Why Can't I Be Her? by Susannah Hutcheson

Do you remember when we were six years old and ran around without abandon through swing sets and swimming pools, peanut butter stains on our shirts and tangles in our hair? The only competition that we really engaged in was beating the boy across the street in a race or winning a slapping contest with our little sister.

Then we grew up, and everything changed. We went from field day races and muddy feet to competing to be just a little skinnier, a little less frizzy, a little less freckly.

We stare at ourselves in the mirrors, wishing for a little minimizing on that love handle, a little eraser on that stretch mark. We scroll down our Instagram feeds, studying other people’s profiles. They look like they have more fun, and they get so many more likes, right? And then we go home to do our homework, and we’re often reminded of the girl down the street who has made the Dean’s List every. Single. Semester. We didn’t quite do that. We may have actually failed chemistry. Then we flip on the TV or thumb through a magazine and are reminded that the real standard of beauty is blonde, 130 pounds, tall (but not too tall), and perfectly airbrushed.  We certainly don’t look like that on a good day, much less one that’s been full of class and work and exercise – if we bothered to go to the gym instead of going to the movie theaters.

It seems like these days we are stuck in this endless cycle of competition- with ourselves, with our neighbors, with our social media feeds, with our own family and friends. It’s time to reclaim ourselves and stop competing with ourselves over every little thing. We are all incredibly beautiful, badass, wonderful human beings. All of us have a lot of things we need to work on, but it certainly doesn’t mean that we aren’t complete rockstars. Whether or not we wear a size zero, or are future chemistry scholars (HA, not me) or drive the newest car, we still rule. We rule hard.

Do me a favour.
Put your hand on your chest.
There’s a heart beating in there.

Don’t sacrifice it for a smaller dress size or a cute boy or a test grade. Breathe. Stop selling yourself short. Stop choosing to critique yourself. Appreciate yourself. The only thing you need to compete for is the hottest glazed donut.

You rule, sista.

Hailey Allenheart