If Beauty Is SO Important, Then Why Are You So Ugly?

August 8, 2011 · 70 comments


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Note: This is a personal and revealing kind of post. It won’t resonate with some…but I didn’t write it for them. For those whom it does resonate with or who can see the BEAUTY in it…I feel you and I’m here for you.xx

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I’ve been exploring the concept of’ beauty’ for some time now. It’s been a supremely liberating, eye opening and painful journey. For the first time in my life: I finally know I’m beautiful.

Not ‘pretty, attractive, good looking, hot, sexy’, although I am all these things and then some…but beautiful.This is a very different thing!

Through words and images I’d like to share my journey to a place where I know I am beautiful, over and above every false ideal and the opinion of others- with you.

My goal is to make you question your beliefs and take a closer look at “who you are” … and for some…. start off  a journey of ‘deep soul diving’ and beautiful self-discovery. Dive in….

I’m going to start by saying…

“Beauty is fleeting, beauty is subjective, beauty is intangible… and whilst it may be captured for eternity in a picture…Beauty is like the wind…here today and gone tomorrow. That is unless… your beauty is based on a whole lot more than your looks”.~ME

This post was in part inspired by JK Allen and Matt Ramos who both wrote exceptional articles recently; putting forth their opinions on whether or not LOOKS MATTER?

Matt linked it to relationships and attraction whilst JK spoke somewhat more broadly, linking his position with how appearances are valued in the work place and by the world at large. The comments section alone on this post was incredibly insightful.

It was evident that both of these writers consider appearances – extremely important!

Whilst I concur to some degree with both of them, my own personal experience of beauty, or rather, ‘dissolving my idea of what beauty is’ in order to rebuild it but from a far healthier and authentic place, means: I have a somewhat different perspective.

Where I’m coming from…

In case the short hair fooled you, I’m a woman. A high heel wearing, perfume dousing, fierce dress loving – woman. But for many years I was a slave to weave-on ( hair extensions), false eye lashes and acrylic nails.

Making sure these “plug ins” were always in place was a time consuming routine which allowed me to ‘cultivate a look’ that I knew went down well with society, my friends and yes I’m gonna be honest …with men!

Although far from perfect, I had not one bit of trouble attracting male attention or being accepted by the ‘cool crowd’ when I looked like this – see below (Picture from Ascot Ladies day 2009)

Me at as ascot

Feeling pretty: Me with all the plugins. Weave-check. Nails-check Eye lashes-check..happy...hmmmm

Then something changed. One day I was taking out a weave- on and found nearly as much of my hair in my hands, as was on my head (scary). This was just after realising that my natural nails were now so thin from years of Vietnamese women drilling away at them, that they regularly split down the middle (anyone woman who routinely wears nail extensions will know how painful this is). And finally, after a few years of having my eye lashes extended, there where precious few of my own eye lashes actually left!

I started to feel like I was falling apart…

That despite all my efforts to keep myself looking as polished, hot and Beyonce-ish as I could. I just couldn’t keep up. Not without affecting what I had naturally been given –  both detrimentally and permanently!

Then that change went to an even deeper level, as I realised I didn’t even want too – Keep up… that is!

In transistion

In transition, my afro is in twists.I shaved my afro off in India then bring my hair to the Ganges river where I let go of so many things ( I have video, it's hilarious)

I began to question everything. I desired to see the truth from the lie and discovered a conspiracy so deeply entrenched in my psyche, that it kept me living in an external cycle of ‘fear and image management’, rather than internal cycle of  ‘ freedom and love of self’. wooooooooooo

It was time to break that negative cycle…

I decided I no longer wanted to play the “external pretty” game. I was tired of being ‘pretty on the outside’ and in bondage, insecurity and fear on the inside.

And there began the 18 months of agony…

Soul searching, insecurities, low self-esteem, low confidence, low mood, low everything!  I didn’t recognise myself anymore. I gained weight. None of my ‘sexy girl’ frocks seamed to look right with afro/short hair and I stopped making much of an effort to look “nice”…then finally; the sexy girl frocks just didn’t fit anymore.

Urgghh… I was a disaster. I felt lost and in a really uncomfortable and vulnerable place for a long time, but it was a painful, lengthy and necessary learning curve.

In the midst of all of this “growth”, I took a year out to travel the world and was completely off the grid, living out of a backpack and wearing the same ugly shit day in and day out. It was hard and it was humbling.

Hanging out in Chaing Mai, Thailand. Loving the freedom of my short hair

Getting used to short hair, and feeling more beautiful by the day:Chaing Mai 2010

When faced with ‘just me’ and who I really was, I had no choice but to ask myself the difficult questions:

  • Who am I
  • What do I stand for
  • How do I want to live my life
  • How do I live in integrity with my hearts desires and my values

Have I mentioned that this time was a fricking ass-ache?

When you go ‘deep soul diving‘ sometimes you have to go to some scarily dark depths before you see the light and are able to come up for air.

I’ve always been a dynamic woman, but I’d hidden behind external glamour for so long I didn’t know any other way to express myself. It was like a mask I used to hide who I really was. A mask that made sense to the world, but had become a burden to me….

 I sure was pretty on the outside, but often felt ‘pretty ugly’ on the inside!

As I said, 18 months of complete confusion and agony prevailed as I became acquainted with the new paired down, stripped back, but remarkably improved woman that I am today.

Life is not perfect –  but I know who I am and what I want, and I am totally present in every aspect of my life.

Re-evaluating my beauty ideals and finally deciding that I couldn’t be anymore beautiful than when I was just being naturally and whole heartedly me, was not just an external transformation.

The most life altering part has been the internal transformation, which is a daily work in progress and I’d be lying if I said any of it is easy.

It has meant letting go of the past, from some things I was ready to let go of like – smoking, poor friendships, jobs I hated…to those things I wanted to keep in my life forever. It’s meant being repeatedly and intentionally honest with myself. There is nothing to hide behind any more and some days… I feel a hot mess!

It has meant coming to terms with the fact that although I’m infinetly a more complete, happy and focused person now, for some reason I’m no longer the ‘man magnet’ I once was and people evaluate and respond to me differently?

 

I can wear vintage frocks, high heels and accessories, whenever I want

Vintage frock, high heels, accessories and nothing false about it. Just me. Bali June 2011 xx

I no longer look like the “falsified, fake-ass image of black beauty” that is being promoted to women of colour all over the world and women in general. I finally look like ME… and there are some who no longer find me attractive, good enough or acceptable…

I’m appreciating that being low key and natural still requires grooming and attention, and that red nail polish looks cute even on short nails. I’m learning I can wear any dress I want…with killer heels AND a near bald head…. there are NO limits to the way I express my femininity… only the ones I impose on myself.

I am not: What I look like…..

I am: WHO I AM

In conclusion…

Looks do count and appearances are important, to some degree…

But it’s important to recognise that in this post-modern society our beauty standards are seriously warped, airbrushed, idealised and often completely unrealistic. And we’re on shaky ground when we let society, magazines, men/women, our peers or anything else –  define what is beautiful to us.

Beauty comes from within…

It starts with:

  • Knowing who you are, then unconditionally loving and appreciating that person
  • Being a genuine, loving, warm spirited, compassionate and honest person who is living with integrity

Beauty isn’t a look…it’s a state…an extension and an elevation of how you live your life.

 

Power lounging and not worrying whether my hair is getting messed up or my make up looks fresh

Power lounging on Batu Belig beach. I KNOW I'm beautiful! Saturday 6th August 2011

Some of the most beautiful people I have ever met will never grace the cover of a fashion magazine. But if you were to cut them down the middle…their light would shine for the whole world to see. Because their beautiful from the inside out….

I am beautiful. Are you?

Feel free to put forward your views and opinions on beauty in the comments, lets start a conversation.

If you have been touched in anyway by this post, please share it with others via Twitter/Facebook or anyway you think is appropriate.

It’s all love.xx

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Betsy Cross
Twitter: BetsyKCross
August 8, 2011 at 9:56 am

Hi Stacey!
I never would have guessed that you’d had an alter ego! Funny. But I get it. I just experienced it from a different angle. My sister was the pretty one. Boys never asked me out. I was invisible. My sister was always making me up and I was always uncomfortable with the makeup and the fancy clothes. So, I finally get comfortable just being me (who I am on the inside and the outside) I turn 50 and the wrinkles and grey hair appear.I always wanted to be old and grandmotherish. But the reality has hit that age has its limitations, too.
I’m really having to dig deep to not fall prey to low self-esteem. When I’m around people I feel how and what they radiate. So, I’m relying on that being good enough for me, too. Easy to say.I have to say that I do feel beautiful on the inside. I always have. Because that’s all I’ve known.
Betsy Cross recently posted..An Emotional Payoff!

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Stacey August 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

Hi Betsy, I used to have a girlfriend who was very popular with the boys..she was a big girl..not your super model type at all. I used to wonder what she had that I didn’t. I’m my older age I came to realise it was confidence. As an only child she was the apple of her mothers eye..treated and told she was important, special, beautiful. I think having these things instilled in your from a young age..does a lot for your confidence levels and how you see yourself. This was not my experience. I too am like you and have to dig deep to not fall prey to low self esteem, then I have to stay on top of it. It takes conscious effort. I’m also starting to be more intuitive about how I feel when I’m around certain types of people and what sort of energy they radiate. I’m glad you’ve always felt beautiful on the inside..this is a gift to have..and I’m sure one you have shared and instilled with your own children.xx

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Sandi Amorim
Twitter: SandiAmorim
August 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

Oh I can so relate to your story. Like Betsy, my sister was the pretty one and I was the smart one. A relative pronounced this when we were young so it must be true, right? Enter a lifetime of feeling anything but pretty! Exhausting and emotionally draining. This is so connected to what I wrote about recently, the stories we’re told and the stories we make up about ourselves. It’s all made up so let’s make up something beautiful, brilliant and fabulous!
Sandi Amorim recently posted..Sky Notes: Reflections on 130 Days

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Stacey August 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I’m on it Sandi, brilliant, beautiful and fabulous works perfectly well with me. I think as women we are often in a state of comparison..it’s like we can’t help beating ourselves up a little each day, rather than lifting ourselves up a little each day. Your inspired post on stories, really tied in with my thinking process around this topic. Thanks for sharing your experience Sandi- http://www.devacoaching.com/2011/07/31/heres-where-the-story-ends/

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Sandi Amorim
Twitter: SandiAmorim
August 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm

You know the interesting thing to me looking back at the pretty/smart comparison between my sister and I is that there was no negative comment made. Just an observation that my sister was pretty and I was smart. Then, we took that comment and built identities around those words, and that became reality.

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Melody | Deliberate Receiving
Twitter: deliberateblog
August 8, 2011 at 11:55 am

Oh Wow Stacey. What a powerful blog post. I found you via a Tweet from Farnoosh at Prolific Living and am also a regular reader of JK’s.
I love how you’ve documented your evolution with pictures. I used to be over 100 pounds overweight. Like many women of grander size, Makeup and hair was extremely important to me. I never left the house if I wasn’t perfect. My journey wasn’t really about weight loss, of course, but about feeling better about myself, and as I did, the weight dropped.
Now, I still have a monster makeup collection and I still love wearing my outfits, but I no longer HAVE TO. I do it when it’s fun and when I don’t feel like it, I go without. I’m absolutely able to feel good about myself without all the war paint (now I think of it as decoration).

This is a fantastic article and I’m definitely sharing it.

Hugs,
Melody
Melody | Deliberate Receiving recently posted..Grow A Pair! Overcoming Your Fear of Confrontation

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Stacey August 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Wow…that’s the power of networks.. you get acquainted with amazing people you may not have otherwise met. Nice to meet you Melody. I’m glad this post resonated with and for you…I’m supposed to be in bed…but my head is ticking, thinking, wondering if I put my message across in the right way to impact the people I desire to reach. It impacted you…I’m glad…and thankful We can still be glamorous, gorgeous feminine women, who love playing dress up, but no longer feel bound by the obligation to always look a certain way. War paint or decoration……I think we’d choose the same answer. Thanks for being part of the conversation here..much appreciated.xx

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Ana Hoffman
Twitter: WebTrafficCafe
August 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

I suppose it’s a day-to-day thing, Stacey, for most of us. Feeling beautiful for me has more to do with being confident that I am beautiful even in the middle of a bad hair day. LOL
Ana Hoffman recently posted..Is CommentLuv the Plugin of the Past?

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Stacey August 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Ha ha…try a bad hair year, lol. But your right it is a day to day thing..I wish it wasn’t as it would be easier..but hey anything worth having is worth working at right..including confidence. Thanks for sharing Ana…did you see what I mean about the font size now?

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Karen August 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I totally agree that this is what we should all aspire to. I’d like to reach this place myself one day. But I’m a long way off, and think I probably will be for a long while yet. I’ve told you before that my best friend growing up was the beautiful one… I’m used to feeling ugly. Thinking “If I were prettier, life would be…” this thing, or that thing. Better.

But I also look at myself in the mirror and think about how my existence on this planet is the result of nothing more than a lucky combination of genes. There probably wasn’t a possible version of me with better skin or a smaller nose or… whatever. There’s just me. If I got to choose, I would never choose to roll the dice again on those physical attributes, and risk losing the things that make me the person I am. The things on the inside that I love and am proud of.

If getting to be me means I have to deal with some outer imperfections, well, I’m okay with that. Because I still get to be me, and I’m very lucky to have so many wonderful things on the inside. (Which don’t include humility, apparently, haha.) So while I feel I have a long way to go before I’ll accept myself 100%, I still wouldn’t trade. And that feels like progress.

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Stacey August 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Ahhh, my home girl. I really love the depth of what you shared here. I’ve had times in my life where I’ve felt incredibly beautiful but full of anxiety and incredibly ugly and just wanting to hide away from the world. It’s easy to feel ugly in a world where the standards set before us are so manipulated, airbrushed and contrived. You reminded me of something a man I met in recovery told me a little while back ” If everyone in the room got to put there problems on a table and pick any they wanted..most would stick with what they originally had”. Some times we really have to be grateful for what we have. Karen you are one of the most humble, bright, kind and generous people I know…your beautiful honey..don’t you ever forget it.xx

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Linda
Twitter: talktherapybiz
August 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm

At the risk of sounding like an ignorant white woman, I have always found black women to be so beautiful. Much of this opinion was based on the lack of need for make-up, and gorgeous dark skin which tends not to wrinkle and dry up like the white folks’.

The “real” you is so much more attractive than the “made-up” version, as your lovely photos show.

Hmmm…am I beautiful? Well, I’m smart enough to know the definition of true beauty, and wise to the illusion of the beauty contained in the bottle, the fancy duds, and the MAC lip pencil.
Linda recently posted..Does the Word No Make My Butt Look Big?

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Stacey August 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

No ignorant, white, black, green, purple or orange people here Linda…thanks for getting involved : ) I’m with you on the dark skin…now Iive in such a hot climate, where as black woman I am like 1 in 10’000..I really see the difference between the way light and darker skins ages in not cared for properly. However I’m learning I have a responsibility to my skin to give it proper sun protection..despite some of the insane questions I get asked on a regular basis! You can’t beat a trip to the Mac counter and a working credit card to put a pep in your step. I still love all of that…just like Melody says..it’s become more of a pleasure rather than a necessity to make me feel good. The fact that your smart enough to know the difference between internal and external beauty says to me..your very much on your way..if not already there. Thanks for sharing Linda

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Matt R
Twitter: 30vanquish
August 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Hey Stacey,
This post was great!
It is up to us (individually) to find what we like and have our own standards. Then within those standards there has to be quite a bit of leeway because no one is perfect. I agree with you in that there shouldn’t be an image to uphold or obtain. Every man/woman has a huge differing taste of beauty anyways.

My post came from a place where I tried to fall in love with someone because our personalities were perfect but I wasn’t physically attracted. I thought I could build attraction towards her as time went on but it didn’t work that way.

When I interact with people I end up feeling their radiance and their light. I do all I can to listen to anyone and everyone because friendship should have no limits!

But like I said above, there shouldn’t be “beauty” that one chases because everyone is beautiful. It just comes down to each person’s taste (which we need to find in a relationship).
Matt R recently posted..Want Productivity? Meet @Sarahkpeck for Coffee

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Stacey August 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Hey Matt, it ;s strange I saw JK’s post..and was all…inspired..but confused as to what I was actually feeling…then I saw your post..and my feelings became a little clearer. I’ve been working on creating this post ever since. So thank you guys for being you and putting it out there. I agree with you…there HAS to be attraction, spark and chemistry between two people looking to be with each other….other wise the eyes, mind and eventually the heart will wonder to where that attraction really is. This is a sad but true fact..and probably just natures way or making sure we end up with the right people. Thanks for adding your perspective Matt, I really appreciate it : )

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Riley Harrison August 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Well I wish you the best Stacey. Just keep growing, being authentic and asking the right questions.
Riley
Riley Harrison recently posted..CONFIDENCE – ARE YOU YOUR BEST FRIEND OR WORST ENEMY?

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Stacey August 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I’ll try Riley, I’ll try..when the student is ready…the teacher will appear. I’ve learnt so many lessons this last 18 months..is difficult to take it all in sometimes : )

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Jk Allen August 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

YOU GO GIRL!

I loved this post. you’re honesty is shockingly amazing and deep spirited. Thank you for sharing this Stacey.

It’s all a play on society isn’t it? That’s how I feel. Looks matter because society says that looks matter. Society portrays how they think women and men should look and those who look most like it seem to win (by society’s standards) more often.

In my post, more than the idea of how a persona looks, physically, my focus was more on presentation. How one holds them self (professionally or not), dresses, speaks and conducts them self. At the beginning of my post I offered the following note:

“When I say looks – I’m speaking on your personal presentation only. I am not talking about physical characteristics that we have very little control over (DNA)…

But since we’re on the subject…I will extend my thoughts on beauty.

I think it’s relative. What I think is beautiful…let’s say blue’sh gray colored pitbull with a huge block head…some think is absolutely ugly. When I look in the mirror, I’m happy with what I see…but someone else (or some people) think I’m absolutely ugly. It’s relative to one’s tastes. I think what matters is that we appreciate and love ourselves.

I think getting there, for some is a difficult journey. Especially for women – because society REALLY makes it hard on them. I have two daughters (and a son) so I’m sensitive to this reality.

Very inspiring post Stacey. Thanks for the honest (again) and I’ll back you up…you are beautiful.

PEACE

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Stacey August 8, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Hi JK, sometimes I worry that I say too much..but it’s like I don’t know how to say anything else, lol. I’m totally with you…..”It’s all a play on society….looks matter because society says looks matter”. I feel a deep level of compassion for those people who in no way, shape or form match any of the attributes that society says is beautiful, especially those who really are different from the norm with nothing they can do to change it. My sister has a trachetomy and has had from birth…she speaks..well… like a darlek….To me she is the most beautiful thing in this world…but I see the strange and uncomplimentary looks people give her ..and occasionally….I want to.. well anyway!
I used to think this body/image thing was pretty much a female issue, but I’m learning more and more how many men are affected by these false ideals too…It’s not easy out here. I’m glad my post inspired you….your’s inspired me…can you tell. I’m pretty sure your girls and your son will grow up knowing that they are beautiful and learning how to be beautiful people…because mummy and daddy would not have it any other way. Stay super cool.xx

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Stan Faryna
Twitter: Faryna
August 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Anybody who isn’t me tonight.

I’m thinking my next podcast should be me singing this song. What do you think?
Stan Faryna recently posted..Confessions of a freak-geek-misfit and time agent in exile. Faryna Podcast EP8.

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Stacey August 9, 2011 at 12:00 am

OMG….now this… I would love to hear, lol. What musical is that song from? …now I have the words I keep hearing this song in my head……la di la di da….Pretty sure the pity part was something else though, lol

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Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech
Twitter: carpathia16
August 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm

West Side Story! :-) Name That Tune!
Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech recently posted..Bump – The Fun, Fast and Free Way to Share!

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Stacey August 10, 2011 at 8:21 am

Yes….sometimes I sing that song to myself when I’m riding around on my scooter…..along with “All you wanna do is ride around Sally…..ride Sally ride” I think those are the words…to Mustang Sally? I could be wrong, but they are the ones I sing. I get some strange and funny looks…but who cares lol.xx

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Janet @ The Natural Networker
Twitter: janetcallaway
August 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Stacey, aloha. CONGRATULATIONS on releasing YOU!

Time Tested Beauty Tips
A poem by by Sam Levenson
(A favorite poem of Audrey Hepburn.)

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Never throw out anybody.

Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

You’re beautiful, Stacey. Best wishes for a glorious week. Aloha. Janet
Janet @ The Natural Networker recently posted..Life—Is it Puzzling or a Puzzle? By Janet Callaway The Natural Networker

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Stacey August 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Wow Janet…I will be printing this out and putting it somewhere highly visible so that I can be put in remembrance of this REGULARLY. This poem was truly wonderful. Thanks sharing it with me. Yes….you put it.perfectly….I released me….yayyyyyyyyyyyyyy. Happy happy happy. Thanks for this Janet, it made my morning.xx

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Bill Dorman August 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Knowing who you are, then unconditionally loving and appreciating that person
Being a genuine, loving, warm spirited, compassionate and honest person who is living with integrity. This says it so succinctly; you have to be comfortable in your own skin and love yourself before you can love others.

In terms of looks, I want to be presentable, clean and groomed. After that, it is what it is and I can’t change it, so I better like it, huh?

True beauty comes from within and you are headed in the right direction by becoming more inner focused than outer focused.

BTW – you are still a beautiful young lady; inside and out.
Bill Dorman recently posted..The Big Hairy Experiment

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Stacey August 9, 2011 at 12:05 am

I know….my whole post could have really been summed up in that sentence alone…but it wouldn’t have been quite as fun or cathartic to create, lol. Thank you Bill…I’m in the process of becoming the sort of woman I have always been…but somehow forgot. My friend Karen said “There probably wasn’t a possible version of me with better skin or a smaller nose or… whatever. There’s just me. If I got to choose, I would never choose to roll the dice again on those physical attributes, and risk losing the things that make me the person I am.
I thought that was pretty awesome and spot on.. Do you have daughters? If so ..was there anything you did as a parent to ensure they grew up feeling beautiful and full of confidence. I’m really interested in the role fathers play in shaping their daughters..anything you could/would share with me would be highly valued.xx

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Bill Dorman August 9, 2011 at 8:20 am

Because we tend to be more critical of ourselves than others, it’s hard to get it into our minds, be we are perfect just the way we are. There really is no ‘perfect’ and it’s unhealthy to try to attain whatever you think that is.

I had two boys so we didn’t deal with the self-image thing too much; but I’m sure they would have be daddy’s little girls…………:)
Bill Dorman recently posted..The Big Hairy Experiment

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Elena Patrice
Twitter: WGB2U
August 9, 2011 at 9:45 am

Stacey,

Intensely beautiful post on so, so many levels! There’s no doubt visually you were a stunner, but I knew the moment I read about you and some of your work, I knew your beauty was far deeper than just the skin.

I think this is a post that resonates with countless others. It does me for sure. The beauty thing is a funny thing in my eyes; I’ve had lifelong insecurities and struggles with it. Ah, but age has been kind to me in the regard that I’m very comfortable with who I am in life now, after some very humbling life lessons. I see the soul much quicker and easier than I ever do the face and for me that’s where it’s at!

Great post – thank you so much for sharing! You have a gift Stacey, so many gifts actually; what a blessing that you share them and what a blessing to be the recipient of them!

Peace my friend,

Elena
Elena Patrice recently posted..Top Reasons for NOT Having a Website.

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Stacey August 10, 2011 at 8:15 am

Hi Elena

Why is it always the humbling life lessons that give us the perspective we need to get our priorities in order? I’m glad age has been kind and bought you to a place of great love and acceptance of self….think of all the years we waste…by simply NOT embracing ourselves? Thank you for allowing me to share my gift with you…I don’t know exactly what that is yet, but it’s opening up to me a little more each day….as I allow the light of who I really am..to be unfettered..and just shine through. Man …it feels…so good…so good. Stay beautiful my friend.xx

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Adrienne
Twitter: adriennesmith40
August 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Here’s something else I’ve learned about you and trust me, I would have NEVER known had you not shared this. To me you come across as someone who has always been very comfortable in their own skin. I’m surprised to learn you also had your own issues.

As for me? Well Stacey, I’ve never been a looker. Nope.. Growing up I was always a little overweight (about 30 pounds) and lived in my sister’s shadow. It took her over an hour just to put on her makeup so I swore to myself growing up that would never be me. Which is one reason I’ve never worn much makeup.

I also grew up a tomboy so dressing up was never something I enjoyed either. It didn’t help that I was always a little chunky and I certainly didn’t feel attractive. At least not until I shed all of my weight back at the ripe age of 26.

I’ve also never been called beautiful, gorgeous or sexy. But I know with 100% doubt that I am one of the most beautiful people you will ever have the privilege of meeting and I don’t say that with arrogance. Because of the experiences I have personally had in my life I’ve realized who I wanted to be as a person. I may not be beautiful, gorgeous or sexy on the outside, I know I’m all of those things on the inside.

I’m so glad you shared this with us and it should be a wake up call to all women. Sure, people will judge your outside appearance in a heartbeat but it’s who you are on the inside that really counts. And that my friend is the God’s honest truth.

Thanks Stacey!!!

Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted..Do You Make These Mistakes In Facebook?

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Stacey August 10, 2011 at 8:10 am

Adrienne…wooooooo weeeee. that was one kind of share there ..the ‘honest to goodness’ kind! I loved it. thank you. Isn’t it funny how deceptive appearances can be..that it would never have occurred to you that I’ve had issues in that department?
Becoming comfortable in my own skin has been a long, hard and turbulent process….and quite possibly…. the most empowering gift I have ever given myself. No one can make you love yourself….it has to be a choice. I’m glad you made that choice Adrienne. It’s in that love you have for yourself that allows you to pour so much radiance and warmth onto others…This is a beautiful thing…and you are a beautiful person.xx

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Adrienne
Twitter: adriennesmith40
August 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Yep, I did kind of go overboard didn’t I? But you just bring that out in me girl.

I just wanted to hop back over here and thank you for your share. You made me tear up actually so thank you for saying that, it truly means a lot to me. I’m so honored to know you.
Adrienne recently posted..Do You Make These Mistakes In Facebook?

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Stacey August 10, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Overboard…no way! Seriously, it is my honour to provide a space where people feel comfortable enough, welcome enough and accepted enough ….to share with such openness and honesty. This is are it’s heart, what My Lifestyle Max is really all about. This space is not mine…it’s ours….I’m going to bed with a mega grin…it’s like 2am here! oops…

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Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech
Twitter: carpathia16
August 9, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Hi Stacey, What a great article! I will definitely have my 3 girls read this article.

When I was a teenager, I read an article in Glamour magazine that the best accessory a woman could have was confidence. Imagine that, no advertiser paid them to say that. But I remembered that advice ever since. When I’m having a bad hair day or caught with no makeup, I take a deep breath and remember what’s important, the beauty within!

Stacey, thank you, my beautiful new friend, for reminding us what is truly important!

BTW, I was at Ascot that day! Seriously! And I remember you, the Beautiful One ! (Okay I don’t really remember you, sorry). Our paths will cross again, I hope. I’m so sorry I missed meeting you that day. I know we would have had a blast! :-)

I am on holiday beginning tomorrow, and away from the internet, so I won’t be able to see your next two #NicheAmnesty posts until I return August 20. But seeing the posts will be a wonderful thing to look forward to!

Much love, my friend!
Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech recently posted..Bump – The Fun, Fast and Free Way to Share!

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Stacey August 10, 2011 at 8:19 am

Hey Carolyn, when I read that you would share this with your 3 daughters I felt tremendously happy and humbled. Thank you….we need to reach women in their formative years…and let them know that they are truly amazing….exactly the way they are. No pluggins needed!
This is not to say it is wrong to play up your best features..I still wear make up..nice clothes…get my hair cut etc…but with a far less level of intensity and anxiety than once prevailed in my life. Where you really at that Ascot? That is unbelievable…how fantastic… for sure our paths will cross again..we have set the wheels in motion. Woop woop….I’m excited.xx

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Dan August 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Here’s me voting for more fashion posts. I like your style. You are hot even in transition.
Dan recently posted..5 Reasons Why the Philippines May Be the Best Spot to Build Your Internet Business

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Stacey August 10, 2011 at 8:04 am

I guess I did learn something in those 4 years of fashion school then! …awesome…I haven’t lost my swagger, lol. I’m evolving a little more each day, the transition is not yet complete…. but I’m feeling hella hot with it..hallelujah.

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Jenny August 10, 2011 at 2:44 am

This is really a very interesting post! Good point here:
“Beauty comes from within…
It starts with:
Knowing who you are, then unconditionally loving and appreciating that person.
Being a genuine, loving, warm spirited, compassionate and honest person who is living with integrity.
Beauty isn’t a look…it’s a state…an extension and an elevation of how you live your life.”
I totally agree with you.
Jenny recently posted..Cable View Online

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Stacey August 10, 2011 at 8:00 am

Hey Jenny…glad the post touched the right spot with you..and you found a take away…nice to see you here..feel free to come back and become part of the MLSM community

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Jaque Stone August 10, 2011 at 4:12 am

Hey Stacey, y’know how I am about beauty (a right mess, as they say) so I don’t have much to say on this post, but I do have a little to say about your not being a man magnet.

You say you were a man magnet before and not now because of your new look. In the comments you mention that it’s all about confidence. I imagine you had a differently outlook/attitude and confidence before. Before you found yourself a beautiful, sexy man magnet. Now you think you are beautiful, but not a man magnet. As long as you think that way, you won’t be (which is fine, being a man magnet is annoying sometimes). I just want you to realize you could still be the man magnet, if you wanted to, without changing a thing about your looks.

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Stacey August 10, 2011 at 7:59 am

You know what Jaque, I was all set to defend myself… to say you had read what I wrote the wrong way. But you may be right, except I don’t feel like I have a lack of confidence,I’m feeling in a very confident and self- appreciative place. I’m also aware of how I am responded to. My friend recently told me that ” Bali is the place super models come to die”…quite possibly it is the proliferation of so called ‘beautiful people’ that I find myself compared to here. In Bali..western men take on some kind of rock star status…they can becoming very picky and choosy for my reasons than I’ll go into here, and you see them sizing you up against other options…for the most part I find it amusing…I mean…. do I have any real interest in being around people of such shallow depths….no really.
But ..hey I’m a chic…I like attention too…so occasionally your self confidence can take a bit of a slap! Would I change being me in order to be one of the of the 1/2 dead supermodels….errrr….hell no. Some of these women are so insecure it there a pain to be around. I love your point her hun..thanks for making me dig deep.xx

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Lori Gosselin August 10, 2011 at 9:17 am

Hi Stacey,
I loved reading, and seeing the photos, of your metamorphosis from beautiful to beautiful! Funny, but unless someone looked very closely, or unless they heard your beautifully-written story, they wouldn’t know the difference. Or would they? Confidence is the best perfume, isn’t it? It seems to be the case you’ve built – just be you and love that!
I’ve gone through phases in my life when I wanted to be all stylish and then at other times I just didn’t want that. I’ve gone through phases where I wore no jewelry (translation: didn’t adorn myself) and then I’ve moved out of that too. I give in to the mood, as it strikes!
This is a great read for young girls, as Carolyn said. You did a lovely job of it and I already knew you were a lovely person! (and I LOVE that hat!)
Lori
Lori Gosselin recently posted..Let’s Hang out!

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Stacey August 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Confidence is the sweetest perfume.! Trust me Lori, I went through a few months where I didn’t like to look in the mirror..I didn’t recognise myself. Thanks for taking a moment to read this..I know it’s a big one. I can’t seam to shut up once I get started, lol. I’m so pleased Carolyn wants to show this to her daughters. We have to get this message into our young women from a young age..otherwise the media and stupid boys will tell them something different! I’m all for giving into the mood.. Adornment…fancy pants clothes or not…I KNOW your a beautiful person too. Thanks as always for coming to hang out a little while with us here Lori.xx

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Frank August 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Stacey,

I enjoyed reading about your journey. I had really low self confidence when I was coming up. For years I was teased for having really dark skin. I was the butt of everyone’s jokes. Luckily I was just as good as dishing out insults as I could take them. Is that something I am proud of…..Yes it is! Kids can be downright cruel. Even though I was good at hiding my feelings from the world, what people said to me affected how I felt about myself.

It took some serious time but the wounds healed and my confidence grew. The funny thing is the same girls who called me names like the…., I can’t give away that info yet, where all over me in high school. Odd how the world works. I found a ton of value and insight in this post and I thank you for sharing it. I love the short hair!!

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Stacey August 11, 2011 at 3:53 am

Hey Frank..what’s good? Don’t you love how the tables turn in life sometimes! How those same girls who said the hurtful stuff, where breaking a nail to get your attention later on in life!
Ha ha ha….he who laughs last, laughs the longest (or so I’ve been told)
It’ s funny how the untrue and unkind things poured on us in our childhood, remain with us intp our adulthood. Often until we make the concious decision to reject all those negative stories and start re-writing the book. I appreciate you bringing your masculine energy and view point here, to what could have potentially been a very female orientated kinda post.

Stay dark and beautiful brother.xx

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Jamie August 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Hi Stacey,
First of all thank you for sharing this wonderful and very awakening post to all the women!
I love to share this quote:
“Your inner beauty is pure, luminous and glorious. This real essence is yours eternally. Don’t worry for a second about your external beauty. If you are in touch with your inner beauty, your outer beauty will be beautiful.”
This means that the more inner beauty one has, the more beautiful they become on the outside. And that totally represents you Stacey. :)

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Stacey August 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Hey Jamie…we share the same name.Thank you for sharing that quote with the community here..it speaks volumes : )

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Marianne Worley
Twitter: MarianneWorley
August 11, 2011 at 12:59 am

I have to tell you Stacey, this is by far the most inspiring post I’ve ever read! We’ve all had very different life experiences, but still we share so many emotional journeys. At many points in my life, I’ve tried to hide my insecurities behind perfect makeup, hair, and clothes. But I never felt beautiful until I accepted myself and my flaws, and stopped worrying about what other people thought of me.

When I think about beauty, I remember a quote from a TV show that was popular during the 80s, Designing Women: “When it comes down to it, looks don’t count for squat. What matters is what’s true and truly felt, and how we treated one another. And that’s it.”

Yes, that’s it. Thank you so much Stacey.
Marianne Worley recently posted..Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

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Stacey August 11, 2011 at 3:48 am

Marianne, what a wonderful compliment. I’m truly humbled, thank you. I have been playing around, ok, procrastinating on the idea of writing this post for a week or so. I guess I was scared that it might be too revealing, I might not do the whole concept justice..or it would seam to self promoting! I wanted it to be supportive and inspirational and the tremendous amount of energy, reciprocal sharing and encouragement it has received, confirms I was right to go with my gut and just put it out there.
So many of us as women go through these silent heartaches as we try and come to terms with the hand that has been dealt us in the ‘looks’ department. We internalise any rejection or negativity and take it as further proof that we are some how ‘defunct’, not good enough..not enough.
Lady..you are enough…I am enough…were all enough exactly the way we are!
” What matters is what’s true and truely felt, and how we treat one another and that’s it” (never heard this before, but I love this quote)
Thank you for feeling my heart behind this post and treating me with such kindness. Marianne, you’re one of the beautiful people…welcome to the club mam.xx

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rob white August 11, 2011 at 8:22 am

Now that is true beauty, Stacey. There is not much more to be said. If one can’t recognize the beautiful expression of your Authentic Self it is simply because they do not recognize it in themselves. Your honesty and evolution of consciousness has knocked my socks off!
rob white recently posted..An Invitation to Win

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Stacey August 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm

It’s all about being my/our authentic self Rob..it was a long arduous painful journey to get here..but I made it! I’m glad..now the next step is to remain bold, proud and accepting of that authenticity…the trials begin again : ) Thank you for coming over and supporting my journey in this way. I truly believe by sharing..it can only help others

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pea
Twitter: PeaSyne
August 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I picked up on the comment that you don’t draw the looks anymore. I have always wondered about a world where any woman, (not you specifically) finds that anywhere remotely near the top of her priorities…but, hear me out.

I understand that it is hard to be walking down the street with a bombshell who is eliciting wolf whistles and you are not or no longer doing so. But that coarse street judgement was set up by men for men, not for the growth or enhancement of women. And thank God that women feel diminished by the removal of physical validation from (usually podgy, balding) men huh? What a great control tool.

They may get higher corporate jobs and progress in other fields but we still got that on ‘em. We can ruin their day in a nanosecond by making sure they know they don’t fit our version of what is acceptably beautiful. Bit like being a slave isn’t?

You are well out of it. You know that today the people who chime with you now are people who chime with the ‘real’ you. And judging by the huge journey you have been on they are going to be very cool people as I’m sure you didn’t make that journey just to end up with folks who are solely impressed by a woman who gets her feel-good from a plastic weave and all the frippery surrounding that.

You are one of the lucky women who now know that SOME men’s strength, a whole lot of society and many businesses gain from maintaining the low self esteem of women and you have rejected them first. Lucky you.
Notwithstanding I think you look rather lovely in the salmon/blue dress. (But my opinion on this matter is irrelevant compared to your own).
pea recently posted..Fight Apathy…

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Stacey August 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

This is one hell of a comment, and taps into several things, but I do want to clarify something. I was never one for receiving wolf whistles whilst walking down the street/ I don’t generally tend to dress or carry myself in a way that attracts that sort of blatant over-sexualised attention. I would have found that sort of attention as offensive then, as I would now. What you said here is interesting “We can ruin their day in a nanosecond by making sure they know they don’t fit our version of what is acceptably beautiful”. Because despite not wanting to be leached at or perved on, I am still like any other human..or woman,..and I enjoy the attention of others..of men. I like being looked at twice, someone paying me a compliment ( respectfully of course), and I’m not saying that doesn’t happen anymore..because it still does, just not on the frequency that it used to when I was going all out to look like one of the glamour crew…
simplicity is often over looked and when you are the exception-to-the rule like I am in Bali..you notice how easily you are overlooked… even more. But seriously thanks for adding this perspective and insight. It’s amazing the parts of what I have written that have caught peoplse attention. I really appreciate your input

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pea
Twitter: PeaSyne
August 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm

You are right of course. Once I finished writing the comment I felt that I hadn’t differentiated between a wolf whistle and a nice compliment – which we all enjoy, but you rightly tagged me on that.
pea recently posted..Fight Apathy…

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pea
Twitter: PeaSyne
August 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Following my comment I found this and I HAD to send it to you.

http://www.simplehumble.com/lion
pea recently posted..Fight Apathy…

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Stacey August 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Thank you for sharing that with me

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Peppy | The PeppyWrites Chronicles
Twitter: peptalks2
August 20, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Hi Stacy,

Wow! Wow! I’d say it again, but I know you get my drift! Stacy, not only did you write a powerful story but the pictures you shared – the “before true beauty” and “after true beauty” adds the exclammation points to your story. And, Stacy, I hope you don’t mind my saying this but … while you were certainly an attractive woman with your extensions, nails, etc. … in my opinion, you are a true natural beauty now!

In your “after” pics you have a glow – yes, I hear you now, saying it’s just because you were hot and sweaty :) … no, it’s that glow seen with natural beauty.

I think you should submit this post to every format devoted to womens issues; you have written a powerful and moving story that needs to be given a “shout-out” for all to read.

Why do women continue to buy in to the glossy, air-brushed, [mis-]conception of beauty? Don’t you love the new Hanes for Women commercial? It surprises me, though, how some women can be the harshest critics when it comes to acknowledging there are many faces of beauty.

I’ve had to come to terms with an altered appearance …having a tracheotomy, feeding tube, and mastectomy doesn’t really scream beauty! However, as you so poignantly express – beauty is really fostered by what we are inside – a beautiful soul is deep, constant and long-lasting!

I’m so glad I came across your comment at Adrienne Smiths site! Thanks for sharing your journey to beauty.

Peppy
Peppy | The PeppyWrites Chronicles recently posted..Life’s Rear View Mirror: Glance Don’t Gaze.

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Stacey August 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Peppy….would you believe me if I told you my youngest sister has a tracheotomy! She is 23 now, one of a twin and as has had it since birth. I’ve seen the way people respond to her, treat her and discriminate against her because she is different. Seen the stares…heard the rude comments and watched her confidence disappear as she gets turned down for one job after and another because she is different. To say it breaks my heart is an understatement. To me…it does not get more beautiful than her…as despite all this…she still has a smile than will light up a room…and simply makes me laugh. Thank you for your kind words. I was a little scared to write this post…or what people would think…if they would be unkind…judgemental maybe…but it was a story that I felt by sharing..would help to liberate and encourage others to just be, their magnificent and wonderful natural self. I occasionally get the odd crisis of confidence….but for the most part I’m very much at peace with the way I look-now. This is the face that God gave me..and the heart….and both of the them are abundantly beautiful. Despite your situation, the feed tube, mastectomy etc…you are here…alive…sharing…shinning…loving….and laughing. You are blessed. Thank you for sharing your story with us here. It touched my heart deeply. Nuff love always.xx

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Julia August 22, 2011 at 9:08 am

Girl you are gorgeous. Love the natural look on you. Natural hair is freedom.

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Stacey August 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Thank you Julia…natural hair is freedom…you are right. I’d love me a big old afro…but for some reason the short cut just seams to fit me better. Thanks for coming over, reading and sharing.xx

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Vidya Sury
Twitter: vidyasury
August 23, 2011 at 12:47 am

This was so liberating to read. You. Are. Gorgeous. I guess for many women, stepping into the forties brings on the heebie-jeebies about that extra weight/impending menopause type of fright. When I was in school, most of the girls would wax while I just…er…waned, and sat reading a book, watching them. I just thought, would I really keep it up? And my answer was an instant No. So – it used to feel funny – being skinny, almost flat chested and generally not been seen as a woman. Oh, all that changed years later. :-) I am naturally smooth-skinned (thanks to being lazy) and ah, well, I have filled out in the right places. Some years of caregiving shifted the focus away from me and now I worry about falling hair. Yet, strangely, a couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that I actually didn’t care about how people saw me, so long as I was comfortable (and clean *wink*) and healthy. I feel beautiful enough, dressed in all the love I have in my life.

Again, great post. Nice to connect with you, Stacey.
Vidya Sury recently posted..So, Webify Me!

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Stacey August 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Thank you Vidya, I’m so humbled by the way this post has touched and connected with so many women. I love what you said “When I was in school, most of the girls would wax while I just…er…waned, and sat reading a book, watching them. I just thought, would I really keep it up? And my answer was an instant No.”. I see you have a way with words too, lol. Thank you for sharing your experience…you sound like you have come to a place of peace with yourself… I love that.xx

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Ryan August 28, 2013 at 4:39 am

I’m a university teacher, and I found your article because one of my students plagiarized it! Ha ha….still, I enjoyed the read :) ….my student is not going to enjoy her “F” :(

Have a nice day.

Ryan

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