you’re not ugly by margaret cho
You’re not ugly.
Not in the least, so don’t make those videos. Take them down if they are up. You don’t need people to tell you how beautiful you are on there. You don’t need to put yourself in the position to be judged that way. You are better than that, and you deserve the very best in life. If I could come through this screen and tell you and show you and bolster you and buoy you up and raise you high above all the bad sh*t you are going through, so that your spirit is free and you feel like you are flying, I would. I’d give anything if I could find a way to show you how lovely and perfect you are. If you’d believe me when I say that you are amazing, that you are the only you in the world, and that that makes you special and precious and holy, truly one of a kind, it would make me the happiest.
I thought I was so ugly for so long, and I wasted so much of my life on this dumb notion. I punished myself and avoided my reflection in mirrors and any windows. I would see myself reflected back, and I would look away, trying to pretend I didn’t exist, because I hated myself so much. I hated the way I looked, and it started early on. My father found a school project from first grade where I had written on a photo of myself that I looked like a flat-faced mummy. Firstly, how does a kid that young know what a flat-faced mummy is? Secondly, I cry at my own self-judgement, and thirdly, I was such a cute kid. Imagine my face, and then miniaturize it in your mind until the age of 6. I know, f***ing adorable.
One day I looked at myself and thought: Sh*t, this is it. This is what I look like. No amount of self-hatred is going to change my appearance. I am who I am. I am stuck with this, and I have to love it, or else I am going to die early from my own suffering and idea that I got shortchanged in the looks department.
Why go through life feeling cheated? It does nothing but make you bitter. I don’t want to be bitter. I want to be better. I want you to be better. I don’t want you to waste all those years like I did. I didn’t get to the point of feeling really good about myself until my 40s. That was pretty much 40 years of uninterrupted self-loathing that I had no need for. I never got to enjoy my youth; I was a gorgeous kid, and I missed it because I hated myself for no reason. I am kicking myself because I missed out on so much happiness because I had this idea that I was ugly that I couldn’t shake, partly because others — people who had their own issues with self-hatred and took it out on me — supported it. I don’t want you to miss out on a minute of your fantastic lives.
Let’s just say that I am right and you are beautiful, end of story. I have so much love for you, and I want your lives to be richer, happier, and better than mine. I want to make these mistakes so that you don’t have to, like on a group ride where the leader rides ahead and can alert you to the potholes and other dangers on the road. I am just pointing them out to you because I have been there. I know this place, this life, and I have some advice. I hope you take it.
This piece also appears on MargaretCho.com.