As women, we are conditioned to hate and criticize every aspect of our looks. We lust after the face and figure we can never have, too blinded by jealousy and shame to see what lies under our noses. Despite being told time and time again that we are beautiful and that we should love ourselves and our bodies, with all their perfect imperfections, we don’t believe it. Instead, we continue to scrutinize our appearances in every reflective surface we pass.

Well, starting now, I’m done with all that.

I’ve decided to love my hideous, horrible body. I’ve decided to love my butterball-turkey thighs and my lumpy ankles. I’m making the conscious choice to admire my terrible mouth and my ears that resemble angry, shrieking mushrooms. When I catch my reflection in a storefront window as I pass by on my way to the gym, where I must go each day in order to banish my floppy arm hinges, I smile at what I see, revealing rows of slime-encrusted mouth pegs that make children and dental hygienists squeal with an unyielding horror. I’m choosing to embrace my slop bucket stomach and my millipede eyebrows. I’m choosing, for once in my life, to be happy, no matter how nauseating my bulbous toe-knobs are.

It’s not always easy to be positive when you are this grotesque in appearance. Sometimes I look at my reflection in a mirror or a lake or a particularly clear puddle of water and wish that someone would throw me into the deepest well on earth, where it will be too dark for me to be reminded of my shameful reptilian elbows and asymmetric nostrils. But I’ve learned that when men throw lemons at you on the street and shout, “increase your intake of citrus fruit, you horrid wench” on account of your vile, egg-salad-tinted skin (which they have mistaken for the skin of one afflicted with scurvy), you have to make lemonade! I may not be a size two, but at least I’m not a handful of loose garbage.

Self-confidence and positivity are the first of many steps toward learning to love yourself and your repulsive body. You’ll be surprised how good it feels! So get out there with a smile and your newfound self-esteem, and hope everyone is too horrified by your appearance to notice your god-awful personality.

—R. Lackner