Being beautiful on the inside doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a radical act to look different and be happy in this culture. If you’re obviously, undisguisably Less Than Perfect, you’re not only meant to be unhappy, but deeply ashamed of yourself, projecting at all times an apologetic nature, indicative of your everlasting remorse for having wrought your monstrous self upon the world. You are certainly not meant to be bold, or assertive, or confident—and should you manage to overcome the constant drumbeat of messages that you are ugly and unsexy and have earned equally society’s disdain and your own self-hatred, should you forget your place and walk into the world one day with your head held high, you are to be reminded by the unsolicited comments and contemptuous looks of perfect strangers that you are not supposed to have self-esteem; you don’t deserve it. Being publicly Less Than Perfect and happy is hard; being publicly, shamelessly, unshakably Less Than Perfect and happy is an act of both will and bravery. That is the world in which we live. And being beautiful on the inside doesn’t fucking change that.

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