Power in Imperfection
In the fall 2017 semester, the web team from The Lexington Line came together to discuss the importance of loving and celebrating imperfections that can often be sources of insecurity.
Instead of fueling their insecurity, the team put together a photoshoot to promote empowerment, celebrating their uniqueness.
"Uniqueness. In an overall sense, it is a characteristic that makes someone different from everyone else," says Lex Line contributor Ally Gottesman. "In a world run by media and being told that perfection has a rigid definition, these women are here to share with us what it means to be unique in their own skin. And in the process, show us. Why shy away from who you are when you can empower others? Our 'imperfections' are what make us individuals."
Here are some of the web team's stories, discussing how they embrace their imperfections.
Sophia Werkenthin, '21: I've had Alopecia all my life. For those who don't know, it's an autoimmune disorder where your hair simply doesn't grow. In my senior year of high school, my hair started to grow back, but instead of letting it grow out like many would, I decided to just shave it. Having a full head of hair would just be more "weird" than remaining who I am, you know? Alopecia helped give me a sense of confidence I might never have gained otherwise.
Marina: I noticed the lump on my throat for the first time on Mother's Day 2014, and we weren't sure if it was cancerous or not. After a surgery to test if the lump was malignant, through which we thankfully learned that the lump was benign, I was left with half my thyroid and a scar on my throat. It took some getting used to (and wearing high-neck tops in warm weather), but as time passed, I genuinely stopped noticing it and learned to embrace it as something that makes me me.
Ally: When I was younger, I tried to hide my scar in every way possible. I'd pull my shirts up to my collar bones, I would never wear a two-piece bathing suit, and I'm pretty sure I tried covering the very top of it with makeup when I was in middle school. But since then, I've grown to love it. Because of my scar, I'm here today. I've never lived without it; it has been part of me my entire life. Why should I feel ashamed of it? Today, I flaunt it; I wear plunge-neck shirts to show it off, I tell everyone about it, because it's me, it's who I am. I am an individual. Nothing anyone can say will change that. I've turned "Why me?" into "It makes me who I am."
Nemesis: Many people can relate to the struggle with acne. I got an outbreak of Cystic Acne a couple of months ago and instantly thought I looked hideous. I despised looking at myself in the mirror, and I would constantly cake my face with makeup to hide it all. When the cystic acne did go away, I was left with scars and a major case of hyperpigmentation. Once again, I found myself trying to hide it all with makeup. Every time I would look at my face, I’d cry and wonder why I couldn’t just have clear skin and be beautiful. It took me a long time to learn that my acne and my scarring did not make me ugly. I’ve grown to love my face and the scars because they are what make me unique. I no longer spend almost an hour every day trying to hide what society sees as an imperfection. I am confident enough to walk around with a bare face. I want people to see that there is so much more to me than those red dots. By showing my scarring confidently, I hope to empower others who have acne scarring and hyperpigmentation. I want them to see that you can have acne and still be beautiful. Most importantly, I hope that those who don’t suffer from acne can stop seeing it as something ugly and start seeing it as something that is completely normal. We are beautiful, with and without our acne and scars.
Madison: I never really had a good idea of what the scar on my back looked like until after this photoshoot. Wow, it's so thin, just a simple little line. I barely think about it now. However, when I was thirteen diagnosed with Spinal Deformity Disease, it was a much bigger deal. My spine was so weird that a brace couldn't even fix it, the doctors explained. So surgery was the next strategic plan. During the first year or two after the procedure, I felt insecure about it, never wanting to wear anything backless. But eventually, I fell out of it when someone in high school called it "badass." Then that was that. I have been showing off my scar and back muscles ever since. I am a badass! Not just because of the scar, but because of me. Every now and then, I'll receive questions about it without knowing immediately what they're referring to. It's not that big of a deal unless I make it one. That's pretty empowering and celebratory if you ask me.
Anita: It all happened so fast. The moment you realize you have a condition that makes you different from others, there is usually time to process it. I found out I had scoliosis in 7th grade. I didn't process the situation until the day I went in for surgery, which was the summer going into 8th grade. Summer consisted of bed rest and trying to be the best self I could. As soon as I was able, I pushed myself to be as active as I could. This condition will not define me nor will it ever stop me. I embrace my scar and all it has to offer.
Vi: I have a different way of seeing life and things. Imagine color lenses on a Polaroid camera; that's how I see things. I look for the good in things instead of just seeing what it simply is. Sometimes it results in me giving too many chances, but it's not always roses and sunshine. It takes time to clear the clouds, strip it back to its bare bones and there is always something beautiful to live.
What are your imperfections, and how do you embrace them? Let us start the new year right by loving who we are inside and out. Stay tuned for more empowering conversations like this from The Lexington Line's Web Team.