Hannah N. (NDT#23) (27 Posts)

With only one year to her name, Hannah made her first trip to Disneyland with her family. She has loved Disney and being in Disney Parks ever since. As a little girl, her fascination primarily manifested as Cinderella and Aladdin movie-watching marathons. These days her obsession expresses itself more in the way of collecting Disney Pins and Vinylmation. So while her heart no longer pounds at the sight of her favorite childhood princess, Jasmine, her Disney obsession is still as strong (if not stronger). As a teen, she avidly shares her love of Disney with others who always laugh when she explains her addiction. Fond memories are what keeps Hannah's Disney Spirit alive. She remembers walking down Disneyland Main Street and seeing Sleeping Beauty castle for the first time, and it is one of her favorite things to recall.

The other day while I was watching the news I saw a story highlighting a new trend that truly saddens me. I am referring to the trend of tween girls posting videos of themselves online asking if they are pretty or ugly. I went online, watched some of the videos, and read several of the comments posted under them. One nasty comment said “Yikes….. just had to stifle my vomit…” That was how I felt as I read the majority of the comments and watched some of the videos. I heard these girls saying things that I thought when I was younger, almost verbatim, about people calling them ugly and their insecure thoughts of themselves. Many of the comments were profane, mean, and downright hateful. One said that one of the girls was “a hideous grotesque demonic looking monstrosity.” However, some were even more disgusting; inappropriate to say to anyone of any age, but pedophilic due to the age of the girls. I found one comment that encouraged a girl to “just go ahead and end your life.” The more I watched the videos and read the comments, the more I knew that I needed to speak up.

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of issues with my appearance. I thought my freckles ruined my face. I thought my eyebrows were too thick. I hated my hair because it wasn’t curly, or red, or at least a lighter shade of blonde. I thought I was too short. I thought I was fat. I thought I was ugly. I desperately wished I could be “that pretty girl” instead of being “that smart girl”. I was insecure. I was vulnerable. I was bullied. Middle school was especially difficult. I felt like Cinderella’s third, much-nicer-though-still-ugly stepsister.

I think that everyone goes through something like this at some point or another in their life. Lately people have been saying the phrase “It gets better,” and I believe it applies here. Some people look at girls that struggle with their appearances and say, “Just get over it. Quit being so vain.” Really? If it was that easy we wouldn’t even be discussing this! What those people also don’t realize is that there is a distinct difference between vanity and confidence. These girls don’t want to look at themselves in a magic mirror all day. They want to feel comfortable and happy. I was blessed to have people in my life who loved me. It took a long time for me to feel confident and beautiful, to see myself as what I am, and what every girl and woman is.

I have a message for the girls and women out there. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a little girl, a tween, a teen, or a woman. There are things that you can do that no one else can. You are special. You have a beautiful heart.  You are loved. You are important. You are unique. Don’t let any wicked queen or evil stepmother tell you that you aren’t.  You are beautiful. You are a princess!

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