I am not the prettiest girl you’ll meet. And I’m ok with that.
Growing up I dubbed myself the funny one.
Growing up we think outward beauty is the rule, not the exception. As we age we learn that it is in fact the exception, not the rule. I have an uncommon combination of rather unique features. And a half lazy eye. So there’s that.
As a kid my hair was longer but I never really knew what to do with it. It was bone straight and only held a curl under the weight of an entire can of Aqua Net. I wanted blonde hair but mine was nearly dark as night. I wanted blue eyes like my mom. My eyes are small so options for dramatic shadow was nil. Mascara was pointless. My glasses buried all of it anyway.
My mother always said makeup is to enhance your natural beauty and not much is really needed. But I always wanted to look “done up”. It’s just that my face wasn’t made for it. But that’s what “pretty” was. The girls on TV, in my magazines, at school. They all had gobs of make-up and beautiful hair. I wanted that. My body type has always been the unusual inverted triangle with broad shoulders and narrow hips. Clothes fit oddly most times. I wanted to be taller with legs that went for days. I wanted to be thinner. I was a dancer who genetically amassed muscle easily so I clocked in at 145 and 5 foot tall. As a teenager you don’t understand that muscle weighs more than fat, you just want to see a number on the scale. I became a cheerleader in High School because I didn’t want to dance anymore. But also because I knew my looks weren’t going to win people over, it would have to be my energy and wit. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t the kid that other kids made fun of. I got contacts in High School even though I couldn’t see well out of them. I got them because I wanted to be pretty. I continued searching for “pretty” year after year after year…
It takes a lot of self-reflection and focus on the inside to be able to look in the mirror and think you look good. I think my insides are beautiful. I think that the key to me seeing the outer beauty was to align my appearance with my personality and with my success in the corporate world. Once they were in sync everything felt better. I stopped focusing on my face and focused on my overall appearance. I leveraged my wardrobe. I felt confident.
I didn’t appreciate my features until well into adulthood. And by “well into” I mean about 30 years old. My uncommon combination of rather unique features are that of two very beautiful souls who created me out of love. I look like both of them. I have my mother’s eye shape with the color of my fathers. My nose is his but the crease in the center of it mirrors hers. My hair is my fathers, as is the dimple in my chin. My broad shoulders are that of my mothers and they hold firm under the weight of motherhood.
Evolution is inevitable. High school beauty only lasts so long. And boy, folks really try to hang on to it. I rather have what I have today then to have been the pretty one in school.
I think we, as a society, need to lay off the makeup. All of this contouring and layers upon layers of foundation leaving women unrecognizable when bare faced. I’m not entirely sure we are sending the best message to our youthful girls.
We continue to create unrealistic beauty standards knowing the harm it does.
A video of a woman contouring her cleavage, throat and collarbone came across my newsfeed the other day and I just watched in awe. I am flabbergasted at just how much we have developed a hate for our natural selves.
These unrealistic beauty standards are killing self-confidence before it even has a chance to grow.