I don’t know if anyone else out there considers themselves a slouchee—sits like a melting pile of ice cream—but I do.
And it’s hard to sit up straight. It’s hard to remind myself to sit up, roll my shoulders back, straighten the spine. My mother’s voice has found a second home in my mind: “Sit up, Kerry!” And still, to my twenty-second year, I slouch.
I’m not perfect, and I will never claim to be. I sit funny when I’m feeling insecure, I won’t speak if I’m in an uncomfortable social situation, and I’ve suffered through probably one of the worst cases of low self-esteem on the planet. Yada, yada, yada. You’ve heard it all before. Well, me too. And that’s the thing; a low level of self-confidence is all too common these days. I’ve come across it in friends, shared the likes of most hated body parts with past roommates (“My nail beds SUCK!”), and seen some tragic stories in the media. I feel like most young girls and women walk around with one thing on their mind: being beautiful. After all, who hasn’t stared at the ads in Vogue and pictured their face atop an impossibly skinny high fashion model or wished for the perfect hair/teeth/skin combination that lingers around what seems to be EVERY corner? That exhausting desire for physical perfection is all over the place, splattered so heavily across our country that it makes me feel like there’s some kind of subliminal proviso in the Constitution that I’ve missed.
Somewhere along the line, we teach our daughters to strive for unmatched beauty, and it does not matter whether we do this intentionally or not; it just happens. The media is like a hungry, red-eyed wolf when it comes to devouring the confidence of women, especially those who, like me, have a difficult time holding on to what little self-esteem they have. Why are we letting ourselves be told how to look and act by the people who define themselves only by how they look? (Paris Hilton, anyone?) Shouldn’t we look up to those who let their personalities and imperfections shine? We are women; we are more than what the media wants us to be. Perhaps sometimes we hide behind our mascara eyelashes and painted lips, or we might tiptoe in our wedges and slouch in our dresses, but there is something inside of us that we need to latch on to: s o u l.
I am calling all women—small, tall, sure or unsure, make-up or no make-up—to take what is inside of you and be comfortable with your outside, let your hair down and use it as your super-hero cape, instead of a security blanket. Take your slouching shoulders and lift yourself up, head towards the sky, and know, just know, that you can soar.
Know that it is the looks of your soul that truly matters.