Today I spent most of it watching videos about people working to break society’s view on beauty. There was a particular video that caught my eye, which was one about a makeover and photo shoot done for a few women to give them the cover girl look. Their makeup and hair was done and the pictures were taken. Then a professional photoshop editor was brought in to create what the normal cover girl would look like. Many were made smaller, their skin lightened and airbrushed, and some of their “flaws” or unique characteristics were done away with such as freckles or bone structure. When the new photos were revealed to the women, they didn’t like them… because it wasn’t them. Their identity, in a sense, was taken away so they could be “beautiful”.
What is beautiful?
My kids at the YMCA have made statements referring to their beauty, thinking that because their hair isn’t long, or because they don’t have a different eye color, or clothes to wear, that they aren’t as beautiful. They want different names and different hair… when they are really some of the most beautiful young women I’ve ever seen.
On Monday, I had a similar issue. Last Saturday, I got a sew-in, which is basically having fake hair sew into my braided hair with some of my own hair left out to cover the tracks. (Google it if you need more lol) So from last Saturday to this one, I dealt with an itchy scalp, having to style this hair I now had, and having to work with my own hair to make it blend in with the fake hair. It was AWFUL! Then I discovered that I had damaged my own hair because of heat. I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I took it out. (No my husband was not mad lol) On Monday, my own hair wouldn’t act right and I felt ugly. I felt like I look like a Chia Pet with this curly hair just plopped on my head, short and just nappy looking. I’ve always had a pride about my hair. If it doesn’t look right, then I feel like I look crazy overall. I didn’t feel pretty. My clothes didn’t fit right because I had gained weight. I didn’t want to smile because I have more fat below my chin. My cheeks are too big. I just noticed everything that would make me ugly… but whose definition was I using?
I feel like everyone had an issue with comparing themselves to those who are placed before us. I feel like my cheeks are too big because when I look on television and on Facebook, the people who are getting a lot of attention are smaller in the face. I feel fat because I have some extra where society says I don’t need extra. It’s not because the doctor said I need to lose weight, but because of what society tells me is not okay… and they do it to everyone. When we look in the mirror, we not only see ourselves, but we see pictures around us of those who society has told us looks better that us. We see the women and men that people fantasize and make a big fuss over and we feel unwanted because we don’t look like them. People on magazine covers and on television are made to look like dreams while we sit at home and feel like nightmares.
But I’m tired of feeling like this yall… I really am. I’m sick of feeling less than because I’m not the dream woman. I sick of my fellow women, young girls, men, and young boys feeling less than because they don’t look like someone on TV or in the magazines that we see every time we go to the store. I’m tired of being made to feel like I need makeup or liposuction or no food because society has told everyone that without it, we’re ugly and fat and would never have a chance at being models or on a front cover or simply beautiful. I’m sick of thinking of the word beautiful and my own name not being associated with it.
And I’m not the only one.
I am Beautiful. Even if I’ve gained weight and have curly frizzy hair, and broad shoulders… and even if I have to fight to tell myself this every day, I’m up for the struggle.
Are you up for the struggle?
I challenge you and myself to not view ourselves in a mirror to simply compare ourselves to what we don’t look like, but to look in the mirror and appreciate what you see. It may be hard at first, but let’s work on getting to the point where we don’t need to compare ourselves to anyone else. So that when we are walking down the street, or log onto social media, or turn on the television, we don’t slip into a state of comparison and depression, but we appreciate them for who they are, recognizing that who they are and what they look like casts no shadow and hold no weight to what we look like.
We are Beautiful.