I firmly believe that self-confidence and liquid eyeliner are the most important things in the world.
But loving yourself isn't something that you do once. It's something you decide to do every single day — and then you go out there and slay the world with your confidence.
Some days, that's easier than others. As a woman on the internet, I'm used to strangers discussing my appearance. But I'm not used to that conversation fundamentally changing the way I see myself for the better — until now.
I posted this picture to Instagram three weeks ago, and I was shocked at the response it got.
I was ready for people to freak out over my red outfit, over the fact that I was wearing a crop top, over my lipstick — BAWSE by Smashbox, btw — but that's not what got people's attention.
It was the freckles on my stomach.
"This seems weird to say but I love how the top shows the moles on your stomach," said one of my followers. "I'm a very moley person and have several that would show if I wore a similar outfit."
#MolePositivity and #MolePride started popping up in my Instagram comments and Twitter mentions. I was praised for my tummy freckles, and someone even told me they were cute.
Never in my life have I been complimented on my moles. The closest thing to positive feedback I've gotten about them is being told they're not cancerous at my yearly mole-check.
Needless to say, the sudden inundation of adoration was pretty intense. Especially because I've only ever been told that my moles are ugly. It's part of why I was convinced I was a hideous monster as a kid — and also why I still hesitate when it comes to wearing low-backed dresses or crop tops.
But that's all about to change.
This is my stomach, and these are my moles. I have never felt OK showing them off like this.
They are not ugly.
They are not blemishes.
They do not make me an unattractive person.
They do not diminish my worth as a human being.
They are a constellation on my body, and I accept and love them the way I accept the accept and love the rest of myself.
My moles are a fabulous part of me. And I am a queen, from the freckles on my neck to the single mole on my left thigh.
Our differences make us special. And, as long as my dermatologist says they're OK, I am going to start appreciating my many moles and freckles a HELL of a lot more. After all, life is too short not to wear crop tops.