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I’m 14 years old, and my looks make me want to die

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a 14-year-old girl, and I’m ugly. The idea that I am ugly is always in my head.

When I go out, I always see girls my age wearing cute clothes and having a great time. I feel so inferior to them, I end up running back home. I always try to hide my ugly self when I go out.

My family and friends say to me, “Nobody looks at you so carefully, so don’t worry.” All I can think of when I hear that is, “You all laugh at ugly people, don’t you?”

It doesn’t work if an ugly girl like me wears cute clothes, so I never dress up. As I can’t stand looking at myself for a long time, I don’t wear makeup either.

Even if I work on my personality and study hard, my face won’t change. This all really discourages me, and I just don’t feel like doing anything anymore.

Why am I so ugly? I wish I was dead. I keep staying in bed, crying about all this.

Do I have to live like this for years and years to come? I’m really scared.

R

Dear Ms. R:

If you are scared of something, even a withered pampas grass can look like a ghost to you. If you are obsessed with the idea that you are ugly, you will feel ugly no matter what you do.

You don’t wear cute clothes. You don’t put on makeup. You don’t try to improve your personality or study hard, all because you think you’re ugly. “I’m ugly” is like a curse that clamps down on your desires and deeds.

First, you didn’t appear to write this letter asking for advice. The letter sounds like, “You can’t help me anyway,” rejecting the idea of help. To escape this cave you’re trapped in, you need to have a strong will. It won’t be easy, but you can do it.

You are always comparing yourself with others because you want to become an attractive woman much more than anyone else. Basically, you’re someone who hates to lose. Try to recall what happened to you that caused all this in the first place. You may have been hurt by the careless remark of a family member or friend. Or you may have been teased by a boy.

As you want to win so desperately, you are deeply hurt by the feeling you’re a loser. If you can find a way to harness that negative energy to do something more productive, I think it would give you tremendous power.

Many people are worried just as you are when going through adolescence, when your body changes from that of a child to an adult. It means your situation can change as time goes by. Learn to let go of things that bother you. Or your self-concept itself could be entirely wrong. Don’t worry too much about years down the road.

Hazuki Saisho, writer

(from March 30, 2015, issue)

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