I Was Beautiful

Words by Olivia Tait

Art by Mon Ouk


I find myself scrolling Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok far too often. There, I find cringy content, tastefully humorous videos, politically correct educational content that is way too deep for my 3am thoughts, and not-so-sexy thirst traps of men twice my age.  And, when I click on the comment section of most social media content, I am greeted with comments  which focus on the physical features of the content creators. Beautiful. Hot. Ugly. Sexy. Glow down. Glow up. The list goes on and on until the post becomes stripped of its purpose, and watered down to a relevance based on looks. 


I find it really difficult to grasp the concept of a glow up these days. But, if we were to step back into my 18 year old self’s shoes, she would be saying: “Oh I’m so ready to have a glow up when I’m 21. I’ll be gorgeous.”  However, now at 21, I’m not so sure. 


The other day I found myself scrolling through my photos on the photo app, Facebook albums and Snapchat memories with a friend. And surprise, surprise, I was shocked. Those photos of me at 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 were beautiful. At the time I would nitpick apart every single part of my body. My nose was too big, my lips too small, my waist not small enough, my stomach too big, my thighs too big, my smile wonky and weird. I WAS BEAUTIFUL and yet, I didn’t feel it. Somehow, I still find myself making those same comments about myself today, but looking at myself back then, I now know she was never those things, so why can’t I give my present self the same courtesy? 


The pain and hurt that society’s expectations have put on us and our own self image is beyond damaging. Societal expectations are constantly changing. A bigger butt, bigger boobs, smaller waist are all the rage one day  then smaller boobs, smaller butt, smaller everything is all the rage the next. It doesn’t stop there. One day, straight hair is boring, the next day straight hair is the new cool.  They once said big lips are attractive and now they are telling young women to dissolve that lip filler. 


How are women, how is ANYONE expected to keep up with these societal expectations of appearance? Am I perpetuating this cycle? I just hope one day I can look at myself and understand that I AM beautiful as I am, but today isn’t that day. Maybe tomorrow…


Olivia Tait

The author Olivia Tait

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