On Beauty and Bullying + Paint Your Love, week 3.

( This post is super long.  But I really would like to share with you my thoughts on beauty, bullying, how bullying leads to self criticism, and how I overcame the pains of being teased and bullied. )

I just had the most strange experience ever today.  I was at a coffeeshop with my friend Katie.  We were both working on our laptops and chatting about life's ups and downs.  And towards the end of my stay there, this 50/60 something old man who was sitting a table over from my friend and I came over to our table and stuck a note on the table next to my laptop.  It said, "I hope you will not be offended if I tell you that I think you are very attractive.  I am not hitting on you, I just couldn't help noticing since I got here today."  
I immediately felt so weird.  I didn't assume he was hitting on me and understood he was just trying to be nice.  But I felt really overwhelmed because that never happens to me.  My friend who I was with is seriously one of the most beautiful women I have ever known, inside and out, and very often, people stop in the street to come up to her to tell her they think she is incredibly beautiful.  I am used to strangers randomly telling her how gorgeous they think she is, I am used to seeing that happen to a lot of my girl friends actually.  But I really can't remember a stranger ever complimenting me on my "attractiveness" before.  I've had people say, "I like your shoes or your purse" or stuff like that.  But never ever have I had a stranger compliment the actual ME, not the things I am wearing in person.  I assume that whenever people see me with my girlfriends, that they are not looking at me, that I fade in to the background, and that the beauty of my friends' is radiant beyond me.

As Katie and I were leaving, I tried to reservedly say to the man from a distance "That was a very kind note.  Thank you.  And goodbye."  But after I said that he said in a very encouraging grandfather like way, "I really hope I didn't offend you or make you feel weird.  I just wanted to let you know you are a very beautiful young lady.  I didn't want you to think I was hitting on you.  Now, let me just say, of course your are an overall very attractive person and you present yourself well.  But the expressions you were making while talking to your friend were over the top beautiful, I just wanted you to know that."
That last little sentence just baffled me.  Perhaps he just heard me talking to Katie about how my counseling is going and how I am overcoming the trauma from my past slowly, but steadily.  Maybe he just wanted to encourage me.  But that sentence, coming from a stranger observing me comfortably talking with my best friend just absolutely floored me.  Here is why:

I am going to tell you a story about my experience with bullying, and how I changed my views of myself in a positive way over my little lifetime. 

Now, I don't think I am ugly.  But, I did for most of my life.  From age 8 to 14, I thought I looked like a boy and would get mistaken for being a boy often.  I was extremely thin, tall, and androgynous looking until mid high school and people would tease me and bully me calling me "stick girl" "anorexic" "stick bug" "tree" "pole."  Moorea does have the word moo in it so as an "ironic joke" people would call me "Moo" "Moo Cow" "Cow" "Cow Pie" and "Heffer."  "Haha! You're so skinny that it is like totally funny to call you Heffer and Cow because you are like the total opposite, stick girl."  Boys at school would run circles around me, laughing and pointing and calling me names.  I also started having trouble with acne around 11 and 12 and went on medication when I was 12.  I finally filled out in my body when I was about 16, but that is when my acne started getting really bad.  Plus I had to get glasses when I was 14.  My face was shameful to me because of how androgynous I looked, how covered in cystic acne it was and throbbing with pain constantly, how nerdy it was with my glasses and acne.  My entire body was shameful to me.

For years people made fun of my awkwardly thin frame.  And then when I suddenly got a lot of curves up top when I was 16, and people would talk about my body all the time behind my back.  People in high school would call me "That weird girl with big boobs" or "That artsy girl with big boobs" or "That alternative girl with big boobs."  I was ashamed of my body when it was so thin and boyish looking, and when I filled out suddenly, I still was made to feel awkward about my body because of what people would say about it, it suddenly being the far opposite of boyish.  I was excruciatingly shy and I wore clothes that covered my body as much as possible.  I didn't have many friends until junior or senior year.  And when I'd meet random people at school for the first time and they'd say, "Oh you are that artsy girl with big boobs" to my FACE, it just killed me.  It hurt when I knew through the grape vine that people would talk about me that way behind my back, but it was just unbelievable when people would say it to my face.

A super popular girl I knew one time came up to me and said, "So I was hanging out with all my guy friends and we were talking about who has the biggest boobs in school and everyone said Heather, but I was like, no Moorea totally has the biggest boobs."  How mortifying.  Of all of the things to unknowingly be placed in competition with some random person for, certain parts of my body being talked about and put on display in peoples minds was the most embarrassing to me, a shy and insecure young girl.
Random people knew who I was because of one area of my body.  And they objectified that one part of my body to the greatest degree.  I felt like a nobody, and I didn't want my curvy top to be the ONE thing people knew about me. My whole childhood, I felt type-casted as "The Pastor's Kid" and with the onset of becoming a young lady in high school, I all of a sudden was type-casted as "the artsy girl with big boobs."  I felt so trapped and ashamed.
I felt like a monster.  I was so shy, I was ashamed of my body, I had cystic acne and glasses.  I didn't have my first kiss until I was 17 1/2, a few months before the end of my senior year.  In high school, I only had 1 boyfriend for a month when I was 16 and then one boyfriend for a month when I was 17 1/2.  I was never able to get a date to any dances.  My junior prom, I was rejected 9 TIMES by 9 DIFFERENT guys when I or my friends asked them to go to prom with me.  Ouch.  Possibly the most unattractive I have ever felt in my life.  Big boobs never helped me out there.  People objectified me, but I never actually felt attractive to anyone.  For senior prom, my 1 month long boyfriend dumped me 3 weeks before prom and said he would still take me to prom out of pity and kindness.  I declined that awful and embarrassing offer.

My freshman year of college, I was very very depressed.  I was attending a college I didn't even want to apply to in the first place.  I was bullied because I didn't drink or do any drugs.  People called me "Jesus" or "Mother Mary" because of my lifestyle choices.  Once again, people were calling me "that girl with big boobs" but this time is was like "That prude with big boobs."  or the usual "That alternative girl with big boobs."  I never judged anyone for their lifestyle choices, I just didn't drink or do drugs because I was so depressed that I knew I could easily drink myself into oblivion just to escape the pain of being awake.  I wasn't going to hurt myself any more than I was already hurting because of others.  Though at one point in my freshman year, I was sleeping until 3pm and going to bed at 5am every day/night just to avoid the people who would make fun of me with hurtful words.

I transferred from Redlands University in Southern California to Seattle Pacific University in Washington after my crappy freshman year.  I had a million people telling me that I shouldn't transfer, that moving to Seattle wouldn't help me in my career choices, that I was just running away from my fears.  But I had a powerful breaking point at the end of my freshman year where I decided to just start telling myself, "I LOVE MYSELF."  I had so many negative thoughts about myself because I let everyone else' opinions of me hit me to the core.  I didn't like ME, but I finally decided, OK, If no one else is going to support me or tell me encouraging things, I have to do this for myself.  Any time I told myself something negative or criticized myself I would then force myself to say out loud, "I love myself."  And eventually I did start loving myself better.  I did start letting a few critical comments from others bounce off me.  It's pretty much impossible for my sensitive personality to let ever single critical word bounce off of me as the power of words effect me so intensely.  But at least I could let enough words bounce off so I could start functioning again.
Well, and towards the end of my freshman year I went on depression and ADD medications for a short time.  They gave me just enough of a boost back to a healthier mindset to then launch myself into thinking better of myself which I could take with me once I stopped my medications a few months later.

Once I transferred to SPU in Seattle, I started taking Acutane to battle the crazy cystic acne that was taking over my face.  The first few months of taking Acutane actually make your acne even WORSE than before you started.  It was not cute, let me tell ya.  My acne was absolutely awful for the first 2 years of college anyway with huge cysts all along my jawline and up my cheeks that were constantly throbbing in pain.  For those of you who have dealt with or are dealing with cystic acne, I TOTALLY understand your physical and emotional hurt.  It is hard having zits that you are visually aware of.  But its both mortifying and incredibly physically painful having huge cysts on your face that not only are really obviously there visually, but throb in pain constantly.  Mine hurt all the time, and when I accidentally just lightly brushed my hand against them, or anything accidentally brushed against them, they hurt so bad that I sometimes would be pushed to tears.
My face felt really painful and ugly with severe cysts my sophomore year of college at SPU.  And the glasses didn't make me feel any prettier but did at least feel like a shield against what was outside of me.  And I was still really ashamed of my body after years of teasing.  BUT, I had told myself that I was going to love myself despite whatever past hurt I had.  I told myself to toughen up.  I told myself to not assume that everyone thinks my face is hideous.  I told myself, "Look, you are at a new school now, you know no one here, and you have no history with anyone here.  Now is the time to create the present that you want, the future that you want, and focus on the good you have learned from your past experiences.  Be strong, be proud of yourself, treat others how you want to be treated.  Encourage those around you, go up and talk to people, be confident.  And I bet once you reach out to others like you wish you had been reached out to in your life, people's judgments of you will be less compared to the good response you will get by being an encouraging strong person, despite your flaws and faults."
And it was true.

I told myself to be strong and to just talk to people confidently, showing them love and encouragement.  And I both came to understand others better, loving them better, and loving and respecting myself more.  My Acutane medication for my acne finally cleared my face towards the end of my freshman year, but I wouldn't have been able to SEE myself and love the person I am even if my skin was clear if I hadn't first TOLD myself, "Now is the time to choose to love yourself.  From here on out recognize that you deserve to treat yourself well AND treat others as you wish to be treated.  Love your neighbor as YOU SHOULD love YOURSELF."

In my years at SPU, I still got teased by people a little.  I knew a guy who called me monster because he thought I was too tall and my feet were too big.  It is pretty impossible to get everyone in the world to be nice all the time, sadly.  But I tried my best to focus less on the negative things people had to say to me and tried to remember there were still lots of good things people could say about me if they chose to do so like, I know I am a kind and compassionate person.  I know I treat myself with kindness.  I know I care deeply about the well being of others.  I know I am creative.  I have flaws, and people can point them out if they choose.  But I choose to remember the good in me.

I'm tellin' ya.  Other people never ever made me feel beautiful.  Quite the opposite.  For most of my life, other people made me feel like a monster.  And looking back on it, I really wasn't THAT bad looking.  But that whole "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" saying totally did not work for me.  I am a sensitive spirit, most especially when I was younger, and words DO hurt.  Words pierce a person's heart much faster than a stick or a stone.
But if you ignore that stupid saying and recognize the POWER of words, you can acknowledge that mean words really do suck, but good and kind words are amazing.  For me, the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" devalues words.  The saying doesn't actually give me any encouragement at all.  It leaves me in an unknowing space of, OK, so how do I defend myself against mean words.  Instead, I say to myself, "Words are powerful.  Words can most definitely be used to hurt, but what's so awesome about words is that you can use kind words to both counter act and heal the hurt of bad words."

Now, how this all connects to the first story I told you about what the random stranger said to me today is that, well, words are powerful!  He told me, "...the expressions you were making while talking to your friend were over the top beautiful" acknowledging that I am attractive on my exterior, but beyond that, the expressions I make while talking to my best friend are the most beautiful.  That really really hit me hard because people have ALWAYS teased me about the expressions I make.  I came to love myself and accept my flawed, or just simply different exterior parts of me in recent years:  my curves, my not perfect skin, my glasses.  No one is perfect, and you can love the not perfect but still awesome you.  You are human and deserve to love yourself in your awesome parts and even in your not perfect parts :)  But with this man's comment, I suddenly realized, holy crap I still fear how people judge the expressions on my face.  Friend's tell me, "Don't make that face.  It's really ugly." or "You have resting bitch face." or "Wow, you really shouldn't make that face when you are excited," and it makes me really ashamed of my face.  Really really ashamed.

I realized in listening to his comment that I still am really self conscious when I am trying to express myself verbally or through the natural expressions I make with my face.  I am not at all as self conscious about how my body simply is, how I look as just a regular old human being, as I used to be when I was younger.  But I am still very aware that my face is very expressive when I am communicating.  And I feel unattractive when someone points out to me that my expressions are ugly, especially when I am trying to express myself in a moment of happiness or a moment when I feel good about myself or proud of myself.  When I am trying to tell someone how excited and joyful I am about something, trying to be vulnerable and honest in that moment, happy about myself and sincerely confident and then someone stops me mid sentence and says, "Moorea, it really doesn't help you out when you make that face.  You look really weird."  That just, man, that hurts.  pierce me while I am in a state of vulnerable and honest joy.  I am goofy, I know that.  And I can't help it.  I do make silly faces unknowingly.  And when someone points it out, I feel ashamed of my face and ashamed of trying to express my happiness in a way that feels real to me.

When that random old man told me, "...the expressions you were making while talking to your friend were over the top beautiful" it amazed me because my whole life I have been made fun of for my facial expressions.  His words were really simple and random, but still really powerful in reminding me that I always have things to work on in learning to continually love myself more.

I've learned to love the inside of me.  I've learned to be proud of my big heart and my strength.  I've learned to love the exterior of me.  I have glasses I wear everyday, I have some acne scaring along my jawline, I have flaws, but who cares.  I am happy with the outside of me.  And now, I have a good reminder that I should be proud of how I express myself with my face.  I shouldn't think my face is ugly when it is really expressive when I am happy, when I am vulnerable.  I shouldn't let others words hurt me.  I need to tell myself my face is beautiful.  My expressions are true to me, I am simply conveying happiness and honesty in the way that feels natural to me.  I cannot change my face.  And even if others make fun of my expressions, I trust that I love myself and the love and good words I have to give to myself are greater than the hurtful words I hear from others.

When I am with my friend Katie, I never ever feel judged by her.  I feel safe to be as expressive as is true to me.  I feel comfortable in vulnerability, I feel free to be me with her, I feel completely confident in me because I know she loves me and accepts me fully.  She never makes fun of me but simply laughs along with me.  What a good friend.  And it is honestly really comforting for this random grandpa/dad like stranger to be able to see me being utterly comfortable expressing myself to my friend, confident in myself, and for him to say that seeing me being expressive and confident is the most beautiful thing about me.

I am promising myself from here on out to be confident in my expression of self.  Man, I seriously was just talking to my counselor about my fear of verbally and physically expressing myself last week.  The world works in mysterious ways when you choose the path of loving yourself and others.  Pain happens, but the light things of life are so much brighter when you choose to love yourself and those around you.  Have confidence in ALL that you are, as scary as it may be.  I understand.

So thank you random old man that reminded me that my self expression is not strange, or ugly, or weird, or goofy.  It is simply pure and true to my feelings.  And my feelings are valid.

If you read through all of this, you are amazing :)  I hope that something I said resonates with you.  This week, the Paint Your Love challenge is to paint your nails a new color and, every time you look down at them, remember that your self expression IS beautiful.  I hope that you can look at yourself and within yourself this week and recognize, your self expression IS beautiful because you are purely and honestly being you.  Beauty is found in a confidence of self.  No matter what you look like on the outside, no matter how weird your facial expressions are, your truest beauty is found in the confidence you hold in your love of self.  Express yourself.  And love yourself in your form of expression.  Your own words that you give to yourself are powerful, valid, and beautiful, so much greater than any mean words anyone has said to you.  You are strong, you are powerful, and you can choose to love yourself.  You CAN express yourself.  Your self expression is beautiful and you are allowed to believe that.  I believe in you.

ps, If you have painted your nails this week as a reminder to love yourself, send me a photo at mooreaseal{at}gmail.com  I'm creating a collage of all of the painted nails, showing we are in this together, loving ourselves and supporting each other <3


Amy T Schubert said...

love you, girl.
can't wait to meet you in person someday ... I would seriously LOVE to take some portraits of you!

CaL said...

So yeah, this DID end up making me cry. But, it also makes me want to run & grab some nail polish & have at it! I have SO SO much to say about this, I don't know where to begin. One of the major things that stood out to me is that you came from Redlands. I am from Riverside & being a tall lanky white girl always made me so fragile & emotional to bullying & man, I could go on & on & on. I have few people in my life that I feel truly comfortable with. It's so odd. That feeling, where you don't care what face you're making or what random words you're saying or how fidgety you are while communicating with them & you can just BE. It's such a comfort to just BE. So rare a friendship & so heartwarming. My entire life my mom has ALWAYS told me I am beautiful. But she's my mom. Although she's amazing for doing so, popular opinion said otherwise & it hurt. On the other hand, while I was being made fun of for being a geek or nerd or whatever in school cause in 4th grade my face was suddenly adorned with both glasses & braces, my mom was saying how I never read & how she's surprised I'm not more like this or that. {when in reality I read a whole heck of a lot} so that hurt. So many things people say. So many expectations you want to live up to. But really, who can you truly please but yourself? Who can make you happier than yourself? What is more important than this moment? I know it's EXTREMELY hard to let go of the past & what we've been through & that our past makes us who we are today. But living in the moment, with a friend we are comfortable with, or by ourselves, reading under a tree in a part, chatting in a cafe with a good friend. These are the moments. This is life. & I am SO glad I read this today of all days because TODAY was the day I NEEDED to read this. NOW is the time it would make the MOST impact on me. So thank you. From the bottom of my heart. & I am SO sorry that this comment turned into a novel. But, you are amazing. & I thank you.

Zoe said...

I love how brave you are to tell your story- and how brave that man is for actually telling you what he thought! I often think nice things about strangers but don't have the guts to tell them-now I think maybe I should more often! (when I'm in a country that speaks English..)
You are a superlady and I think you're gorgeous and amazing and awesome!! :) I love watching your video blogs too, you have such a shiny personality.
Love love love!! xo

andrea said...

Dearest Moorea -
I was so happy to read this, and so surprised - you almost described my entire high school experience to a T. I bounded from being overweight to underweight, mostly while my family moved between countries and schools and lives - never the same girl twice, being teased for two seperate body issues. I was either the (so original) fat kid, or, when I got a little older "tits on a stick". Along with that, I have a huge scar that runs from my hips almost all the way to the top of my breastplate, and boys at any age prior to 30 didn't seem to be understanding of the trauma they can cause with a few choice looks and a couple nasty names. I got asked to grad, and then was told.. just joking.
People do not understand the impact that words have. For years what those people said would ring in my ears every time I put on a bathing suit, stood in front of a mirror, or worse, in front of a boy, hoping that the lights were dim enough and that he liked me enough to forget what i looked like.
It took so many years - so many years of deciding that scars are beautiful and brave, that bodies are remarkable for what they do instead of how they look, and finally, finding beauty and humour in the ridiculous time suck that worrying about any of it is. And finally, finding somebody who turned lights on and smiled just the same.
I stop women all the time now. To tell them they are beautiful, to tell them they carry themselves well, to smile, to nod. I am trying to outweigh and out shout and out compliment the little voices we all have left from high school and life that bring us down.
Thanks for your story - sometimes hearing somebody else has been there, and is triumphing, and adding their voice to the fray.. is enough to keep smiling.

MissMerryweathersCreations said...

Wow this is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life! It is really great to hear that you have come to love yourself and that has changed your life so positively. Teenagers can be so cruel, but I really can't believe people called you those things. From reading this I can tell that you are a very beautiful person!


Anonymous said...

This is an amazing blog, Moorea. I am so impressed with how beautiful, brave, and sweet you are. I am a big fan of who you are and what you do.

skunkboycreatures said...

Oh, Moorea... sharing a story like this is so important. Whether it's reminding people that they are not alone in hardships, or just encouraging them, these things we go through in life (hard or not) make us who we are. From what I can tell (you know, without the 'real life' relationship) you are a beautiful, caring, and talented person. Thank you for sharing. <3

brittany leigh said...

What a moving story. I can relate to your suffering about your cystic acne. I too suffered from horrible cystic acne that decided to join me when I hit college. It was horrible, painful and depressing and I managed to smile through it, but deep down I felt ugly and miserable. Accutane changed everything for me and I only with I went on it sooner. I am still left with scars on my face from the severe acne I had, but I think the experience taught me so much about loving myself no matter when and to not judge others for physical flaws. It is so amazing that you had the courage to share your story and I think your negative experiences have helped make you who you are today, which is an amazing and inspiring woman :)

katy {of} katy loves. said...

So moving, thank you for being open and vulnerable with us. What an amazing compliment when you needed it the most. It was like God was letting you know how beautiful you are through a random stranger. :)

I have acne scars and lately it's been painful just knowing I can hardly cover them up, but it's okay. I will love myself more as well. I'm so awkward sometimes with my expressions and I hate my laugh, but I'm goofy too and that's a wonderful thing.

Thanks for writing and sharing this Moorea, you are wonderful! By the way, and I'm not just saying this, when I recently stumbled across your blog I just thought you were so lovely! You are a beautiful person in every way. Cheers for the tall girls. ;)

Alice said...

This is a great post. Has put me behind this morning at work reading it haha, but oh well. It amazes me how we can discover something about our own minds that we didn't know was there- ie your realisation about the specific insecurities you still have. I had a revelation the other day- for the last few years my life has gradually developed from really quite bleak and depressing through to today where everything is pretty great. However the one thing that stays with me to this day is that I am mega, super self conscious and nervous. I was pretty confident in high school, but since then I've lost it all, and I have not been able to pinpoint why. But a couple of days ago, I realised that I have a nagging voice in my head every time I put a new idea out there. Won't go into the specifics, but after all this time I realised I still have an insecurity about being laughed at and looking stupid, and that it stems from my HS boyfriend, who was extremely smart... and an extreme a-hole, with hindsight. It felt so weird to identify this, cause I now realise it's there all the time, I just never stopped to think about. I'm reaaaally hoping that now I've identified the cause, I can start getting my confidence back! Thanks for the vent space, and you really are lovely, and very courageous. Have a brilliant weekend.

konner said...

"Friend's tell me, "Don't make that face. It's really ugly." or "You have resting bitch face." or "Wow, you really shouldn't make that face when you are excited," and it makes me really ashamed of my face."

Jeez. With "friends" like that, who needs enemies? Effff them, baby lady.

I'm going back and forth on whether or not to cut my hair off today. I want to do it because it's different and scary and might be really cute, might feel good, etc. I don't want to do it because long hair is my security blanket and traditionally beautiful and I want boys to like me, damnit. This post has given me a lot to think about... I should be able to look however I want. Hrm. Thinking thinking thinking.

Alli (One Pearl Button) said...

Oh wow, two posts in a row that have me absolutely reeling. If only we could go back in time and tell our younger selves how many other (awesome) people in the world were going through the same things that we were!

I was bullied for different reasons all through school - I was teeny-tiny (both short and thin), socially awkward, and I cried at the drop of a hat. The other kids knew I was an easy target who would give them a good reaction (even though I tried SO HARD not to), and would always single me out for bullying. I spent almost all my free time at school reading by myself. I finally started to make friends and gain more confidence in high school, but it wasn't until college that I really came to feel confident in myself.

Thank you for sharing your story; it's really inspiring. Your writing is fantastic.

PS - before I first came across your blog, I remember seeing your shop pics and thinking - "that girl is so gorgeous!" The kindly old man was absolutely right. :)

Anonymous said...

People seriously can be huge jerks. I'm not going to launch into my personal experience with teasing and feeling different, because this is your space :) So, I'll just say, I understand. Seriously.

I'm seriously enamored with this new series your doing. It is so inspiring for me. I'm thinking of going back to a project I did last year now. Thank you.

Anita said...

What a beautiful and strong girl you are! When I was in high school I was 5'10" and didn't even weigh 100 pounds. My nickname was Anita (I need a) pencil. On top of that, a 32AA bra was too big. My friends had a t shirt made for me that read "Itty Bitty Titty Committee". I was also shy and plain. But my mom would always tell me that beauty is only skin deep, and that if I was beautiful on the inside it would radiate on the outside. Turns out she was right! I remember the shock the first time someone told me that I was beautiful, and it still embarrasses me even now. Get used to it girl; this is not the last time someone will be passing you a note! I have also learned that just as plain girls blossom, pretty people with ugly hearts lose their looks. Who was it that said that we eventually all get the face we deserve? It is true! Stay beautiful, and keep writing! xoxo,a.

Anonymous said...

I was bullied when I was growing up, and honestly Moorea? This sentence made me upset: "I feel unattractive when someone points out to me that my expressions are ugly"

I don't know how that could be said to you with kind, totally well meaning intentions. It sounds to me like, whatever the reason, that anyone talking to you like that it either totally emotionally spaced out and not thinking or is trying to diminish you. I hope that you speak up to them and let them know that you just don't need to or want to hear those comments. You're so beautiful, and while it's amazing that you have such a positive outlook now it's so important to set boundaries with friends and let them know when they're hurting you. And if they don't respect that? It's important that you tell me who they are so I can punch them. <3

shaina said...

this story moved me.
and now im gonna paint my fingernails!

Barb said...

Oh Moorea! I have never experienced bullying, but I have definitely gone through periods of not feeling beautiful. You are such a strong person to push through it and use all that has happened to you to become more understanding of both yourself and others. Bravo to you for learning to love yourself despite all of your supposed "imperfections", it's all of those imperfections that make us unique :-)

Morgan said...

Moorea, you are absolutely amazing. Drop dead gorgeous on the inside and out. It makes me so sad to think of all that you've gone through and, as a mother of four, I pray that my kids would be protected from words that crush their spirit. I have one daughter and my hope for her (and for you) that no matter what she happens to look like in that moment that she knows how beautiful she is!
I'm going to paint my nails! :)

Sara Kate said...

Girl, you are beautiful, inside and out! This seriously spoke to my soul. I had a rough adolescence (I changed high schools because of the incessant bullying, teasing, etc.), which segued into an even rougher start to my 20s. I haven't been able to talk about a lot of my past to anyone (except my guy, who thankfully is extremely supportive), so I really admire your bravery and openness. I hope that someday, I can share my experiences and not feel ashamed or worry about what people will think. I just need to remember that at the end of the day, I'm still Sara. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I really mean it.

And you know what? My self expression IS beautiful. Thanks for the reminder. :)

Alex said...

This probably sounds silly, but reading this made some tears come to my eyes. You've sort of given me hope. Our lives are very different, but I suffer with depression and issues with my image, and the fact that you've overcome them has made me think that I can, too. :) I hope that doesn't sound selfish - I don't mean to be comparing my problems to yours or anything like that, but I just wanted to say thank you.

Thank you for sharing. I look at your photo and think you're beautiful, and can't believe anyone could have been bullied like that. But the fact that you've pushed through it by yourself is so, so inspiring, and shows beauty in you and your character.

I'm going to paint my nails this week. I never do, unless it's just clear, but I really want to now. And try and remember that my self expression is beautiful, too. :)

Also, what a lovely old man! Bless him. I'd love a note like that.
Thank you, again.
- Alex

Liz said...

What an amazing and inspiring story. I love you to pieces and can't wait to give you a big ol' hug next Friday. Tonight I am getting my nails done anyway so you betcha I'll be painting my love. I'll take a photo. <3

Vanessa said...

What a wonderful compliment to get! I love the idea of noticing the joy someone evokes more than anything else. This must mean you're in a really great place in your life :o)

jackiek said...

This is honestly one of the most down to earth and inspiring posts I have ever read. When I was in middle school I went to a Catholic school and would constantly get bullied by the kids there. Because I liked to learn and focused on doing my school work, I never fit in with the other girls who would go out on the weekends. The worse was when I would sit at lunch with them and they would talk about what they did together in front of me, like I was invisible. I would come home and just cry to my Mom as she hugged me. I cried everyday. I finally changed schools. I'm a Senior now, and even today I sometimes feel bullied. But I have good friends that remind me that being myself is worth it. I'm not taunted nearly as much as I was, but I'm by no means popular. But I think the bullying I felt in middle school made me stronger. I got involved in sports, became a Yoga Teacher, and learned to love myself. Now, going to college in a few months, I know that I am confident and can handle anything. I'm by no means the prettiest, thinnest, richest girl out there. But I think being a kind hearted person makes you beautiful. I've learned to love myself for all the good I do and to appreciate my beauty. I think It's important to stop the hate. I feel like girls especially tend to spread it too much. "She's fat in the thighs", "her eyebrows are thick", "look at that huge nose". Girls are the reason that we feel so insecure. So I think by reminding ourselves that we're all beautiful, we can eventually stop kids from bullying each other. So THANK YOU for posting this because it's a reminder that we should love ourselves because after all we are the only ones we can count on 100%.

Jennie said...

This was a beautiful post. This is my first time on your blog and I was directed her by Busybeelauren's Twitter, but you are such an eloquent writer. I was bullied when I was younger too, but it was only for a two year period of my life and very minimal, not as vast as you have experienced it. Reading this broke my heart because I know so many that can relate to you. I am so happy that you can now say, as a beautiful grown up woman, that you love yourself. Reading this also inspired me to act on the impressions I get when I notice how particularly beautiful someone is. You never know when it can make their day. Thank you for taking the time to write this. :)

Anonymous said...

Both this post, and the comments, are inspiring and heartbreaking and wonderful. There are so many thoughts swirling through my head about how I've been bullied, how terrible it is that so many young girls (and boys) are made to feel the way you/we were, and how we as a society can bring an end to it. Sadly, the last piece of the puzzle is the hardest - deep down, bullying is always about the bully's insecurity and desire to fit in and until every kid feels confident and secure (and secure that they won't lose that feeling) some form of bullying will always be present. How incredible that you were able to summon the strength to pull through that terrible time and force yourself to see your own true beauty - and beautiful you are. As jackiek alluded to, hopefully your story of strength can inspire other girls who are going through the same sort of thing.

Kate said...

oh gosh...i'm a total lurker of yours on this blog, on etsy, and on twitter. but i had to respond to this....thank you for being so vulnerable. i think you are amazingly beautiful inside and out but this was so refreshing to read.

otillie's closet

p.s. tall girls rule! i was a late bloomer who shot up about 5 inches AFTER high school and i was voted "most unusual hair" in high school...humiliating!

Allie said...

Wonderful post, Moorea. I'm glad I have a friend like you in my life who is so genuine and open and vulnerable; I can relate to you, as a young woman who has had such a shitty time with self-consciousness and depression. But I love your thoughts and your passion and exuberance; it really inspires me, and THAT'S WHY YOU'RE MY FRIEND. Because you are BEAUTIFUL, inside and out. I like to think I have no ugly friends-- that is, those who are nearest and dearest to me, those who I want to spend time with, they are the ones who have BEAUTIFUL souls and minds and thoughts; they are full of kindness and love. And that is what YOU are to me!!!

Kelly said...

Not only are you a beautiful person, but your bravery in sharing your story is helping to make the world a more beautiful place. Just look at how many people have commented here thanking you and opening up about their own pain. Often when we're bullied and depressed we get this false idea that we're the only ones in the world that feel this way, we feel isolated and ashamed. By telling your own story you have opened an outlet for people to share and realize there's nothing to be ashamed of! Thank you so much for your honesty

Angie said...

This was an amazing and so open post, Moorea. Same on those people in your past who were bullies, I think that's awesome. When I was a little girl, I always treated *everyone* with kindness, but I was especially nice to anyone "different." Whether that was their exterior or interior that were different from the rest.

I have horrible acne right now and I've had dentures since I was 17. I've had quite a few douche bags and kids point out my dentures and they make me highly uncomfortable. They do not fit right and damn do they hurt sometimes.

I've always had a lot of self confidence and an ego, but growing up when I was 14 my wife (then girlfriend) would tell me I was beautiful. Several times she would ask me to look at myself - in a mirror, a picture of myself, etc. and tell myself I was beautiful and I did. Knowing she, the person who meant and still means the world to me, knew I was beautiful meant so much. And because of her, I felt the same way about myself.

Now I feel a lot better about myself, because of her and because of me. I still have things I don't like and I used to have several family members tell me not to smile so wide, that it was stupid. I smile very wide when I am extremely happy, so I don't mind anymore.

I'm very open-minded. I myself am a bisexual lesbian and my wife is a transgender bisexual lesbian. Her mom often makes comments about her being "such a guy" or "that's what guys do" when she is in fact a female in her heart and soul. That kills me. We're both very girly. I hate hearing my MIL treat my wife like a guy when she is so *not* a guy. It's hard, because we're currently living with them. But I hope everything will work out and my MIL will see Jen for who she is and I for who I am soon.

I don't know if you read all of your comments, but know that you really are an amazing person. I love looking through people's Flickr accounts and all of your pictures are awesome. You radiate a smart, calm, earthy, beautiful presence. Don't let people get you down, you absolutely rock!

beca said...

YOu are so incredibly brave for being so honest and open, here. By the end of this post I was crying, hard, and blogs definitely don't make me cry, often. I went back and reread it again. I felt like I was reading something out of my own diary pages, but with the appropriate differences. It didn't matter though, because no matter the names we are called, and the meaning behind them, they hurt just as much.
When I was younger, I had horrible, painful cyst acne also, and was told more than once that my face and shoulders and back were disgusting. Until I met my current boyfriend (who could care less about my scars, by the way) nobody had touched my face like it was the face of a girl who wanted to be touched. It hurts to even think about it, but I couldn't help the way my face looked. The way my skin was.
I know that the bullying I received when I was younger has shaped my self confidence today, and even though I am in my late 20s, I still feel the effects. I still second guess myself, I still have to ask my bf of 4 years if he thinks I'm pretty (although he tells me more often than I have to ask) and I still hide behind my glasses, bangs, and downcast looks.
Your words are inspiring me to be more confident and to be stronger. It's nice to be reminded of it and to know other women experience the same feelings.
Thank you so much for that!

KT Barnes said...

That made me cry. You are so awesome Moorea - I've always admired your voice, style and hair (weird, I know...but you tried all kinds of cute stuff that I never could). You are beyond beautiful and I crush on everything you do - the shop, the writing, the jewelry. Love it all. Thank you for being so open and forthright.

Ashley Reynolds said...

Thank you so much for writing this - it's beautiful and so are you! I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog last year. <3 I relate to so many of the feelings you expressed; I took Accutane for acne in high school - and I had glasses, oh and braces too. It was genuinely wretched. So wretched, most of the time I just try to black it out. Ha, ha.

On top of that, I was the editor of a rather controversial website my Senior year. I dealt with hate notes being left on my car telling me that everybody (i.e. popular athletes) wished I would leave and never come back (all for speaking out against our school's RIDICULOUS policies - but let's not get in to that right now *wink wink*). I was shoved in halls, and I've been called a bitch so many times the word doesn't even phase me anymore - LOL.

It took me practically all of my college years to get over it all; I struggled with depression and anxiety, and the outspoken girl I once knew felt so far away for a long time. I haven't even mentioned any of these things for so long. I am so in awe of your courage. Love, love, love you to death. You have inspired me to embrace these less than storybook-perfect moments in the journey - they shape us for better and worse. <3 Have a beautiful evening, and keep being amazing! <3


Rachel said...

WOW...tears in my eyes.... thank you for sharing your story...you are so brave and honest....such an amazing inspiration to me...hugs to you!!

simple things said...

Oh honey, that was the longest post ever! But it was a great one and I can't see how you could be more succinct and get your point across.

I want to say firstly that I am so happy that you have shared this personal experience and talked about your depression. I hate that there is a taboo associated with any kind of mental health issues. I have also suffered terribly from depression and it has made it so much easier to be able to be open about it. The more we talk, the less taboo it will be.

I think it is difficult for us to realise that many other people are probably going through the same thing as we are when we are in our teens (and early 20s to a lesser degree) because we are so focused on ourselves. We think that the world is focused on us when, really, they are all thinking the same thing as we are! And you have to wonder about someone who teases another person - they are probably very insecure and being teased themselves.

Someone recently told me the best saying I have ever heard (I don't know who said it originally) - When you are in your 20s, you think that everyone is looking at you. When you are in your 30s, you don't care that everyone is looking at you. And when you are in your 40s you realise that no one was ever looking at you in the first place!

It took me until I was 30 (so last year!) to really believe (and I don't just mean saying it, I mean REALLY feeling and knowing it) that real beauty comes from within. It really does. People are wasting your time if they are only looking at and associating with people who are stereotypically attractive - there is so much beauty in people that you have sometimes to look a tiny bit harder to see. And it radiates from the inside out. I have learned this from my relationships with men - dating so many 'beautiful' men who are so, so ugly on the inside. It doesn't take long to see that ugliness.

Oh, and I'm with Kyla Roma - you should not care if anyone thinks an expression you make is ugly. Dear me, they need to get a life. I used to spend a lot of time trying to look perfect all the time until I met my man (and husband to be - yay!) and he pulls the most horribly hilarious faces to make me laugh. I wouldn't pull them back for so long because I wanted to maintain that beautiful facade. But then I realised that if he can't love me if I have a certain facial expression then we are not meant to be together. And it is the same with friends or anyone else - are they so shallow? I just think why don't they see the beauty in me that causes me to pull my (funny and everyday) expressions? I would rather be ignored by almost everyone and have a few genuine friends if the alternative is that I have to supress some part of me.

You have to feel it, Moorea. You will, in time. And when you do you won't even think about a compliment like the one you got from that man becase it won't mean much. Because you will know that you are beautiful already. I have come a long way since my teens but I'm working on it every day still!

Violet Bella said...

you my friend, are completely beautiful, inside and out. real, to the core beauty, and it shines through you and through your words. and from the first moment i came across you, i thought you were one of the prettiest girls ive ever seen. truly.

*Trisha* said...

Moorea, Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. Wow, you are one seriously amazing woman. We all have our own struggles and hardships. The way you told yours, it encourages me with mine (:

And I love this "Paint Your Love" thing you have going. I might mention it, along with you and your blog, on my blog... and I'm def painting my nails a fun color tonight.

Again, thank you for sharing pieces of yourself with us. Your genuine beauty shines bright, darling (:

kaelah beauregarde said...

you are such a superstar, moorea! i know i've said it before, and especially following your recent email to me. it touched me so deeply and i can't thank you enough. you are one of those rare gems in the world who is just undeniably kind, considerate, and selfless. i just wish i could give you a big ol hug! <3 love you, lady!

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

i can sort of relate and sort of not, but i really like that you opened up about things that most of us go through, but aren't so attractive.

i have a super hard time accepting compliments from anyone, and although i know they mean them in the nicest way, it makes me feel beyond weird to the point i want to run and hide, and sometimes cry. when i was younger i was always friends with the guys, but never one of the pretty girls. unlike you, i didn't have any boobs at all. well, i still don't have much in the boob area, but it's a little more! haha! anyway, i got called anorexic and baby gap (because that's where they said i bought my clothes) an di hated it. that, coupled with things my mom would say, completely took every bit of self-confidence i had. now that people don't make fun of me but compliment me, i don't know how to respond, and i feel like i go back to 16-year-old danielle who just wanted to disappear. isn't it sad how comments from our childhood peers can become so deep-seated that they affect us as adults?

sorry i typed so much, but i just wanted to say that i can relate, and i think you're beautiful.

Tailor's Riches said...

This made me so sad to read! Mainly because you are so obviously lovely and so obviously not used to believing that. Partly because I agree with konner; what sort of friends would ever say that anything about you is ugly, let alone your facial expressions? Why don't they go out of their way to tell you you are lovely - it shouldn't take a stranger to give you your first compliment on YOU.

If your friends are really friends worthy of the name, i.e. you value them for other reasons, then please take them to task! Tell them how hurtful and unacceptable these things they say are - trust me, if you do then they will not do it again, and you can also tell yourself that it is a sort of way of standing up to the bullies back when you were 14 (or however old) too. We all need to take the control back from these people.

Jenn Z. said...

Simply amazing Moorea; you are such a strong, beautiful, and inspiring woman. Thank you for sharing!

I, too, have a resting bitch face and I think this is something that actually saved me in middle/high school from the bullies :)!

Allie said...

This post brought tears to my eyes, Moorea. It was exactly what I needed today. You're such a lovely person, both inside and out...don't forget it!


Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah R said...

I loved reading this! Thank you for being so honest! I'm not just saying this, today I was on your flickr page and i couldn't believe how pretty you are! You really made me feel better about myself. You made me relize that it doesn't matter what others say if you're happy with yourself.

Thanks so much! :)

I LOVE your blog! ♥

Please someone check out my blog.

Ashley said...

This is such a moving post. It's just amazing how things people say affect us and can follow us forever. I can definitely relate. Middle school was the hardest for me because I felt like I looked so boyish. I remember one day on the bus a boy pulled out his yearbook, showed everyone my picture and they all told me I looked like a boy. Humiliating.

There are always going to be people you can't please. If they feel the need to make rude comments, they clearly have their own issues. I was kind of surprised to read this about you because when I visit your blog, all I see is a talented, beautiful, strong lady! Thank you for sharing this post. :)

Suzanne said...

What an amazing and inspiring post, Moorea. I pretty much bawled my eyes out through the entire thing! Everything you said rang so familiar to me - looking like a boy, being terribly shy, acne, glasses, bullies, "weird" facial expressions, the whole nine yards! Thank you so much for sharing your story. You ARE a beautiful person, inside and out.

Mekjm said...

Hey, awesome, awesome post. Although I won't be getting out the nail polish for myself, I reallly enjoyed your words and especially appreciated your focus on the beauty of self expression. Sharing your journey was def inspirational. Thanks! You seem like a pretty awesome person.

Miss Faith and Miss B said...

This post resonated with me more than you know-thank you from the bottom of my heart! I wrote a similar story on my blog last week, feeling scared and so vulnerable when I hit that POST button...but, as soon as I put my personal story about bullying out there, I felt empowered and a wave of healing came over me. As I get older and grow farther away from that hopeless & sad time in my life, I start to really fall in love with the strong, confident and healthy woman I have become. The bullying no longer owns me. Thank you again.

Becka Robinson said...

As a photographer, a lot of the time I find so much beauty in the people I encounter. But me? I am not a fan of how I look. I was bullied all growing up. Thanks for sharing, maybe one day I'll get to where you are now. Until then, I'll just stick to showing other people how beautiful they are. ;)

Libby said...

This has really made me tear up. I have bad acne and I get a lot of teasing about it. A boy in my English class started call me a bag of s***, saying that everyone talked about how I ugly I was behind my back, how I should be homeschooled so he didn't have to see my face, how I was such an ugly bitch, did I know that no-one liked me? Luckily I have an amazing group of friends and they were very supportive, but it hurts.
Writing stuff like this for the world to see must be hard. I'm hugely inspired by the way that even through all this awful stuff, you've become a confident person that is helping others through her own experiences. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
That man seemed so sweet. A compliment on your shoes is nice, but a compliment on who you are is the best.

Rhianne said...

this might sound totally inappropiate but all I could think whilst reading this was that I bet you have amazing boobs. I was always called the girl with the big boobs at school (though I was the super short one...) and as awfully upsetting as it was then, they are a part of me and I completely love them now (though I think that having a boyfriend that loves them too helps) and I really hope you love yours too as I am sure they are as lovely as you are on the inside.

You and this post are amazing!

p.s. this may be the oddest comment I've ever written.

monetishappy said...

dude, you are actually so hot. a good read.

i was bullied from the age of 12 to 17 for being ugly, no boobs, severe acne, everyone even my teachers thought i was a boy, my name is Monet after the french painter and no one could pronounce it so i got teased....ohhh it's a hard life....i am very very happy now though :)

Dacia said...

i loved reading this and can sort of relate, in a minor way. i, too, make faces when i talk and express myself- my husband teases me about it but in a loving way. he says it makes him laugh, BUT, it's actually something that i consciously think of when i talk to others. it might be weird that while i am talking i am simultaneously thinking in the back of my mind "remember, don't exaggerate your excitement, you don't need to open your eyes so big, don't curl your eyebrows so much..." and i pay attention to other peoples expressions to try and mimic them i guess... because if i do that w/people i'm with i somehow think i'll be more likable if i'm more similar to them. sounds kinda sad... and i'm being open b/c you were so open! i take comfort in knowing you are at the place you are today with yourself. :) again, thanks for sharing.

ps- since i first saw your blog i thought you were really beautiful. seriously. :)

she+him said...

you are truly a beautiful woman inside and out. That story was overwhelming touching, and I feel that not only I can relate to you, but that you are a great soul to have in someones life. You spoke honestly and truthfully, which is such a hard thing to do over the internet, especially with all the internet bullying that is popping up, and most people never share who they really are.
I applaud you Moorea, and so glad I found you on the internet.

Kacie said...

Thank you Moorea.
i wasn't teased too much in school.. a little here and a little there for being overweight, but i forced myself to be friends with the popular kids and to always be friendly because i remember thinking when i was little "if i can't beat them.. join them" (not in the mean, horrible, bullying way some kids are).. the problem was.. i was always hard on myself.. being overweight with skinny friends who thought THEY were fat was a mind warp..
going through eating disorders after a boyfriend called me fat really set me in a tail spin..
i'm blessed to be recovering and starting to love myself..
your words were balm to my healing heart.
thank you for this post.


Lisa said...

I stumbled upon this by accident, or maybe not since this post was so timely and something that I needed to read. I too had a horrible high school experience that I felt I would never get over, being teased, bullied, pushed almost to the point of suicide. I NEVER thought I would get over it. I was self-conscious for many, many years. I found it hard to make friends because I was always afraid to be myself, to show who I was on the inside for fear of being made fun of. Like you I have been told sooooo many times that I have resting bitch face. I am still told, "Smile it's not that bad!" I am not unhappy or sad that is just my face. I did not realize how expressive I was until I met one special person. The first night I met my husband we took a walk and talked for hours. Later he told me that he fell in love with me that night because of my face, how expressive it was. He said I was filled with the fire of passion. That it made my face glow and my eyes sparkle (behind my glasses), that I was the most passionate person he had ever met. He still tells me that.
One person. One comment can change your life and how you feel about yourself. Good or bad. A bad comment can destroy you but a good comment can bring you back up and make you proud to be you. I no longer care what others think. I don't think about how my face falls or that I use my hands when I talk too much. I am me and I am wonderful.
Thank you so much for this. You are amazing. Your beauty shines out of this post and shows just how amazing a person you are.
Thank you.

Sincerely Rae said...

I'm am so inspired by how brave you are for posting this on your blog. I know it must be terrifying for you to share with tons of people something so painful and close to your heart.
Something people need to learn is that words have real meaning. People throw around a lot of talk with no regard to where and how the words will land on others.
"The tongue is sharper than any two-edged sword" I really believe that.
I had a similar situation growing up but it stemmed from my being overweight and frumpy. I had horrible acne as well and braces. I was also home schooled so being around people I didn't know and getting looks of disgust and snickers stabbed me straight into the soul. Being on our city's high school swim team while still being overweight and feeling so ugly was the worst because the other girls were popular and had beautiful bodies but I learned pretty quickly that physical beauty and real inner beauty don't always go hand in hand.
You have that real inner beauty, it comes out in your blog and in your art. The pain you felt from years of verbal abuse and self doubt could have changed you into a hard, cold person but it didn't. Even though I don't know you except from your blog it's plain to see that you have a kind and beautiful spirit. As well as a gorgeous outside!
Take comfort in the fact that because you went through horrible situations you have the ability to reach out to so many girls and women who need to know that there is someone out there that understands them. That's what you're doing, you're helping heal other people.
Thank you for that.

Holly F. said...

Moorea, I was so deeply touched by your story, and then you mentioned that you went to the U of R and I started crying! I grew up in Redlands and was teased through all four years at Redlands High School for my zits and my large, disproportionate chest. I left Redlands, in part, to get away from being objectified in that way. Thank you for taking me back there, if only to help me realize how far I've come and how much I love myself now.

I'm most definitely taking your nail painting challenge and am going to post a link to this on my social media outlets to inspire others to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Boy! This was an emotional post! Were we ALL bullied in high school? I'm thinking (possibly) yes. I won't go into details, but you ring true in every aspect of your view of self-confidence. I am a fairly new reader, but I am astonished by your story and appreciative that you would bring this out and share it. That is so difficult and I applaud you sincerely. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. I just recently started following your blog, but I love it. This post made me think back to when I was bullied in school, but you have given me a new way of looking at it. And for the record, I would never have guessed any of those things about you because I think you are gorgeous.

Becky said...

This post brought me to tears - how heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. I know I don't know you very well, but I feel so proud of you for being the person to love yourself no matter what - what an incredible battle you've had.

I think the line that stuck out most to me was "Words pierce a person's heart much faster than a stick or a stone." Amen. I wish more people would realize that - especially when it comes to bullying!

I gave up painting my nails for Lent, but come Easter I will definitely be joining you in this series! (Oh, and I took Accutane for awhile in high school and was cringing with you because it does make your skin so much worse for awhile!)

Thank you for posting this Moorea - seriously. You are amazing.

bg said...

When you chose to post this, I don't think you could have understood how far this will go and how many lives you will touch. It's beautiful, really, as are you. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, for your courage and honesty.

This gets to so many hidden parts of my heart. <3

Sarah said...

Moorea, this is such an incredible and honest and powerful post. I don't think we can imagine how many people this has touched and helped and it is so brave of you to put this out there. I love the conversation that this has sparked and feel inclined to add a little to it.

It's amazing the lasting impact our childhood/teen years can have on us. That the stupid and hurtful things that children say (children who often don't know any better and are themselves self-conscious) can leave us doubting ourselves years later. I had a friend for many years who thrived on making me feel like a less important person. We finally just had to break up as friends because it was a very one-sided relationship. But it took me nearly 20 years to realize that the relationship just couldn't work.

So thank you for this post and I wish you all the best. I can't wait to keep reading your blog. You are so inspiring!

Anonymous said...

Wow this post really hit home with me during highschool I was always approached by guys because i had big boobs and big butt, I know everyone always use to say wow you are sooo lucky you have big boobs but I hated it. The guys at school use to nickname me Kelly Baat (stands for Big Arse And Tits) nice huh!! Anyway I use to get really self concious about it,but now I fully embrace the curves, but it did really hurt my self esteem for a long time it has only been recently where I have felt comfortablt just being ME!!
Thanks for sharing Moorea

baaarooke said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

In the past few years I made the decision to express myself and be proud of being different. I've got curves, I love colour and I know through high school I kept a lot of the real me hidden because I didn't want to stand out or be the "different" kid in school. Needless to say I am much happier now (at 27) being myself and expressing myself in anyway I see fit (even if other people don't understand it and comment about it).

Good on you for making that positive decision to accept yourself for exactly who you are and making that choice to love yourself for it. This post is truly inspirational and has hit home with so many people (I just read through the comments - WOW).

I paint my nails crazy colours all the time but now thanks to this post I will see it as a reminder that my self expression truly is beautiful.

Thank you!

The Procrastination Princess aka Katie said...


Good on your for being so brave, honest and for tackling your emotions and fears head on. I only just blogged last week about my recent decision to paint my nails a bright pretty colour (purple in fact) despite the fact that I always felt like having painted nails made me look like a drag-queen...(?) Honestly, where do these horrible little insecurities come from?! Now I have a newer and more exciting reason for painting my nails (besides from the fact that when I did paint them purple I actually felt more womanly than ever), and would love to send you a picture after I paint them a new colour of aqua tonight!

Thanks for your inspiration!! I'll be following your blog closely :)

~ Katie

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful, honest post.

I was always the quirky, arty, weird kid at school - I didn't get actively picked on (because I ignored anyone who tried) but I was always the outsider. I never wanted to pretend to be someone I wasn't, but I couldn't understand why being me meant being left out.

Anyway, years after leaving school, I ran into one of the pretty, popular, generic-looking girls in a different city and she told me how miserable she'd been at school always having to conform and how much she'd admired me and wanted to know me better for daring to be myself. It was lovely for me to hear but also heartbreaking - how many of us are miserable and lonely at high school and never have the courage to say so?

Alycia (thecuriouspug.com) said...

wow moorea, what a great post! i am so sorry people made you feel bad about yourself that is not fair. when is it anyone's business to tell you to stop making that face for such-and-such a reason? that makes me angry! what does it matter to them what your face is doing? what makes that person think they have any right to say that? they are ugly on the inside. thanks for sharing your story. you are beautiful inside and out <3

naomi: said...

oh my. i'm a visitor via Sometimes Sweet, and this post was just so lovely. thank you for sharing, it was such an uplifting way to start my day :)
you're lovely.

Anonymous said...

after reading this post, i was inspired to read more (and i did!). some things you've said spoke straight to my soul. thank you for being so candid, and so beautiful.

The Fancy Lady said...

i just read this whole thing i thinks its amazing you did this post i wouldn't have the guts to share my story with all my readers i was teased in middle school for being overweight by highschool it had stopped since i was such a bitch they were scared to say anything but its something that stays with you for along time even after hs i lost over 100lbs and still feel like i could be skinnier but as i got older i have realized that i will never be stick thin its just not in my design i need to just be happy with the way i am .
your beautiful by the way this was such a lovely post

pangaloon said...

A beautiful, heart felt, and poignant account of the deepest of heartbreaks, and then the phoenix rising. I resonate more than you can image, it bring tears to my eyes. I have a long way to go before I fully accept my body- I have spent the last 10 years wearing what fits, not what speaks to me or represents me. I am so inspired by your honesty and intergrity.Much love your way. Jo x

Bonnie Joy said...

This post made me tear up. Thank you- I really needed to read this today.

Sarah said...

I read it alllll, girl. You're so open and honest, it fills my heart!

You are SO beautiful (SO BEAUTIFUL), I can't imagine such bullying happening to you. The torment you faced has obviously made you a more compassionate, understanding, and open person. It's a rarity and you have it all in spades.

Thank you for sharing, I know it will bring awareness and comfort to your readers. ♥

Elizabeth @rosalilium said...

Thank you for this beautifully honest post. I am so pleased you have found a way to love yourself, it is such a struggle for many of us.

One thing though, any friend that says cruel things like is NOT a friend. Don't hang around with toxic people. Life it too short for that nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow i found this through someone else's blog and it just got me. Like im starting to haave that realisation about myself to and i posted about it a few days ago. So i totslly get you, obviously our experiences are different but i get it. And its good that you love yourself and i feel like im starting to love myself too even though it took me a long time to get here and i still have a long way to go.
But thanks for this post, sometimes it sort of helps knowing that youre not the only one that feels that way you know :) x

Kelley Kronic said...

I really wish I had known you in highschool. I feel like this is something I would of written myself. I've always been made fun of for being a 6 ft tall female. I have small features because of my height and never filled out so even though I'm 20 I still hear it. I've always been extremely shy and nervous around peole it hard for me to be in public and meet new people because of it. This post made me feel less alone in this.

Ingrid said...

oh, you beautiful, beautiful woman. i am crying. i share your story so closely - though under different circumstances - and i am right there beside you on this long journey. i come from a past tainted with emotional and psychological abuse from my dad, and my teenage years were filled with dark thoughts and self hatred. it has taken me a long time, but i have, as you have, (and oh, your words speak to me as if i had written them!) made the choice to see the beauty in myself.
thank you so, so, so much for this. i hope one day to be able to share my own story, too.
big, big hugs to you.


Ingrid said...

What a touching story. You are strong! I'm proud of you even though i don't know you.

Inge said...

Thank you again Moorea, you are really doing well in sharing all this, look at how many people can relate? All these woman who have become amazing even though they share at least a little of what you have been through.
And with this weeks challenge, I'm just gonna have to paint my nails. The other challenges were close to my heart as well, but this one is the one I struggle with the most. Expression of myself simply by talking about the things that matter to me or sharing my views is something I don't do often because of other people's responses. I am trying though. And I will paint my nails this week!

Thanks again, xo Inge

Chelseabird said...

First off, I can't even imagine how hard this must have been to write for you Moorea, but I am so, so happy that you did. The cruelness of people amaze me, and I am so sorry you were subjected to anything but loving words. You are a beautiful person and I thank you for stating what a lot of people are afraid to say. Everyone is beautiful in there own way, and that is a reason to celebrate.

I painted my nails last week after seeing your post. I didn't send you a picture, but next time I do I will.

So much love going your way xoxox

Ruth said...

Thank you.

I too totally get the accutane. It became my life for a year and changed far more than just my acne.

Steff said...

Usually when I see a post with a bunch of comments, I don't comment. It's a weird thing, but I see it as pointless. I bet that you read every one though, so I'm making an exception! hehe

I LOVE this. It's wonderful. I was teased growing up because I was so skinny and tall and people don't realize that saying 'anorexic' and 'twig' and the likes are JUST as hurtful as calling someone fat! It still made me feel like crap and want to go home and cry!

I love it when my partner randomly says he loves something about me that I usually don't like, just like that man did. It's such a wonderful feeling, especially coming from someone who doesn't know you!

This is my first time to your blog and as I was reading it and the description of yourself, I was totally picturing someone ugly, but YOU AREN'T!! You are so beautiful. Thank you so much for writing this. I'm sure it was incredibly to hard to live through it and then write it, but it was wonderful. <3

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing your heart. i know it must be difficult to open up, but when we do, our pain isn't useless. it can affect and help change the hurt someone else is going through. i've had a lot of negative body image issues lately, just trying so hard to be perfect in every way. but i know now, that it's OKAY to not be perfect, and i shouldn't expect that of myself. also, if someone else expects that of me, they are the wrong person to be with. i hope you realize how beautiful you truly are, and let nothing stand in the way of your happiness!:)

p.s. i'm sure you're probably familiar with gala's posts, but just incase you're not, here's the link...


Courtney said...

I have never read your blog before today. This post contained so much that I can relate to! Although I am now comfortable with my body and self, I needed to read this to remind myself to love me. Thank you for pouring your heart out and sharing.

jew. said...

look how many people think you're great!

Marizabeth said...

I know what you mean. I read through this post and thought... how many of us went through similar situations and felt so very isolated? When I was six, I "fell in love" with a guy friend of mine. I thought I loved him until my 16th birthday. During that time, he would always say things to me, like "look at you, who would ever love you?" or "all my friends have hot girlfriends, and all I have is you: my ugly, tag-along childhood friend". It devastated me. When I was 16, I started dating my first boyfriend, but quickly realized he didn't LOVE me for me as much as lust after me. I was teased a lot for being so short (I finally peaked at 5'1" by my senior year and last time I was measured I am shrinking again) and curvy. Kids called me "wide load" for my hips and "fat" because (even though I weighed less than 100 lbs my whole high school career) I was wider than they were. I now have a lovely fiance who tells me daily how amazing I am, how beautiful I am in every facet. Unfortunately, I am always struggling to tell myself the same thing; to own the beliefs he is instilling in me and to ignore the temptation of wallowing in that familiar and comfortable self-pity. I still see the girl with greasy hair to the backs of her knees, glasses and braces sometimes when I look in the mirror, even though I don't have braces, have stylish glasses and cut my hair short now. It's a constant struggle. Thanks for sharing your story. I will have to email you a photo of my nails to add to your collage! I hope your own internal battle grows less tumultuous as time wears on!

nova said...

Moorea! I never comment but need to delurk here to tell you that your story really touched me. I believe that everybody is struggling with the weird awful things people have said to them in the past. It's great to hear that subtle shift in your outlook is going to make a positive change in your life. I think we could all learn from that random man...sometimes a little happiness and kindness can make a huge difference.

live2create said...

Thank you for having the courage to share this!
I was the "stick girl" as well, and when I eventually blossomed in high school I put all my self worth into the attention and acceptance I received from others. This left me empty and lonely and ultimately on a path to rediscover who I am and how to love myself - and that journey still continues today.
But things are much brighter now.
It is unfortunate that so many of us share experiences like these, but so great that we can support one another and carry on with positivity. :)
Keep being uniquely you!!

Jennifer M. said...

Wow you made me cry! I want to befriend your high school self and let her know she's valued and beautiful. I hate how much words hurt. I think you're right about that saying about words not hurting - I've always thought it odd too. Like somehow it was devaluing the pain I feel when someone says something mean or careless (I'm extremely sensitive emotionally as well). I love how you were able to turn it around and recognize that words can be used to heal also. I need to remember that when I'm feeling down.
PS (and I'm not just saying this) I've always thought the photos of yourself on here are very beautiful. I don't know you personally, but your photos come across to me as someone who has a beautiful, creative soul and a soft, sweet personality.

Marie Bee said...

this resonates with me...i went through something similar. if we lived closer, we'd be good friends. thanks for being so honest and brave in writing this. and my first impression from visiting your blog and seeing your photos was how beautiful you are! i'm not just saying that, either. much love, M.

Aimee Cakes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aimee Cakes said...

Thank you for posting this. It was both beautifully written and honest. I too was teased in high school. Not nearly to the extent that you seemed to have been but it hurt me deeply. I am a very sensitive person and also a very tall and skinny person. In high school I was 5'11 and weighed only 110 pounds. I tried incessantly to gain weigh by shoving piles of chocolate, chips and well, basically anything fattening, into my mouth. However, I never could gain weight. People at school and even teachers would make comments about my stick-figure body. There were rumors that I was anorexic (which I wasn't) and it hurt my self-esteem really badly. I was also very flat-chested so I was teased for that, too.
I had a lot of friends but I didn't have many boyfriends. I was always the giant, skinny girl with no boobs. What a nightmare that was.
The guys that I did date always ended up liking one of my friends with big boobs. Now-a-days, things are much better. Once I left high school I realized a similar thing to what you realized. If I don't believe in myself, who will? I gained this confidence after high school and ever since have been very successful with friends and men. I get hit on often and now, instead of people calling me anorexic or a giant, I get told I should be a model. I stand tall knowing that although I do have a different body type than everyone else, I have no reason to be ashamed of it. I was made to feel ashamed for so long and I hated myself because of what others would say about me. But, oh no, not anymore. I hope everyone who has ever been bullied or felt like they were unworthy of love and compassion realize their true beauty lies within them. I hope that everyone can be confident in who they are and not what others say they are. <3

Aimee Cakes

Amylou said...

I know that I'm super late in reading this, but I just had to comment. I read the entire post and I really identify with what you said. Their are lots of parts of my body that I have been ashamed about. I too struggle with my expressions and being told I look weird or just mad at everyone, when I am simply bein contemplative. It does hurt when people say this. Thank you for writing this. I really needed to hear it! And what a wonderful man to say such an amazing thing about you. What a blessing!

Danielle said...

You're an amazing person and a beautiful girl<3 I've had many friends and boyfriends who've put me down because they think it's ok, but it's not. Ive found that disconnecting myself from those people and finding friends who really care about ME( in all my nerdiness) is the best remedy. I'm beautiful and weird and awkward.. And my friends should love me for that:) I admire you so much for sharing such a personal story with us. Thank you:)

Jenna said...


This is my first time reading your blog, there was a link to this post via Sometimes Sweet, and I am SO GLAD I read it. I really needed to. I've been struggling with my self-confidence lately. And I've suffered from depression in the past, so I totally know how you feel. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your thoughts and pain, and although I'm sure it was really hard to do.. It is beautifully inspiring to read something so real. Anytime I ever see pictures of you on other blogs, I always think, "She's so pretty! I LOVE her name!" :) And I'm not just saying that. I agree with the above commenter who said that God was telling you through that man that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. He thinks you are LOVELY. :) And you are!

This is also an excellent reminder to be kind to strangers, and give genuine compliments whenever possible, as we all struggle with similar insecurities.

Thank you so much for being you. And reminding me I need to do the same. I will paint my nails a new color this week for a reminder.

God bless you! <3

Jen said...

oops! i put the wrong blog title in with my name, on the previous post.

its : we-three-trees.blogspot.com

sorry! <3

Anonymous said...

I had never seen your blog before this post, and what a wonderful first impression I got.

Firstly, before I even read your post, I saw your picture at the side, and I think you are beautiful. In fact, I've got a little bit of a girl crush going on here!

And now, on to your post. I am completely moved by your strength to love yourself. I'm a teenage girl, and I don't think I've ever been called "ugly", so I can't imagine what you went through. But I have been called "fat" in the past, and my mother calls me fat on a regular basis. Other people don't call me ugly, but I call myself it every time I look in the mirror.

You have given me the hope that some day, I might just accept (and maybe even love!) myself. And I cannot thank you enough for that.

Also, reading through the rest of your blog, you inspire me further (I sound like such a suck-up, I'm sorry!). I identify with a lot that you post, in particular your "There is nothing wrong with being alone" post. As a teenage girl, I see so many other girls my age going out with their friends (and consequently talking about it on Facebook / Twitter). My own friends invite me out (though this happens less frequently lately), and while I do go out sometimes (about once a month.. is that bad?), I choose not to go out a lot of the time. I was so glad to see that I wasn't the only one in the world who chooses to stay on their own sometimes, for the pursuit of happiness in their own way. Thank you again for that.

Yours warmly,

Anonymous said...

This was so sweet and moving. People like man in the coffee shop are like angels. Because of people like them I ALWAYS try to make myself say something nice I'm thinking about someone (to the person) no matter how awkward it might be because I know it could make their day, or more.

I was so sorry to read about all the garbage you went through in school. High school especially is really hard... and you clearly survived it with grace.

GREAT post! xoxo


Cheray Natalie... said...

Thank you so much for sharing this Moorea - moved to tears to say the least!
Growing up I was very strong willed & managed to let most things bounce off me. Like you, I grew up a stick & almost overnight I went from no boobs to very large boobs but still on my stick frame. I had a girl come up to me at school camp and say "I was just talking to some of the guys & I realised your boobs are bigger then mine! How does it feel to have the biggest boobs in our school?!" I laughed it off, as I laughed off most of the things people would say about me, but by the time I turned 18 it was as if all the years of hurtful words wore me down :( I got acne in the last year of high school but I never really thought of myself as having bad skin until a lady came up to me out of nowhere & said "Your skin is terrible! are you on anything for it?" I shook my head, kind of in shock & she continued with, "why?! Don't you want to be normal?" That's when that sinking feeling started to creep in, but the past few years have been a battle with myself, though I am trying really hard to love myself.
I'm so glad that lovely man gave you that note <3
Your blog has been inspiring me constantly since I found it.
thank you so much for sharing your stories
much love
Cheray xxx

Anonymous said...

holy crap. what a beautiful, beautiful post! i'm all teary now.

you know, i just started reading your blog recently and would have never in a million years thought that you were insecure about yourself. ever.

you are such an inspiration! thank you! xoxo

jenny aka. little j. said...

Hi Moorea! I'm a new reader and firstly, I'm boggled at how it took me this long to find you. You & your blog are amazing!!!

Secondly, I want to thank you so so so much for taking the time and courage to write this post. It really means a lot to me! I am 24 as well and have always been the "pretty girl's friend" as well (and still am, really). I've had guys I've crushed on befriend me and use me to get to my friends more times than I want to admit. I was awkward and tomboyish when I was little too. My teeth were messed up for years and I wasn't able to get braces until I was TWENTY. And then I had to be the college girl with braces for three years. Even now that they are off, I'm still self-conscious of my smile. And then at 23 I went on anti-anxiety medication that made me gain a ton of weight. Talk about never-ending image issues.

But, you are so so sooo right about words. I can't really control how much I hurt when I am told something mean or harsh (one time I posted a photo of myself in a bathing suit on my blog and reiterated how much courage it took for me to post it for a friend who requested to see it; an anon still decided to kick me while I was down and more or less called me fat...) HOWEVER, I have learned to value the kind words that people say, and focus on those positives... and remember them when something less than nice comes out another time. We can't change our sensitive souls, but we can try to focus on emphasizing those positive words, and less on the negative.

I also want to let you know that you are BEAUTIFUL. Honestly, I cannot picture you ever being awkward or acne-covered. You really do look fantastic. I hope you can continue to embrace that.



Chloe said...

I lovelovelove this. I absolutely needed this and I love when people write things about beauty, bullying, and self image, so I thank you, because there are many people out there who need to hear this kind of stuff. Having just finished my first year of high school, I have also just experienced some pretty harsh bullying for the first time, and from my own best friend. Needless to say, I don't need friends who have decided to hate and criticize everything about me, so that friendship is over. I only hope I can find wonderful people who make me feel good about myself like you say your friends do. I'm shy, but I'm not going to let that stop me from making new friends this year! This is a beautiful post and you are beautiful. I'm a little late to this post, but my nail polish is chipping so I think I'm in need of a new color this week! :)

Jess said...

I'm rather new to your blog and have been reading a few posts on and off for a few months, admiring your content and your creativity. What really made me realize that you're as much as a kindred spirit as I was when I read this post. I was nearly brought to tears because I too have been a victim of bullying for many years, and I'm slowly but surely gaining confidence in myself and learning to love myself. I have even been criticized for the facial expressions I make, which tears me up to no end because it's not exactly something I can change!
Long story short, I love this entry, and I think you are a wonderful and beautiful person, both inside and out. My nails are au naturel tonight, but rest assured they'd be painted tomorrow. :)


Lindsey said...

I began to type out some of my own story, but I realized it would be too long-winded. Suffice it to say that I've been the only one bullying me, and you've given me some of the inspiration I've needed to be better to myself... to love myself again.

It's funny how a person can reach out to a stranger with the right words that they've found at the right time.

Thank you.

Alejandra said...

just reading through your posts, i happened on this one. it's really beautiful. i think you are a really beautiful person, it's easy to tell, even from your pictures. so happy you're here with us, one of our great blog friends!

Monica @ All Things Lovely said...

I just now found this and I am so grateful I did. It was such a good reminder to myself that I need to reevaluate how I perceive myself. I think at some point all of us get a chance to realize their/our own beauty, but its remembering it always that is the tricky part. There are different times, times of change of self or body that make us forget our beauty or worth. How silly. And then the different aspects of ourselves{like how you said you accepted your body finally, but still have issues with excepting your expressions} we learn how to accept at different times of our lives and I think that is okay. Knowing ourselves and accepting ourselves is such an important thing that it's okay if we don't do it over night. Sometimes I want to be perfect NOW not just in looks but in skills and such, but I have to always remind myself that it's okay if it doesn't happen NOW. Also, I too understand the whole facial expressions thing, throughout life I have come to realize what my face looks like when doing certain things...like yawning, laughing, 'deep thought not paying attention to how my face' faces and just plain ol talking...and to me all of the above I am doing weird. And I get really embarrassed for myself when I find out what I looked like doing one of those. BUT I think we/I forget that we all make a few awful faces...some have just perfected not doing them...or some care to much about it and worry themselves too much or like some of your friends...they THEN point those things out to another. Anyway, my point is thanks for this, I needed this. I have been raised to know who I am and to understand my worth so I am grateful for those roots and believe so strongly that girls should grow up or at least start now knowing those things. So many women today focus on being "perfect" instead of just focusing on accepting themselves.Thanks for spreading the idea of self acceptance.

Brenda Wilkerson said...

THANK YOU for your bravery in sharing all this. I can relate and am encouraged!

Deanna Ashworth said...

Moorea, I'm so glad I found your blog. I was also a victim of the cystic acne and went through the whole acutane process while I was 16. You have no idea how much this helped me realize my own pain from other people's words, making me feel like a monster as well. I've been trying to come to terms with my own insecurities and rise above them, but I still have troubles. Reading this gives me hope. I know it takes time to be more comfortable with yourself, but the whole reminder through painting your nails is brilliant!
Thank you!

Penny Rader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

I just started wandering around your blog because it's SO so pretty, and then I happened across this post, and I saw, suddenly, how similar our stories are--the perception of the body, the skin, the "mother mary," the boys/lack thereof, and the transfer in college to get a new start, and the realizing that with or without so-called perfect beauty, we can both struggle and learn to love ourselves as we are. So thank you for sharing this, because even two years after you posted it, it's encouraging me.