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
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
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)
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!
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.
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 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
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.
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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