Be comfortable in own skin, looks don’t matter

Columnist and Columnist

Many of us fight hard to improve our appearance. Some of us do this to win the approval of others. Some of us do this out of dissatisfaction with our natural appearance.

However, I believe if we learn to be comfortable with our appearance, it will be much easier to look beyond appearance in others.

Appearance is a vain way to see people anyway. You could change your wardrobe, for example, but true friends will examine you for your character and personality.

Several years ago I had a desire to alter my appearance. My story might weird you out, but bear with me, the story has a purpose.

Near the end of eighth grade I wanted to look goth. I became fascinated with the fashion statement.

Hair became a major part of this goth desire I developed. I wanted to grow long black hair. I wanted my hair to be slick and perfectly straight. I also wanted bangs long enough to cover my eyes.

I felt this way because I have always been uncomfortable with my natural hair. Breakage and unevenness occurs when it grows beyond an inch. It also takes forever to grow long, straight hair.

Another part of this goth-like phase was my wanting to have lighter skin. I developed an idea that skin as pale as snow, but not as a sickly vampire-like complexion, was beautiful.

I had always thought some people’s light skin contrasted nicely with their dark hair.

I wanted to appear as this person with dark clothes. However, this alternate self I wanted to assume would only exist in my mind, like a drawing or a fictional character.

I never really tried hard enough to become this alternate self. That was probably a good thing.

Even if I ever could achieve this ideal appearance, I doubt I would feel happy with myself.

I have wanted to alter my appearance several times more since wanting to look goth, but not much of my person has changed. For example, I didn’t yield any more happiness when I tried to improve my appearance again with my new pea coat.

I began liking the fashion statement this past fall. I noticed a lot of people on campus, including people I know, wearing pea coats. Why not? We might as well try to look good while staying warm in the brutal cold, right? So I got the coat during winter break.

I also wanted to appear more professional now that internships are coming up. I want to make good impressions with prospective employers. I also want to show people that I am serious about wanting to be successful in the next five years. The pea coat helped me achieve part of this goal.

Immediately, I started receiving compliments on my new coat; friends starting saying good things. A few other people said they also liked my scarf. You also wouldn’t believe how many people complimented me when I returned to church a month ago. Someone said, “Phil is a well-dressed man.”

Believe me; I became happy that people noticed me this way. I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to pull the look off, for this was a drastic change for me in a short time span.

I’m honestly surprised no one grabbed my arm and scolded me: “Phil, you know very well you have this coat for attention. This is not who you are.”

Although I felt good about myself, this feeling was superficial. Underneath the wool, I’m still the same Phil. I may look better from the outside, but inside, I’m still insecure about myself and weak in certain areas of my life.

In the end, I will continue wearing my new coat. My goth-like self will remain a figment of my imagination.

However, you and I should bear something in mind when wanting to improve our appearance out of vain desires. As the author of Ecclesiastes said, many things we seek to obtain are a “vanity and striving after wind.”

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