People say ‘I love you’ in many different ways. ‘Eat something’, ‘buckle up’, ‘get some sleep’, ‘here you can have my fries’, ‘text me when you get home’, ‘be safe’.

It doesn’t make sense to call yourself ugly, because you never really see yourself. You don’t watch yourself curling up in bed after a long day, sleeping, silent with rising and falling chest in rhythm. You don’t see yourself reading a book, eyes fluttering and glowing and looking at that person you care about so much, love and warmth radiating through your face. No mirror can show you when you’re laughing at silly jokes, happiness flooding out of you, the amount of lives you’ve touched, all the battles you’ve fought. You are so much more than a reflection, you are the scrapes on your knees, the jaded mascara, the crumpled polo shirts, the outgrown school shoes, the giggles in your friends. A mirror only shows one tree in the forest, one drop of the ocean, one star in the galaxy. You are complex, beautiful, throbbing; full of heartache and diamonds and flowers and untied shoelaces and a beating heart.

We think that we’re made of numbers. Prices on a tag, dollars in the bank, pounds on a scale, scores on a test, likes on a photo. But we’re not. We’re made of love and depression and memories. We’re made of late night phone calls, sunsets, blowing hair, favorite books, milkshake gossip and the way your friends hold you when you fall apart. We’re humans. We have so much more substance than numbers, reflections in mirrors or outside looks. Humans are beautiful and terrible. We can’t see our own beauty because beauty isn’t perfect teeth and pretty smiles and lovely hair. Beauty is melted makeup on your face in the shower, beauty is the scars on your knee from when you feel down, beauty is that joke that you made which made everyone laugh, beauty is the smell of cut grass, and pouring rain.

Humans are terrible. The way you shout at your parents, the look on your face when you see them with a new person, sobbing on shower floors, wet bed sheets, bleeding, the monster inside you that makes you do horrible things. The ravages of war, the spoils, the hate crimes. Passing people on the street with dead eyes and miserable faces. The snarl on your lips when you fight with your best friend.

Humans are so complicated, unusual, evil and distressed. But in the end we’re all just little animals who get drunk off old fruits and look at the same moon, and dream and all we want in the end is for people to love us.

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