Young and Free and Beautiful

Courtney & Melissa, 1996, young and free and beautiful

I did a radio interview today about increasing numbers of teen girls getting plastic surgery, Body Dismorphic Disorder, eating disorders, and negative body image. It disturbed me, because as a teen those thoughts were far from my mind. I was simply too busy living to be standing in front of the mirror. I remember a brief period when I obsessed over the idea that one of my nostrils was a different size than the other. But I otherwise was just too busy leading a very full life of sports and sailing and school clubs and hanging out with friends and babysitting to give much time to my nostrils. Sure I cared about being “pretty”, but I thought I was pretty. And I liked my body. I feel that way about myself today.

I called my best friend, Courtney, this afternoon and asked her if she remembered thinking any of those things. Amid jokes about wearing lots of flannel and regret that we didn’t learn until college about eyebrow waxing, neither of us can remember thinking these things in high school. We talked about how sad we felt that girls, and women, think so poorly about their beautiful bodies and faces.

So, we’d like for a new mantra to be adopted. Instead of “I’m so fat” or “I’m so ugly” etc….We’d like for you all PLEASE to start saying “I am young and free and beautiful” next time you look in the mirror.

Young and Free and Beautiful

by: Courtney, 1995

Three things to define me

my life, who I want to be, what I will be, what I am

I will live my life always

as I am young and free and beautiful; inside and out

Everything around me, near me, within me will tell me

I am young and free and beautiful

All of my dreams will be

all of my hopes will be

all of my wishes and friends and places and family and thoughts will be

young and free and beautiful

All that I create or desire or befriend or help or see will be

young and free and beautiful

Only in this way will I know myself, other people, or how to live

I will be, I am to be, I am

young and free and beautiful.


  1. As a mom of two amazing girls who are beautiful in every way to me this is so great to reach. Thanks for continuing to elevate these issues and create a topic that should be as central to families as eating right. Honestly…..thanks a bunch!! xo

  2. I am young and free and beautiful. Thank you.

    When I was in high school in the early 80’s, my best friend was anorexic. I wasn’t, but we spent all our time together. We weighed ourselves many times a day, every day. I’ll never forget that.

    Damn if I’ll let that be my daughter. She will be young and free and beautiful. (And my son, too, for that matter.)

  3. body image issues are starting so early. it is so scary. my daughter is 7 and she is already telling me that she is fat, because her friend called her “chubby” once. i have to change the way i think about myself so she doesn’t hear me talking negatively about my body, which will just reinforce the thought that the friend planted in her head. thanks for the reminder and encouragement.


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