Everyone goes through an ugly duckling stage. Everyone. If all you see are beautiful, flawless pictures I bet you anything the ugly-duckling pictures are 1. either burned or 2. hidden in a secret vault. No one escapes through this stage of life. But be thankful, no one could have had a worse ugly-duckling stage then me. Shy, braces, glasses, and awkward all stuffed into one body makes for a very ugly duckling.
That was me. And I can laugh about it now because I am now a swan . . . kind of. I'm still in the transitioning stage.
However there is a reason why everyone goes through this process. It's called: finding who you are. Just as your physical self takes time to transform so does your inner-self. It's not easy, trust me. If you don't go back and look at that picture above. I understand. I was the ugliest duckling of them all and I was trying to find myself at the same time. My self esteem was negative infinity. It was a hard time. But like all trials they shape us to be who we are.
My physical appearance was easy to fix. I got my braces off. Got contacts, however sometimes I still wear glasses due to my bat-eyes but that is okay because glasses are attributed to nerds and I am proud to be one :). I learned to deal with evil zits and pimples. Then I learned how to put on makeup but over time gained a confidence to embrace my natural self. Oh don't be kidding I still use makeup time to time. I also learned how to dress, coming out of the tom-boy phase.
My inner self was not so easy.
My soul I saw was covered with zits and pimples. My hair was greasy and flakes were flying off. My teeth not as straight as they were now. My skin dry and peeling. Yeah I basically described a cross between a zombie . . . and somewhat human. That was my soul. It was ugly in the sense that I hated myself. I made myself look that way inside. And what was on the inside reflected out so I did not like my face, body, and everything else.
Then one day I decided to change. Nope, just kidding I didn't just decide one day. People had to tell me I was okay the way I was. It took forever. As in two years, my freshman and sophomore year. As I started to find the good and not the bad. The more I started to love myself. I saw that I was kind to other people. I have a shy side but once someone gets to know me they would know that I love to talk. I make spelling mistakes everyday, and it doesn't, nor will it, ever change. I'm a potter nerd and have fetish for notebooks. I love the smell of rain and vanilla and I am proud of being Hmong . . . half-Hmong and half-white. I still believe in happily ever after and I listen to every single genre of music (except for rap because rap is crap, don't worry I listen to like two rap songs). There is so much more but that would take forever. I know who I am and that won't ever change.
I have my dis-funtional family, weirdo friends, and the gospel, which I know to be true, to thank. They all helped me find myself. They didn't tell me who to be. They told me who I already was and I developed it. I love myself, squinty, baggy eyes, cheesy smile and all.
So are you an ugly-duckling or a swan? I'll tell you now that you are a swan (except you middle-schoolers, you are still developing. sorry but wait until high school . . . maybe . . . just kidding, this only applies to the boys . . . just kidding again. you know who you are). Embrace your inner-swan. Whether you have red feathers or purple. You are a beautiful swan.
the hopeful half-asian,
Sarah E. Torgerson
P.S. for you men out there who are too manly for the swan concept. You can be the eagle . . . or some other bird. you can be the hulk for all I care, just realize you are freaking amazing as well :)