This post is brought to you by U By Kotex.
My Mama is gorgeous. My sisters are stunning. My Grandmother still turns heads at 76. My late Daddy and his brothers were the best looking guys in town. And so on.
I was a cute kid and all, but then puberty happened. My nose grew. I stayed short. ;) I had some unfortunate big bangs and even worse school pictures. I began to withdraw, preferring to stay home and read or watch tv.
I noticed that boys didn't notice me. If they did, they would say hurtful things behind my back about my nose. My face.
Quiet people hear things that most people don't.
I heard it all. Rocket Nose. She's So Ugly. She's Gross.
Long story short, this is the way I've operated most of my life. People still occasionally say hurtful things in my presence or from behind a computer screen. I'm extremely introverted and full of social anxiety. I will talk for days if we are close, but in public, I usually just observe.
When I started my blog 5 years ago, I never once intended my face to be on there. Partly because I didn't think anyone would take beauty advice from an ugly girl. And partly because I didn't think I could handle the criticism from online trolls.
One day a reader called me out on it, that I never show my face. I decided the gig was up and she was right. I did it. I slowly began to build confidence.
It got easier. I knew had to do it.
I started a Youtube channel. I would take out my contacts and have the mirror covered so I couldn't see my face. I would break out in hives and vomit from nerves.
It got easier. I knew I had to do it.
I had some mean comments, but each time it didn't hurt as much. I realized it was about them, not me.
I started going to blog events. Press events. I did other things.
It got easier.
After some time on Instagram, I posted a pic of myself. Being a beauty blogger means I have to show my face to display the makeup I use. It gives readers the notion that there is an actual person there.
I waited for "likes" and was disappointed that I didn't get them.
One day it hit me--I was relying on others to make me feel good about myself.
The only way I was going to ever feel better about myself, my looks, was from my own empowerment.
Such an obvious, common sense statement, right? But sometimes the easiest things are the hardest to see.
So when I post a selfie, it's not that I'm full of myself or conceited. I see it as a victory. It's a victory over every person who ever thought I was ugly. A victory over those who think I'm not good enough or worthy of my successes.
It's a victory over my mind. It's empowerment.
I love it when companies like U by Kotex support women who empower. They make sure that women are equipped with the right tools to succeed. By sharing our stories, we help women, showing that empowerment and confidence is something that only comes from within.
U by Kotex packs with bonus packs (pictured) are available in Walmart stores nationwide (score!), making them a perfect addition to even the smallest of clutches.
And while I will never understand why a picture of my coffee cup will get double the "likes" as a picture of me, I am proud of how far I've come. People can find me not attractive, but they can do nothing to shake my confidence in my knowledge of beauty products and techniques.
I feel almost free from the clutches of social anxiety that crippled my mind for so many years. I'm ready to live and get out there.
I finally feel free.
Please share your story of a time you felt empowered in the comments.