How have your standards of beauty changed in 2011?
This year, I have had two defining moments in terms of beauty. Both were unexpected and on opposite ends of the spectrum, at least as far as good and bad moments go. They probably shouldn't have happened with the circumstances being what they were. But they helped me shape and firmly stick to my own definition of what it means to be truly beautiful.
The first was back in June or July, I am not completely sure of. Oddly enough, my Mom and I were attending a visitation for the mother of one of my high school friends who had just passed away. I wasn't aiming to look good at all; I was more concerned with how I would act around my friend, since we had become distant from each other our senior year, and more or less hadn't spoken since graduation. I was more concerned with trying not to cry.
So there I was, standing in front of the mirror just silently brushing my hair. I wore a coral sundress and absolutely no make-up. And for one reason or another, I just stopped and silent looked at myself for a very long time. Then it hit me:
I am beautiful.
It wasn't a question, and it wasn't me trying to be cocky. It was just there; a simple affirmation of what I had failed to recognize for a long time because of my struggles with self-esteem and self-love.
The second moment occurred a couple of months later; it was in one of the night clubs and I had spotted a guy that I found to be pretty good looking. Believing that I had little or nothing to lose, I thought that I would toss the aggressive demeanor aside and politely ask him to dance (and no, this was not the anti-prince that I mentioned earlier).
He looked up from his cell phone and told me that I wasn't "hot enough." Not only a no, but the reason for it.
In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have felt hurt by it. After all, it was a Friday night, the alcohol was flowing, and a lot of crazy stuff tends to happen with that particular combination. But in the heat of the moment, I was hurt; especially when five minutes later I noticed him grinding on a scantily clad blonde that had only been a few feet away when I approached him.
Silently, I counted my losses and hit the dance floor solo; it was wonderful because I simply did not give a damn who was looking at me. In that moment, I felt beautiful because I was doing something that I absolutely loved.
And that is where I came up with my now mantra: Beauty is not just about what you look like, but what you feel in your heart. A little cliche and overstated? Perhaps. Is it part of my personal truth? Yes!
I have honestly never felt pressed by the media to look a certain way, nor do I frequently keep up with the make-up and fashion trends of our culture. It is always changing and hardly ever is short of being superficial. As much as people (especially young people) would like to believe that physical beauty is permanent because of the advances in plastic surgery and cosmetics, it will eventually change
Beauty is also how you project yourself to others, both on the inside and out. If you're confident in who you are and believe in what you can do, then everyone around you will somehow pick up on it.
That is why I do not wear make-up or make an effort to dress up every single day. If I need to dress to impress, then that's one thing. However, if I did it all the time, it would be as though I was doing it strictly for everyone else as opposed to doing it for myself, first and foremost.
Ladies, I have to ask...why do we put ourselves down? Even though I too am guilty of it, I'm beginning to understand that there's really no point in doing it. Granted, it's nice to be reassured that we're not fat or that we're not ugly, but eventually it becomes tiring and won't come across a genuine from whomever is telling you that you look good.
A part of me thinks that many verbally dis their looks or personality because they don't want to seem conceited or acting like they're better than everyone else. My answer to this is don't saying anything at all; just stand up straight, hold your head high and smile! That in itself with speak more than words ever can.
That's not to say that I don't have insecurities or that I love myself all of the time. It's just not possible. But it's OK to have days like that because that means you're refusing to lie to yourself. I may not freak out when I see a huge pimple on my face, but I hate when my hair feels all stringy and gross at the end of the day.
I am beautiful because I accept myself, flaws and all. I am beautiful because I choose to be real with people. And I am beautiful because I feel good. I happen to like that feeling, you know?