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Lemme tell you about something that I am incredibly, stupidly, burningly passionate about: the selfie. I bet half of you have groaned and moved onto the next article. I bet some of you snorted, and upon seeing that I’m a petite, white, blonde haired, green eyed girl, you decided I was vapid and shallow. Well, you’re wrong, but you keep living in your sad lil world.

I grew up hating myself. I take self-consciousness to a whole new level. It’s unhealthy and has lead me down some dark roads. My teeth were crooked. My lips were too thin. My cheeks too chubby, hair too curly, thighs too big stomachtoofatfeettoosmalluglyuglyUGLY UGLY U G L Y. I would make lists of everything I hated about myself from head to toe that were literally pages long, and come up with a detailed plan to change every single thing I hated (spoiler alert, that was pretty much my whole body, and, double spoiler alert, nothing ever changed).

I used to shy away from the camera. I used to make ugly faces or cover my face with my hair or just run away all together. There are no pictures of me from middle school because of my absolute hatred of the camera (which may be fortunate, since it misses my emo phase altogether). I figured it was better to purposely make myself look stupid than try to look nice and end up looking bad.

The first time I saw the word selfie, I had to Urban Dictionary it because I didn’t know what it meant, in about 9th grade.

Who would ever willing take pictures of their face, and post them to social media?

Dumb girls. Girls that have nothing to offer other than their looks. Girls who can’t hold a conversation about anything other than makeup and Britney Spears. Right?

Wrong. Little by little, I opened up to the selfie. And now, I have beautiful memories of my friends and myself at events and locations I’ll never get to revisit.

But something more than that, I learned to love myself more. I no longer hate my smile or my lips or my hair. When I have a good face day or put together an outfit that I love I can document it. And then, on days when I’m feeling down about myself, I can go back and see these pictures and remember that I’m not a hideous beast.

Selfies made me feel pretty for the first time in my life. They gave me confidence, taught me to appreciate my face, and made the camera no longer a phobia.

So no, angry men who get annoyed every time they see a girl with a camera on front-facing. I am not stupid (I have my degree in chemistry, after all), nor am I vain or shallow or any of those negative things you associate with girls learning to appreciate themselves aesthetically. Maybe you should try to take a selfie once in a while.

(BTW. Girls duckface because it makes their eyes bigger. Get over yourselves)