I got over thinking I was the most beautiful creature in the world when I was nine.
Before then, I would swish around with a towel over my head, pretending I had long, flowing hair instead of what could only be described as a feathered bowl cut. Every mirror I passed was my best friend.
Then I hit puberty.
Suddenly, I had my period, a booty like a blossoming J-Lo, and was forced to get a bra to reign in my nipples (first in my school, I think, for all of the above).
The period I could deal with, even though it was kinda yucky, and made it a bit weird to sit through "The Talk" in fifth grade when I'd already had "it" for a year.
Even the bra was kinda cool, since I was the first kid close to my age to need one. Ironically enough, that was the only time in my life that I had anything to brag about up there, seeing as I'm now classified as a "nearly A" cup.
The booty...was harsh. It's tough when other fifth graders in their pencil thin Jordache jeans taunt you for having a big ass. And that was fifth grade...middle school/junior high was brutal.
Baby had back back then. Really stood out amongst the prepubescent hordes, trust me.
I come by it honestly. The "Huber Ass" we call it, after the branch of the family whose genes contributed to my caboose. No amount of dieting, running, calisthenics, or "spot reducing" ever had any effect. And I'm not heavy for my height (yes, I'll share, 5'4" and in the 130's); I also have a very slim torso and waist, which almost makes it worse by really emphasizing by comparison.
I've grown up since I was nine, and maturity has brought acceptance. But for three decades, I hated myself for that one "glaring" physical trait. No amount of positive feedback could make me feel beautiful. I won't go into the media's and fashion industry's effect on body image in young girls and women, since I'm sure you know all the talking points.
At some point, I finally figured out beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder. But, cliche or not, inner beauty is what truly counts. After all, that's what I see when I look at the people I love. I don't judge them by society's standard, and at last I've realized that they (at least those whose opinion matters to me) aren't judging me that way either.
For the first time just this past year, someone said to me, "You're beautiful."
And I believed them.
"Thank you," I replied, instead of demurring.
And got a beautiful smile in return.