I always knew that jail wasn’t a good place to explore.  Luckily, I’ve never had reason to visit one.

…for the first time since childhood, I stopped looking in the mirror every time I peed (in a metal toilet in full view of my cellmate, natch). I didn’t worry about my hair. Choosing an outfit was irrelevant. The eyeliner and mascara from that awful night had long since streamed down my face during the initial oh-my-god-I’m-in-jail waterworks and been wiped away. I hadn’t gone makeupless for years, but in there it didn’t matter. It was just a bunch of other women I’d never see again.

In fact, I’d practically forgotten that I even had a face until the catcaller, when suddenly I was reminded of my entirely ornamental purpose in life. The first thing I felt was flattered. Flattered. Wow, he thinks I’m beautiful even without any makeup. It took me an embarrassingly long amount of time (years after that) to realize that beauty has nothing to do with catcalling. An embarrassingly long time to disassociate male attention from self-worth.

In total, I was incarcerated for all of 56 hours. And my case was eventually thrown out. It hasn’t been all roses and self-actualization since then. It’s been a long, hard road paved with intense introspection and court-ordered therapy, and it isn’t half-won yet.

But the foundation was laid in those trenches of rock bottom, when I saw a part of myself I never thought I’d see; never wanted to see; desperately needed to see. I faced down the me that couldn’t be found in the mirror, and even if I didn’t exactly win, I sure as hell didn’t lose.

via What I Learned About Beauty From My 56 Hours In Jail.  Terrible learning lesson.  Fortunately, I think she understands now why it happened.