“I am not my validation”

It seems benign. Girls are trained from the youngest age to tell their friends how pretty they look when they nervously exit dressing rooms, sporting a new dress or pair of jeans. We are so aware of the platitude, but nevertheless, drink it up like it’s water and we have been lost in a desert of self-deprecation since we started wearing training bras. I have become an avid collector of validation – I store each compliment in a piggy bank like I might go bankrupt one day and truly find that I am worthless. At some point between the first time my parents told me I was smart and last week when the drunk man whistled at me from the car window, I realized that I was not just collecting compliments, I was sustained by them.

A day without one is a day where my accomplishments mean nothing. Despite all the words I have gathered in notebooks since I was a child, it seems that I can’t find the proper string of syllables to ensure myself that I am worthy of happiness. If a girl suffocates under the pressure of seeking perfection, will anyone hear her last breath? Or will she just be another woman – waiting for validation – while fulfillment speeds so quickly by that no amount of makeup will ever allow her to attain it?