I definitely connected to these essays by Mairs and Grealy. Both of these authors are very inspiring to many people of all ages. I connect with Grealy the most because I’m going through a compulsive condition that affects that way I look. I stated in my “I Believe” essay that I have a disorder called Trichotillomania. It is a disorder in which a person pulls their hair during stress, anxiety or depression. I had bald spots everywhere on my head so I would wear a hat or bandana to cover my head. This all started when I was starting middle school, where kids were acting out and bullying in the worse ways. Kids would threaten to pull my hat off or even try to attempt to pull it off. I remember being eighteen years old; sitting in the salon and it was the day of my prom. I went to the hair salon to try and get my hair done. My hair was a little better, but you can still see the huge bald spot on my head. I would hear the whispers of the customers and hair stylists wonder what happened. I remember the curious, but judgmental, eyes staring at me the whole time. Going to prom was supposed to be a happy day that people were supposed to remember for the rest of their lives. I remember walking out of that salon feeling ugly and embarrassed. Even though Grealy and Mairs conditions and situations are ten times worse than mine, I can still relate to them on some level.
Grealy’s essay, especially, is an essay anyone can relate to. Throughout the story, she talks about how hard it is to look at herself in the mirror. She was ashamed of the way she look and tried so many different ways to fix or cover her face. She covered her face with her hair or her scarf, and talked to many doctors to see if any surgery would work. She tried whatever it took to make herself not look like some “monster” that people see. People bullied her so much that she almost started to believe that she was this “monster” everyone made fun of. I know how exactly how she feels because I would almost never look in the mirror. I was too ashamed of how I look and would never look at anywhere where there was a reflection. I remember the steps I took in order to actually force myself to look in the mirror.
I actually envy Mairs a little. She is going through this horrible disease with such positivity. She’s not letting this condition hold her back. She has the support of her husband and family and she chooses to live her life without any regrets. I commend her for such bravery because it would be difficult for anyone to go through this condition with such courage. I wish I had some of that bravery and positivity. If I had some of that, I wouldn’t care what anyone thought of me. This author is amazing and I look up to her.
These essays have me reflect on how society wants us to look like. The entertainment industry shapes our view on beauty in so many ways. Magazines always show pictures of skinny girls with long luscious hair and beautiful big eyes. They want people to have the best brand clothes, or the prettiest makeup or hair. The industry focuses so much on the outside of a person, rather than the beauty people hold on the inside. If people weren’t so close-minded and focused on the outside, everything would be easier and individuals wouldn’t be so ashamed of their looks. People should be open-minded and dig through the outer appearance and focus on how beautiful people are on the inside.