriend does not constitute a person. Only intelligence and personality have the power and the order to make up the best person you can possibly be.
As you go about your day getting ready in front of a mirror, stare and see the beauty in its reflection. You are gorgeous with the unruly eyebrows, the freckle-specked face, and the crazy, long red curls. Throw away the cover-up, throw away the straightening iron, throw away the scale, and be comfortable as who you were born to be – a confident, enthusiastic, social butterfly who will prosper wherever you may go. Just remember as you grow older, the only way you will thrive is by valuing education and valuing yourself. Because you were born to be loved, no matter the circumstances. I will always be there for you.
– Your big sister