TRANSITIONS: PART 4 OF 4: acceptance 

Writing by Tatum Van Dam 

Last year, I went to Europe with my brothers and we got dressed up to go out. I had forgotten that because I am away at college for three quarters of the year, they haven’t really been exposed to the way I dress (which is much different than the hoodies and skinny jeans they were used to). That night, I wore platform sandals, a plaid skirt, and a see through glittery long sleeve. My oldest brother told me that I looked “really pretty”, and that stuck with me… given he was the same brother who I hid from while trying on that two-inch strapped tank top in second grade. 

Another thing he told me on that trip was that I am “so nice and kind to everyone” and that I “deserve the world and more”. Oddly enough, that stuck with me a liiiittle bit more. 

The other day, I watched one of Thoraya Maronesy’s YouTube videos where she asked strangers about their biggest insecurities (I highly recommend her channel). After realizing that all of us — strangers and friends alike — are all fighting our own little battles, I decided to write down a list of my insecurities. The list went as follows:

Things I Am Insecure About:

  • My skin
  • The shape of my face
  • My hair
  • Almost everything concerning my outward appearance
  • My social anxiety and nervousness
  • How ^^ causes me to get really hot and red
  • My nose
  • How one of my front teeth is higher than the one next to it
  • Looking young
  • My body
  • My niceness and being taken advantage of
  • My calves

After that, I decided to write down a list of things I love about myself. And that list took nearly three times as long to write.

Things I Love About Myself 

  • My eye color and my eyelashes
  • My style
  • My ability to empathize
  • I am very giving and nice
  • My creativity
  • My need to explore
  • My open-mind
  • My drive to do well
  • My height
  • My ethnicity

Note how nearly every single thing on the first list has to do with the way I look, and nearly every single thing on the second list has to do with things that cannot be judged by the human eye and the subjective mind. The second list is filled with important qualities that will take me far in life, and the first list is filled with things that, if adjusted to what I perceive to be as “better”, will only bring temporary satisfaction.

The only person who needs to learn to love myself is, well… myself. 

I have a best friend who will hype me the f**k up any day, I have five housemates that are like sisters to me, I have a boyfriend who loves me just the way I am, and a family that supports me in anything and everything I do. No one likes hearing the person closest to them say they don’t like themselves. Especially if that “person” is their best friend, roommate, significant other, daughter, or sister. And, personally, I sure don’t like acknowledging the fact that I just can’t ever seem to fully like and accept the way I look.

Trust me, I am trying to work my hardest to convince myself that I am just as beautiful on the outside as I am on the inside.

And, hopefully, putting my thoughts on paper will be a start. 


Tatum Van Dam

Tatum Van Dam is a twenty-one year old individual currently residing in the city most known for the traffic and the stars. She describes her writing style as “creative, relatable, and easy to read — kind of like the essay form of an aesthetically pleasing Instagram page”. When Tatum is not sipping on caffeinated coffee-filled beverages or adoring the alpacas of the internet, she can be found exploring the world, baking sugary pastries, taking photos, or crafting a new playlist to perfection. She may or may not be an aspiring blogger — you can keep up with all things Tatum at!

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