Me? Beautiful?

Originally appeared online in the teen series: Trending - October 09, 2018

From the time I was in second grade, I was bullied for my freckles and had a deep hatred of my skin. Other kids called my freckles ugly, and one boy told me that my face made him feel sick. Once I started middle school, the bullying morphed from finger-pointing and laughing to judgment and gossip. I was ashamed because I didn’t have a single friend who had as many freckles as I did, and I had never seen a celebrity or media influencer with anything less than clear skin—no freckles. 

When I was in sixth grade, I discovered makeup. Foundation and concealer were my favorite products because they completely masked my freckles. My mom had a rule that I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until high school. So each morning after she dropped me off at school, I ran to the bathroom, applied foundation, and went about my school day. When the bell rang at the end of sixth period, I removed the foundation and jumped in the car. Soon, I was completely relying on makeup to feel beautiful, and the more coverage I had, the more comfortable I felt.

A couple of years later, when my mom found out that I had been hiding my freckles, it broke her heart. She explained to me that my worth wasn’t based on other people’s opinions, and that I could love and appreciate my individuality. I had never thought of being “different” in a positive light, so I was taken aback. She reminded me of what I’d learned in the Christian Science Sunday School: that my identity is not a physical image in a mirror, but truly God’s perfect spiritual reflection, because God made each of us in His image. There is nothing ugly, gross, or despicable about God, because God is completely good. So there couldn’t be anything ugly, gross, or despicable about me, because I am the expression of God. 

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