High School Essay Winner Receives $1000 "Smile With Your
Denise Elysabeth Friedman
I'm fat. Not ugly, but fat. That right away separates me from
most girls my age. Another thing that separates me is that I know
the difference between fat and ugly, and that none of it really
matters as long as you know how to keep smiling.
Fat is a fact, not an opinion. Someone 4'11 and 300 pounds is
fat. There is no such thing as "thinking you're fat." A person
either is or isn't. Fat is an adjective, the same way as thin,
tall, short, blue, and green are adjectives. I never used to see
it that way. I always thought that something was wrong with me,
that I was defective because I was fat. Now, I've realized that
being fat doesn't make you ugly. Being ugly makes you ugly. I'm
not even talking about things that are strictly physical. Someone
who is rude, nasty, mean or anything like that instantly becomes
physically repulsive, where someone who may not be the stereotypical
beauty could be the most amazing person in the world. I know I'm
not classically beautiful, but I know how to smile, and to keep
smiling. One of the tricks is to walk the right way. I know that
I feel low when I don't look good, because it's a cycle. Looking
good and feeling good are directly connected. If you wake up feeling
sad, then you won't put as much effort into how you look, and
then when you look in the mirror you'll feel sad all over again.
It's no different for a size 18 woman than for a size 4 woman.
I wear dark boot cut jeans, V-neck shirts, and black boots with
my black coat. I put effort into my looks, and my weight doesn't
matter. I walk with a strut, not in a egotistical way, but in
a way that says, "I know who I am, what I am, and there's absolutely
nothing any of you can do about it." All that works, all of that
attitude, it all amounts to nothing without a smile. People think
the mouth is where the smile is really found, but that's not where.
The smile is really found in the eyes. When I walk down the hall,
shoulders straight, hips swinging, the sound of my boots hitting
the floor as I make my way through the world, I feel just as good,
if not better, than a woman who weights 90 pounds. And it shows
in my eyes. My perfectly arched eyebrows and dark, dramatic eye
makeup frame a smile in my eyes no match for the smile on anyone
else's face. I've learned that no matter what life throws me,
no matter how different I may seem to be, no matter how much I
weigh, as long as I keep smiling, everything will be okay.#
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