am i pretty?
no, but seriously
I spent my 18th birthday crying, my tongue stained orange after drinking three cans of Sparks, asking my party guests if they thought I was pretty. There’s no way to answer that question. Everyone responded affirmatively, but I was inconsolable. I knew I had asked an impossible question, and just kept repeating it. I needed to know the truth.
I recently went to my LiveJournal to see if I had written about this incident, but only found a post containing a few photos of me and my friends dancing with glow sticks in a mostly empty basement. It ends with this: “whoever invented sparks is my hero. what a night.” Was I too embarrassed to recount what had happened? Did I care? Did I talk to any of my friends about it the next day?
My preoccupation with beauty and whether or not I possessed it coincided with my use of the Internet as a teenager. I first began uploading photos of myself to the now-defunct blogging platform Xanga at the age of 14. My dad had a 1.0 megapixel camera and I would borrow it from time-to-time, sneaking it up to my room to take pictures of myself after teasing my hair and throwing together outfits I probably wouldn’t wear out of the house. I became well acquainted with the ritual of snapping a photo from above, then turning the camera around to see if I had gotten a good shot.
I would have questioned my level of attractiveness regardless of the Internet, but being online added an entirely new element. I was able to seek confirmation from strangers, and sometimes people I looked up to.
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