14/01/2013 12:54 GMT | Updated 16/03/2013 05:12 GMT

This Is My Beautiful

There has got to be a way to allow all women to feel beautiful just the way they are.

We are supposedly liberated women today, but I often don't own that for myself. We say we can be it all and have it all. We can be working mothers, wives, lovers, little girls, wise old women, lovers, whores, and saints. But sometimes it's hard. Overwhelming to manage the balance.

It seems I was always too young for my desires, but then in a snap, I was too old. I put on a happy face and pretend I'm enough just as I am, but often it feels like a charade.

I didn't understand the ache when I was younger, though it was just as real. I wondered why I felt so sad and empty and unimportant. I craved affection and love. That is what I'd learned the world offered to pretty little girls who did what they were told and never complained. I strove to be that girl and never grow up. Even if it meant starving myself to stay as small as possible and avoid being a woman for as long as possible. I wanted the world to see me shrivel up and then be able to say, "You did this to me. You made me want to stay a child forever because becoming a real woman was too scary a prospect in an uncaring world."

Until I realized that the world would take no notice of me that way. There was always one more waiting in the wings. I was nothing special. I was not the first, or last, or best, or worst. I was only one among many. Not good enough for a world that demands perfection.

I am older and wiser and have learned lessons I struggled with for so long, but it is never easy. I still must remind myself of my value regardless of what my scale or society tells me.

As women, we must bond together to spread the word about the importance of self-esteem to the next generation. We must begin healing the split through admiring the talents and love visible in every woman regardless of her size or color or uniqueness.

Let's start a new tradition - making real beauty more important than external perfection. Let's celebrate our beauty. Let's not be afraid to have outer self-esteem. Now. Not in some unknown future when we are "perfect."

We are already perfect just the way we are.

I am. I need practice saying it out loud. I am already perfect just the way I am.

This Is My Beautiful.

What is your Beautiful?

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