Ciara’s Story

At the end of the day beauty is deeper than people’s skin. It’s about personality.

I never felt pretty, even when people told me I was, or when a boy said he liked me. I always felt ugly. When I was younger I had no self-confidence. I remember my childhood friend telling me, when I was about 13, that I should straighten my hair and wear makeup, but I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t until I started to gain more confidence in myself and see myself differently that others did too. But that came later. I remember one of my close male friends telling me I was pretty and I was devastated, because I thought he was poking fun at me. I don’t have a straight nose or full lips; the only thing I liked about my body was my eyes. When I got a little older I started to wear makeup and straighten my hair. I tried my hardest to look better, to wear nice clothes and smile, but it never made me feel good.

“I still go through phases where I feel disgusted by my face and body”

I’m better now than I was back then. I still go through phases where I feel disgusted by my face and body. I look in the mirror and notice all my flaws and punish myself for them. Whenever a guy comes up to me in a club I honestly think it’s because he’s picked me out as the ugly one, and therefore easy and desperate, and whenever I hear the word “ugly” in public I think the person must be talking about me. Of course, I know that there are worse things in the world than being unattractive, and I thank my lucky stars that I have good health and an amazing family and wonderful friends, but I still can’t help it. My mind goes back and picks out the people who may have said I’m ugly or who have looked at me oddly.

And the weird thing is that I wouldn’t change the way I look. I don’t think I’d like to be one of the gorgeous girls that all the guys like. What I really want is to stop caring. To just see myself in a consistent light, and not as ugly and worthless or as beautiful and superior, but as a human being just like everyone else. Body Dysmorphia is terrible and soul-destroying. Perhaps if we lived in a society that was not so focused on looks, that valued people’s hearts more, then there wouldn’t be such a disorder. Perhaps we need to rethink our values and stop making our lives miserable by thinking that we are not pretty enough.

I have never had a proper boyfriend. I never like the boys who like me, although I always give them a chance, and I have never felt good enough for the boys I do like. I spent my whole teenage life pining after this one guy but never actually made a move on him because I thought he would be repulsed by me. It turned out that he did like me but he was also shy. So I missed out on something that could have been really special, just because I saw myself as inferior.

I believe we need to raise awareness of Body Dysmorphia, otherwise people will spend their whole lives thinking they are something they’re not: ugly and unloveable. I have never met anyone truly ugly, so why do I see myself as such? I don’t care about appearance; never have and never will. It doesn’t matter to me whether someone is amazingly beautiful or disfigured, who cares? At the end of the day beauty is deeper than people’s skin. It’s about personality.

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The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. Charity no. 1153753.