Beauty is something I have questioned for the majority of my life. A natural occurrence for women born into the age of botox and breast implants. Feelings of insecurities continue to creep upon me, although some people would never guess. When I see some of the most beautiful people in my life saying, “I am ugly, fat, too skinny, etc” – I start to question my own beauty. If someone so beautiful can feel so negative about their outer-beauty, who am I to feel an ounce of beauty?
The price of beauty is normally understated. The destruction of our skin, hair, and bodies are understated. I share my childhood stories as a source of knowledge and inspiration for other young women to understand the beauty they possess, even if they don’t realize it just yet. Growing up, I was the unspoken ‘fat kid’ in my group of friends. The girl who was called ‘jelly rolls’ and ‘pancake stomach’ by bullies. Yup, it happened to me! I went through a hateful period of my life – believing I was the ugliest, most useless person in the world. I would go see my grandma overseas and she’d ask, “Why are you so fat?” It was a challenging time in my life and my distorted view of beauty began.
When I graduated from high school, I began to blossom into a more attractive women (although I truly believe I was always the ‘swan in disguise’). I started wearing makeup, I started losing weight, and I started fixing my hair everyday. I joined a sorority and was on a campus filled with stick-thin dancers and beautiful actresses — where outer appearance can be a judgement call on whether you are cast for a show or leading role. My image of ‘beautiful’ began to distort even more, with my outer-appearance becoming of increasing importance to me. I couldn’t leave the house without fixing my hair or makeup. I had turned into the female I had secretly despised growing up; the woman who let society dictate her every move and chose to follow, rather than lead.
As a 20 year old women, who has changed tremendously, I would like to touch on the price and toll beauty has made on my life and what I wish I would have known growing up.
- Makeup is destructive. Makeup can make you ‘feel’ beautiful…temporarily. Caking on makeup isn’t a sign of being beautiful, it’s a sign of being insecure. You don’t need it, you just think you do. The first time I put on foundation was during my freshman year of college during my third night of sorority recruitment. From that moment on, my life depended on it. I could not walk out of my door without makeup on my face, to ensure confidence in my mind and fake beauty to the world. The sad part? After going through old pictures I realized never once did I need foundation. It has made my skin worse over the years, which is why I have chosen to do away with it for now – only wearing it on special occasions/events.
- Healthy > Skinny/”I’m too skinny”. Weight is a big issue among woman…if not the biggest. If anything, you should always focus on being the healthiest person possible, not the ‘skinniest person ever’ or ‘wishing I wasn’t so skinny’ person. My happiest memories are of waking up early, running, and eating healthy during the summer. It wasn’t the ‘losing weight’ that made me beautiful, it was the way I felt on the inside that made me beautiful…The way my inner beauty transcended to the outer world. Eat healthy, walk everyday, go to the gym/play a sport. You’ll feel better/have more confidence – that’s what it’s about, not the number on the scale.
- Natural hair > Fake hair. When I got to college, I began using an insane amount of heat tools on my hair, as well as dying my hair…without a professional. Both are no-no’s. My hair is thinner, hella damaged, and a mess, causing me even more distress/self-consciousness issues. I have chosen to quit using any heat tools on my hair/dye it for the time being due to the intense damage it has caused my hair. If your hair is curly or pin-straight, embrace it! Having hair is better than having no hair and I guarantee you any women with no hair would kill for it. Trust me!
- Things change. To any young girl who feels ‘ugly’ listen to me when I say: things change. When you grow up, you’ll begin to notice the ugly ducklings do become the swans. While I cannot say I am the most beautiful women in the world, I can say I have changed tremendously over the years. You are beautiful regardless of what any incompetent idiot says. The majority of the people who made fun of me growing up are no where to be found now/aren’t going anywhere in life.
- If a guy doesn’t want you based upon the way you look now, he doesn’t deserve you! Now that I have grown into a prettier version of my younger self, some males I knew in the past are surprised to see how much I’ve changed. Don’t waste your time thinking about someone who only cares about your physical appearance. Even if you change and he now takes an interest in you, why should you care? He doesn’t deserve your love. He doesn’t deserve you. He deserves a female with similar, petty views about what is important in a relationship.
- “The prettiest people do the ugliest things.” Embrace who you are as an individual and realize natural beauty and kindness unto others is what prevails over a pretty face/gorgeous body and an ugly attitude. I have met the prettiest ladies/handsome men, but once they open their mouth it all goes downhill from there. I automatically get turned off by an individual who treats others as inferior or disrespects an individual, regardless the circumstance. Get to know someone from the inside our and you might just be surprised.
- 50 years from now, we’ll all be old and wrinkly – the inside matters more. At the end of the day, looks aren’t what truly matter. When you’re 60 years old, most everyone will look the same. What will be the difference? The inner beauty and kindness which will radiate from one person to another.
- You are beautiful. The most cliche’ line, but the most important line. If I could tell every young girl out there 3 words, it would be those words exactly. Too often, people don’t hear those words/realize their beauty.
The price of beauty can permanently damage the mind, soul, and heart, as well as scar your physical body. I encourage young women across the world to embrace the beauty they possess, for they were created that way for a reason. I have changed my own ways in numerous accounts, wearing little/no makeup everyday and reducing my usage of heat tools because I realize the toll they have taken on my skin, hair and inner-being. It’s funny how I used all those things to ‘feel confident’ when I never needed them at all.
Society should not be allowed to dictate the beauty we feel as individuals. Question the damn status quo and chose to lead, not follow the crowd. At the end of the day, true beauty is measured and based upon the good work we do for ourselves, others, and community, not based upon the superficial bulls*%$ society deems is acceptable. You are beautiful and don’t you ever forget it.
What do you wish you would have known about ‘beauty’ growing up? Have you overcome your insecurities?
The “You Are Beautiful” poster is available on Etsy here.