Friday night I attended Me Too Monologues, a performance where Duke students anonymously submit monologues that other students then perform. I can’t help but write a blog post about that experience.
Since I am constantly preaching vulnerability, honesty, and emotional depth, Me Too Monologues was perfect for me. It was a room full of intelligent people voicing their opinion about relevant topics that eat away our confidence every day.
I was particularly moved by the number of monologues that involved body image. So many students on this campus struggle to be confident with who they are. Which absolutely amazes me because I look around and see nothing but phenomenal people. I’ve realized from late night conversations (check out my post Late Night Talks), that even some of the people who I truly believe could not be any more beautiful feel completely ugly.
And so every time a monologue mentioned body image, I thought: Me too.
So if all of these people can talk about their insecurities, their body image issues, then why not me, too?
So Let me tell you about Wednesday night.
Wednesday night I cried into my best friend’s arms.
Wednesday night I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry.
Wednesday night I told my best friend that this semester I’ve felt ugly more times than I’ve felt pretty, felt fat more times than I’ve felt skinny, unworthy more times than I’ve felt worthy, and lost more times than I’ve felt found.
I told her how I’ve started working out not for half marathon training but to feel more confident in crop tops at mixers. I told her how I see the perfect bodies of people in Brodie and feel self conscious the entire time. I told her how I was trying so hard to be healthy, but had nothing to show for it. And I told her how pathetic I felt to be telling her all of this.
And you know what she did? She hugged me. She rubbed my back and gave me a massage, she wiped my tears and let me cry. And she said the most telling thing of all, “I want to tell you you’re beautiful, that you’re loved, that you’re worth more than you think, but I know that nothing I say will change how you feel. Because the only person that can change how you feel is you.”
And she couldn’t be more right.
No matter how many times people tell you you’re beautiful, you won’t believe them.
No matter how many times people tell you you’re accomplished, you won’t believe them.
No matter how many times people tell you you’re enough, you won’t believe them.
You won’t believe them because it’s someone else. You won’t believe them because it’s not exactly what you want to hear. You won’t believe them because no matter how many times you search for exactly what you want to hear and see, you won’t find it.
And that’s why you have to believe it yourself.
I don’t know how to teach you to believe it yourself. Obviously, I struggle with that, too.
But I can recall specific times last semester and this semester when I felt truly beautiful, truly loved, and truly enough, and it wasn’t because someone else told me. It was because I chose to feel that way. I surrounded myself with people that uplift me, I put myself in an environment where I felt comfortable, and I let my wall down and did me.
And in those moments I felt truly alive. I felt content.
So let me tell you about Thursday morning.
Thursday morning I chose to feel beautiful. And it felt fulfilling, exciting, and new.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. By Thursday night it had worn off. I was back at Brodie feeling worthless.
But that night, I sunk back into my pillow and tried to remember how exactly I felt that morning. And I wrote it down.
And I look back at it.
I look back at it when I’m trying to find something to wear to a mixer, when I feel judged by my appearance or my outfit, or when I’m just feeling low in general. And I remind myself that just like I chose to feel beautiful Thursday morning, I can choose to feel beautiful right now.
What would our campus be like if we all chose to feel beautiful? If we stopped trying to be beautiful and just were. If we just let the people slip out of our life that didn’t make us feel beautiful, and allowed our hearts to let in a few more people that do make us feel beautiful.
So, You All That Wrote The Me Too Monologues About Body Image, and You Who Doesn’t Feel Beautiful Right Now: Me too.
But right now I’m choosing to feel beautiful. How about you, too?