I can remember a time in my early teens when I wore makeup and used a blow-dryer on my hair.  When I turned 12 years old, my parents allowed me to start wearing makeup (and get my ears pierced).  Beauty products were all around the house, between my mother and two sisters, but by the time I turned 14, I was done with “making up” my face and my piercings grew in.  My mom still wears a small amount of makeup, but neither of my sisters wears it on a regular basis, and as far as I know, they haven’t since high school.  The women in my life have helped shape me almost as much as my own experiences have.  Before I was a senior in high school, my oldest sister introduced me to Ani Difranco.  I couldn’t understand then why more girls weren’t as blunt and truthful as her.

Even at 14, I didn’t care that I had acne or that my body didn’t mimic a model’s.  I was too interested in working toward my dream of becoming a journalist.  I was constantly setting goals, and for a short time those goals included making my body more attractive for whoever was paying attention.  Those days didn’t last long, though.

I can’t say that all of my decisions led to embracing myself, but one big decision has helped and hindered me in different ways.  I haven’t owned a television since I was 19 years old.  Since the time I moved out of my parents house at 18, I have only had a television for six months.  My parents always urged me to get involved in my interests, so there wasn’t much time for TV in my adolescence.  In a way, I feel almost left behind from current events, although the Internet has helped keep me informed on choice issues.  But I don’t follow the latest trends and I never seem to know what is going on in the fashion world.  I can embrace myself without the television telling me who I should be.  Ultimately, I think that has made a huge difference in my experiences and in how I present myself to the world.