• Nayana Sen

Ugly Duckling, Beautiful Swan

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Life is about how you see yourself. Make no mistake; it matters. You have to learn to see yourself as the beautiful, radiant, and self-confident goddess that you are. Beauty and brains are sexy, and you don't need to pick one over the other.




You may value intelligence over attractiveness, but your daughters need to hear they are beautiful. Beauty and brains are not contradictory. Yet, people are assigned roles in life based on how they look. I grew up thinking I was ugly, and that really has impacted many things in my life including my relationships. It is no wonder that when a guy would pay me any attention, I'd be so grateful. I never saw myself as pretty or beautiful. I am in my 40's and I finally see it for myself.


It is not a superficial beauty though, it is born of life experiences, pain, growth, loss, heartbreak, and discovering my purpose. I no longer feel the need for validation from anyone else. I am happy and confident in myself. It is with this new found confidence that I am able to make music, write blogs, start a business, homeschool, and so many other things that I couldn't have dreamed of before.


I remember getting off the bus with my friend in middle school who was beautiful. The bus driver said to her I hope someday I see you on the cover of a magazine. He said to me I hope I see you as a scientist making discoveries and changing the world. You know what I heard? You're ugly. In hindsight, that was creepy all around. Grown men have no business telling developing 12-year old girls anything about who they can grow up to be, but I don't think he meant any harm by it. I think he was being encouraging in his way. I never had any aspirations of being a scientist in my life then or now. I have nothing but respect for our women in science, technology, humanities, arts, or any other profession.


It is crazy how other people's voices can become our own. I've heard "you're ugly" many times in life. I look back in pictures and I think who the f@ck told me I was ugly? Why did I believe that? I imagine if I had more self-confidence, I would have done some things differently in my life.


Growing up I wanted to be an attorney because it seemed like I could make my immigrant family proud. Deep inside though, I was really drawn to entertainment, art, music, writing, and so on. I am also smart and funny. I say all this because I was so used to downplaying all my strengths, that I forgot they are real. No one ever told me who to be, but I just assumed a role. Schoolwork always came naturally to me, but as I got older it wasn't interesting. I just thought that if I showed the world how smart and tough I was, that no one would ever question that. It would make sense to the world. Anytime you have to assume an identity other than who you really are, it will make sense to everyone else except you.


You will always struggle to make sense of your purpose here until you can learn to be comfortable in your own skin.

If I could go back in time and tell myself anything it would be you are beautiful and perfect as you are. You do not need to wait for anyone to tell you that. In all honesty, physical beauty is a very subjective thing. I would not focus on physical beauty, but just learn to see yourself as beautiful. There is an entire planet of people living with some kind of insecurity because someone, somewhere told them something that made them feel bad. They carry that garbage around years after they heard it. If you see something good in someone, tell them. Maybe they need to hear it.


I decided earlier this year that I would not let my insecurities stop me from trying to reach for more in life. I have adopted this attitude that if I feel insecure about something, then I'm going to fix my thinking. I will either change the cause of the insecurity or I will push forward feeling insecure. Either way, the goal stays the same and I get closer to the goal.


Cheers to your growth and mine. Let's raise a glass to our collective growth.


3 views0 comments