Pretty Hurts

My name is Sasha and I’m a former pageant queen. I started modelling and participating in pageants since I was thirteen years old. Now I’m twenty-one and no longer modelling. To be honest, this wasn’t the career I wanted but I didn’t have much choice when I was thirteen. I followed what momma- which is my mom by the way- said; Stand straight, smile and keep your head up. I did exactly what I was told to; no questions or protests. I never knew it would come to this, though. I never knew the darkness behind it all.

Flashing lights. Bright smiles. Dazzling dresses. Beautiful women. Handsome men. Trophies. It all seemed really pretty from the outside. It wasn’t the same on the inside. The model industry involved constant criticism, overworking and being undernourished. Since young, I had to make sure my weight was “perfect”. Momma made sure of that. Whatever it took to lose weight, we would do. It wasn’t until I was eighteen that I was offered “pills” by one of my model friends that would help me stay slim and energetic. I knew the consequences of using these pills, but my need to be perfect was foremost. These weren’t the kind of “pills” you would find at the doctor. Oh no, these were special. They were great at first. I became the “perfect” model. The one that wouldn’t gain weight. The one with the perfect body and personality. The one that could work all the hours with no problem. It felt great to be called beautiful. The beauty of it all didn’t last long, though.

It didn’t take long before I started suffering from the side effects of the pills; fatigue, puking, insomnia, abnormal pains and rapid weight loss. I knew something was wrong with me but I couldn’t stop using the pills because I knew my career would be over. My doctor, Alejandro, often questioned me. I finally told him what was happening and promised him I would stop. It wasn’t that I didn’t try. I just couldn’t stop. I was addicted. I needed serious help. My model friends would tell me it’s okay and that it was common for this to happen but I knew something wasn’t right with me. I had to visit Dr. Alejandro. If only I had been prepared what he told me. 
“I’ve got bad news, Sasha, “ he said in his Italian accent. 
“What is it, doctor? I told you that I stopped using the slimming pills. What could possibly be wrong now ?” I was anxious. I couldn’t quit the pills, but I didn’t want him to know that. 
“ Sasha, I’m sorry to tell you this, but the test results show that the pills you were taking did severe damage to your kidney” There was a long silence before I answered him. 
“What? What is going to happen now?” I choked out. I was on the verge of tears. 
“For your own safety and for further research; you would have to be admitted immediately to the hospital.”

Now here I am; sitting on this hospital bed writing this story; hoping I can help someone out there that may be going through what I went through. It’s not worth doing all the new trends to be pretty or to fit in. Plastic surgeries, drugs, pills are only temporary fixes for what’s really broken, which is what’s on the inside. It’s not our physique that needs to be changed, It’s the inside; our confidence, our insecurities. We need to learn to love ourselves. Instead of trying to mold into what the rest of the world wants us to be. It ain’t easy but we got to start working on it. I, Sasha, am suffering from my greed to be perfect, but I hope that you won’t make the same mistakes as me. Don’t lose yourself trying to achieve perfection. Tears start to flow down my cheek while the song plays on the radio: 
 “Pretty Hurts 
 We shine the light on whatever’s worst, 
 Perfection is a disease of a nation. 
 It’s the soul that needs the surgery.”

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