On Selfies and Social Anxiety

This post is brought to you by U By Kotex.

I come from a family of the most attractive people. I'm serious!

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.


  1. Oh girl this post was all too real for me. I've struggled with insecurities based on what others have said about me for YEARS. It's hard to let go of for sure. I love that you're facing your fears (literally) and forcing yourself to empower your own security.

  2. It breaks my heart to hear how much you were hurt over the years, and I just want to reach over through the computer and give you big *hugs*. You are beautiful gurlie inside and out, and I love that you are ready to live and get out there. Get it girl! <3

    Green Fashionista

  3. Oh girl, you are beautiful both inside and out and you don't need someone else to tell you that! Sometimes it's hard being a blogger and putting yourself so out there for people to critique but I'm so glad you're feeling free of your social anxiety now <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  4. Thanks for sharing. I was always picked on in school and am an introvert myself but blogging sure has boosted my confidence. I love U by Kotex (post coming in a few hours).
    Rachel xo
    Garay Treasures

  5. You go, girl! As someone said above, it is heart-breaking that you had to go through all that, Elle. We've all moments like that as girls, and people don't realize how they scar you. The key is to finally do realize that what other people think mean nothing as long as we are true to ourselves. (((hugs)))

  6. You are beautiful inside and out and so strong! Keep being you!

    Doused In Pink

  7. Elle, you are such an inspiration! I love you authenticity and willingness to be real with your readers. As an "older" blogger I often feel insecure about posting videos and images of myself. You post this morning has really inspired me, thank you so much for sharing!!

  8. You are beautiful! You are strong! You are brave! You are an inspiration. Cheers to not letting the meanies get you down! <3

  9. I'm so happy for you! Your story is so inspiring. It mirrors my own journey from shy introvert to functioning adult. BTW, I've always thought you were very pretty.

  10. It never occurred to me that someone could refer to you as ugly, to me your pictures look beautiful (yes, even the one from your weekend away, wearing the strange hat).
    I debated quite a long time whether or not to start a beauty blog, because I was afarid of the judgment I would get, but the I thought: I will continue to look the way I do, if people like it or not, so why care? It is a beauty blog, I write about makeup, I´ll show it on my face.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  11. This is so great dear :) Always be you and try not to worry what other people think!


  12. In what universe are you unattractive Elle... you are beautiful... I do think beauty comes from within and I see that from you in your writings about you and your family...

    I used to think I was ugly and now I know better, I am much more pretty than I ever gave myself credit and frankly who cares what other people think, I agree they are trolls and they need to get a life... I am so glad you know your worth now xox

    I teach my girls the same thing, I tell they are beautiful daily and that they need to own it xox

  13. I think there are many who resonates with you on this matter, Elle and I am so happy that you took all the negatives over the years and turned it into something positive. You're a beautiful person inside out and your readers love you to bits!

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  14. It surprised me to read that you tried to hide at first. You are such a beautiful person on the inside and outside that I cant even imagine you having any negative feelings, but I get it. We all tend to be self conscious about things. You just seem like such a natural in your videos, it is even more impressive that you struggled with it at first. Sending you hugs and nothing but positive thoughts, girl! You are the best!

  15. I think everyone is very hard on their self and bullies feel better about them self by making fun of someone else. I'm glad that you have built up your confidence over time. Everyone is beautiful in their own unique way.

  16. This is such a beautifully honest post - thanks for sharing. It does all start within us...and we all are hard on ourselves.

  17. I think we all have had insecurities, I know that I have in the past and still do in some ways. You're gorgeous, and of course your whole family is as well. Happy Monday lovely. <3 xx/Madison
    October Moments

  18. Such a great post! And I know you don't need to hear it from me, but you are beautiful inside and out! :))

  19. I am the same way. I have social anxiety too and I never feel pretty enough, smart enough, etc. I've come a long way, and still have a ways to go, but I'm making progress in not letting others opinions matter so much. One of the main reasons I love your blog is because I relate to you in so many ways. Keep on!

  20. Oh Elle! You at beautiful and I don't see any bit of ugly on you! When I was growing up I was very shy, and always felt so un pretty. To this day I'm a shy, have some social anxiety and get very self conscious more times that I'd like to admit. You are right on thr fact that confidence and feeling beautiful has to come from within our self and not from compliments of others. Although it's always nice to hear a compliment from someone!

  21. Girl you are beautiful inside and out! Beauty is not just the physical looks but also on the inside and you are one of the nicest bloggers I know. I think we all at one time feel insecure, but we need to realize we are all beautiful :)

    liz @ sundays with sophie

  22. It's awful to suffer from any type of anxiety. I have a bit of social anxiety as well and hate it. It's so hard to overcome sometimes. You are so beautiful inside and out, just try to remember that!


    Whitney & Blaire

    Peaches In A Pod

  23. Fantastic post, it's great to see someone touch upon issues like these. I suffer from anxiety too and hate how I look. I hope you feel better these days. Just FYI you have the most gorgeous eyes :)

    Anything & Everything | Bloglovin'

  24. Oh honey, I'm so sorry that you have had to face all of this. And really and truly - I do think you're pretty. I don't understand why anyone would say otherwise! Haters gonna hate. I'm glad you are having your little moments of victory. :) And on a practical note: I'm so glad that you post pictures of yourself! It makes it so much easier to see colors of make up!

  25. "Quiet people hear things that most people don't."

    This is the best and truest quote ever. Seriously. I'm very quiet, introverted, and often have social anxiety too. I so agree!

    Also, you are beautiful! It's true, we can't rely on others' opinions to feel good about ourselves. I know that, but reading this post it seemed groundbreaking. I think I needed the reminder, so thank you for that.

  26. First of all, I think you are beautiful! But, this post is definitely something that hits home for me. I especially love this: Quiet people hear things that most people don't. <-- yes. very much so. I get bullied every day at work (I'm 30 and the one of the youngest people at my work, so you can imagine how weird it is to still get bullied like I'm in high school) and it's hard to really truly be myself. I know I'm eccentric and have a unique style, but that shouldn't be a reason for people to bully me into not wanting to be myself. Lately, I've been letting their words hurt less and less. I'm starting to do things for me and me alone. :)

  27. I am so proud of you for growing out of your insecurities! Way to go! And, seriously... the teen years are so hard. I am glad you have learned to love yourself and you are beautiful!! I am totally video shy and I need to break out of my shell and try it on my blog. Kotex are great products!


  28. it might be 'obvious' but i seriously think we all go through this, and i hate that we all have to take 20+ years to figure it out, you know? we shouldn't rely on other people's opinions, good or bad, but we all do. you are not ugly - i hope you know that. but i also hope you know that people say mean things no matter what. i don't think i'm attractive or pretty, but i've been told i am by some people (mainly my husband lol), but i've been told my way more that i'm ugly / big nose / fat / big ears etc. i let people's words put me in hospital, and it screwed me up for 10 years or so. screw that. life is too damn short to listen to petty, rude people. you are amazing, never forget it.

  29. I need to do more blog things too. But I'm such an introvert.

    You're beautiful! I love when you post photos of yourself. I should probably do it more often but most of the time my hair is a total mess.

  30. You're gorgeous! I don't know why anyone would say otherwise and congrats on overcoming the anxiety and fear.

  31. You go girl! Thanks for sharing this personal story. You are such a beautiful woman! :)


  32. You are gorgeous! So many women have the same feelings. So great that you have overcome them!


  33. You hardly have a big nose. Anyone who thinks you do is a complete idiot. I think we all had stages of horribly awkwardness that we eventually grew way out of, but a part of our mind holds onto it. I was teased about my weight, my acne, my legs being so thin even though I was heavy, you name it. I think when we are the one's being teased, we forget that there are so many other kids also being teased. We felt alone, but we totally weren't. Kids are ruthless, good people grow from their awkward preteen years. I think pushing yourself to be uncomfortable is the only way to truly gain self confidence. I'm so happy for you Elle. Look how far you've come! You are definitely a role model for young girls! (:

  34. I love that you have turned your insecurities into confidence and created a silver lining. Getting over that is a huge victory. You are gorgeous inside and out!

  35. You are beautiful and this post is really phenomenal. Thank you for sharing!

  36. ELLE!!!!! This post is empowering -- YOU are empowering. Thank you!! I've felt the exact same way over the years. Growing up, my disability always seemed to get in the way of guys' being able to see the real me. I couldn't help but get down on myself about it sometimes, but over the years, tried to shed those insecurities. It's not easy, like you said, but it's really freeing when you get to a place of contentment!! xoxo

  37. You a beautiful person inside and out. I hope you have a great week.


  38. I love your blog and youtube, and you are very truthful about products you review. I know how hard it is for your self esteem when you hear people talk behind your back. I suffer from Anxiety and OCD believe it's hard but you have to push yourself. Even if it is a hard day you go about what makes you happy not anyone else.

    Katie |http://ktmcgworld102.blogspot.ca

  39. Girl, you are gorgeous in every single way and I am shocked anyone would say anything otherwise. I love that you are putting this challenge (which so many of us face!) out there. Thank you for being honest and for teaming up with brands such as this to bring awareness. You are beautiful! XO


  40. This was lovely to read Elle. I know we can all be our own worst critics sometimes and I hate that people said mean things to you but you are BEAUTIFUL! Inside and out. I can relate though. People have always made fun of my nose. I cried for years begging my parents for surgery. But now I am okay. One time I felt empowered was when I was sewing/designing clothes for a fashion show right out of High School. The other designers were using models to walk the runway, but I decided to be my own model. I was the shortest and definitely not as pretty, but I got to walk the catwalk and feel awesome for a few short seconds. I remember how I overcame my fear that night whenever I start to feel self conscious.

  41. I think putting yourself out there, to any type of public, requires for a person to have thick skin. And you also have to be confident in who you are. I know for me, I haven't showed my face on my blog yet and I've been blogging for 5 years now. I decided not to, until lately, because I wanted the focus to be more on my writing then what I looked like. I think society today places too much emphasis on it. I just loved reading this Elle.

    Kia / KTS

  42. Girl you are so beautiful and this post is amazing!!

  43. that was a beautiful post.. and you are absolutely right, you do not need anyone else approval or likes. You are a strong, independent woman and I thank you for sharing your message of empowerment.

  44. The post is as beautiful as you are!! xxx
    Instagram: @travelera.es

  45. This post is so open and honest and I feel the same way about my looks at times. Am I ugly? Is my nose too big? Is my face too wide? I thought I needed approval from others to feel good, but I realized that I don't. Yes, it's definitely nice to get compliments, but for the most part I like how I look and, Elle, you should too. I think you're beautiful! You seriously have the most amazing eyes, flawless skin, and amazing hair!!

  46. Love your honesty.... but girl, I'm glad your finding your beautiful inner self to match yojr gorgeous outter self.

  47. You are an inspiration! No one should be ashamed of their face and especially not you. You are beautiful :)

  48. Girl, you are beautiful!! Don't ever doubt that!

  49. great post

    Posts online about Amalfi, Amsterdam, Rio...

  50. Omg, you are not ugly! Geez, some people.. I wasn't the prettiest either, I had vampire teeth and could not afford braces, oh the joy.. however, I did not get picked at, I don't remember having bad experiences with kids at that time. But you are far from being ugly, don't worry and whatever people said or say, their business. They should know better!

  51. girl i love you and your pretty face. i always have. i still get excited in my belly when i see you like my instagram photos or leave comments on my blog posts bc im like OMG shes like my idol. :)
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  52. I definitely feel you are gorgeous just like your mom, sisters and grandma. You are a beautiful soul too. I am glad you let yourself free and not worry about your beauty, anymore.

  53. Dear Elle, I am very glad that you feel empowered now! Cause you are sweet and gorgeous too! I told you before, what is a nose? Or to be short? Just characteristics! Can we walk or breathe well? Yes! We are not aiming to be basketball players. Or top models. We are short and this is not a flaw, it's a characteristic, that society imposes as flaw. And if a cup of coffee gets more likes than a selfie, let it be. Many people are superficial. If they don't like you or us or anybody, it's their problem, not ours. I am glad that you saw it. You are amazing the way you are! Believe in that!

  54. Its so inspiring to see all that you have overcome and how far you have come. You are so beautiful inside and outside. Thank you for sharing and being honest and open!

  55. I am so glad you finally feel free! I think you are a beautiful, inspiring woman, but like you said, it's really our own empowerment and belief in ourselves that makes all the difference. I feel empowered when I exercise and challenge myself to go beyond my physical and mental limitations.

  56. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm very petite, and lots of other women seem to have a lot to say about it. After quite some time, I have noticed that it is never about me..at all. It always tall women that are very insecure with their own stature and bodies.

  57. Love Love Love this post! Your story reminds me of a quote: "But what if I fall, oh but my darling what if you fly?" Thank you for sharing your story and for showing that trying new things are worth it and that wonderful things can come from it:)

  58. I remember a similar post you wrote a few years back about people calling you ugly, and I still can't believe that! I think you are gorgeous! Good for you, continuing to post selfies. I've noticed you're posting many more AND talking more about yourself, and it inspires me to share more pictures of myself instead of just my babies. :) I was just looking at my wedding pictures and remembering how crooked my teeth were before braces and what people said to me -- and now I feel so much more confident in myself! It's not just about the braces, it's about knowing what looks good on me, smiling and putting on a happy face. I love this post (and you) so much! Keep posting those selfies. :)


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