When I first started thinking of what to make my platform I had a really difficult time deciding. It wasn’t that I couldn’t think of anything to promote with my title, but I couldn’t think of a platform that I was really, really passionate about. I wanted to make sure that whatever I was promoting would be dear to my heart, and something that I really wanted to make people aware of.
After a few weeks of thinking, I finally realized what I should make my platform. I want to promote the idea of positive body image while using my own issues to make my point more personal.
Something people might not know about me is I have scarring on my shoulders. They are acne scars, and I’ve had them since I was about 14. Before I had the scars though, I had very terrible acne.
It first started when I was about 12 and quickly escalated. By the time I was 14, my acne was so bad that I had to go to the doctor to get medication for it because regular soaps and cleansers didn’t cut it anymore. Over the course of a year, I took two different medications and used a special face cream to get rid of my acne, and it worked! However, I was left with some pretty bad scarring, especially on my shoulders. I had big bumps left behind that were quite red, and I even had a few scars that had sunken my skin in.
For the first couple of years I absolutely hated my skin. I never wore tank tops or any that would show off my shoulders. I hated wearing a bathing suit. If I went shopping and found a shirt that would show my shoulders, I would have to buy a jacket or cardigan to go over top otherwise I wouldn’t buy it. I felt trapped in my own skin.
Eventually I went to my doctor, who referred me to a plastic surgeon. I went to see that doctor, who ended up telling me there were a few procedures that could be done to fade the appearance of the scars. Over the span of a year, I got three laser procedures done. They were quite painful and required some recovery time, but each time I did one I noticed my scars were slightly less visible, so I kept on getting them done. At one point my plastic surgeon suggested that I have surgery on one of my biggest scars to soften the appearance of it, so I also had that done.
It been over a year since I’ve had anything done on my shoulders now, and although the scars are quite faded, they are still noticeable. The difference now though is that I don’t mind anymore.
As I’ve grown up and matured, I’ve realized that I don’t have to be defined by these scars. Yes they may be one of my biggest imperfections, but I have so many other great qualities that I used to overlook because of them. Instead of looking into the mirror and hating how my skin looks, I look into the mirror and see that I have pretty eyes or a nice smile. I see myself as more than just one flaw. I see a girl, who when you put all of her great qualities together, is beautiful and kind and confident, and I want every young girl to feel like that.
Having the audience that Miss Teenage Canada does you are bound to have many young girls looking up to you. I myself looked at the past Miss Teenage Canada winners, and thought to myself “Wow, they are so beautiful!” …but then I thought about my shoulders. None of the past winners seem to have noticeable imperfections like I do, and at one point I thought my dreams of being Miss Teenage Canada were over because nobody’s going to pick a girl with a big flaw.
That’s when it hit me: I can focus on my flaws and bring myself down, or I can use my flaw as my own personal reason for being Miss Teenage Canada 2015. If I won and I had my pictures and quotes all the media, I would want some girl to look at me and think “She has imperfections, but she still became Miss Teenage Canada”. And maybe that girl has her owns flaws, whether its scarring, or her weight, or an illness. No matter what issue she’s battling, I would want my story to give her strength and to inspire her to chase her own dreams no matter her imperfections.
However, if I won, I would want to do much more than just tell my story. I have ideas for creating a whole website organization around my platform.
When I was younger, along with struggling with my shoulders, I struggled with other things like my weight, which is why my platform revolves around positive body image as a whole, not just my shoulders. I wish I would’ve had a place to go to talk to other people, find out information and have a valuable resource, which is what I want to make a website for. I want to create a website that allows girls to go into forums and discuss their specific issues and have other girls reply and comment. I want to have my own representatives on the website 24/7 with an online chat line, or a call service, or a texting service, where girls can tell their story to somebody like me who has dealt with their own issues. Somebody that will listen, and give advice, and make those girls feel like they aren’t alone.
Another part of this website would be resources. From how to use makeup to cover scars, to the best ways to exercise or diet, to anything and everything that a young girl could use advice on, this website would have information for her.
Although this website would be a huge project and would require a lot of work, I would do anything to make it come to life as great as I imagine it in my head. I want to help young girls, so that we can grow a generation of strong, confident young women who can use their own ideas to change the world.