Health & Wellness: On Beauty & Being Beautiful

When I started this blog in the summer, I had a lot of trouble trying to come up with a tagline. I finally settled on ‘true beauty shines from within’. I know it sounds cheesy but I believe this with my whole heart. When I was younger, I read lots of Roald Dahl and I remember this particular line (coupled beautifully with a watercolor image below courtesy of Glitter Guide):

quote

source: glitterguide.com

This is a line I have remembered since I was a child. It really speaks to me. Up to when I was 18, I felt very unattractive and undesirable. I knew I was intelligent, curious and hardworking…but  I was convinced that I was ugly. I felt ugly. Not just outwardly but inwardly as well. I thought that I was weird and awkward because I had many strange ideas and weird ways of expressing myself. I kept to myself a lot and asked many questions – sometimes to the delight of the more kind-hearted adults around me. Most times though, I felt like the adults in my life just wanted me to disappear because I had an uncanny knack to call out things that made them uncomfortable. Even as a child, I knew I felt many things deeply. I didn’t have many ways to express this so I often went on ‘talking strikes’ where I would just give people the silent treatment or write in my journal as a way to cope. I knew I was different from other kids and especially from my sister who seemed more carefree and easy going…sometimes, I would wish that I was more like her.

I was rebellious from a young age and never put much credence to being feminine either. Skirts? No thanks. Long hair? Forget it. I cut my hair short and prided myself on being a weirdo. At 16, I convinced myself that I would never experience any sort of intimate/romantic love and become a cat lady with 50 cats and would die alone. I convinced myself that I was OK with this life plan. When I reveal this ‘plan’ to people in my life today, they find it hard to believe. Most people asked me why I thought this way and I often shrug it off. I guess it’s pretty hard to believe that someone who blogs about beauty and fashion would ever think of themselves as anything but the most gorgeous human being on the planet (hah. I wish.) But the truth is that I simply did not believe I was worthy of being loved because I did not think I was beautiful.

When I met The Boy six years ago, I didn’t believe that he saw me as beautiful. To be honest, I was petrified of male attention especially when men showed me any kind of romantic interest. I would try to control the situation and if that didn’t work, sabotage any potential friendship/ romantic relationship. The Boy can probably vouch for all the nonsensical shenanigans I tried to pull early on in our relationship.

I did all this because I didn’t like how I looked in the mirror…maybe that’s why I avoided mirrors for so long. I never spent the time to look at myself in the bathroom… to really appreciate my body and myself. I thought that women who spent too much time in front of the mirror were vain and self-important.

I only started to believe…really believe… that I was beautiful in my early 20s. I’m 25 now and I love how I look when I look into the mirror…but it’s taken me a long time. Some days, I still pick at all the things that are wrong with me. My stinky armpits. My lanky arms and legs that don’t coordinate. My poor eyesight. My mismatched eye sizes. My untameable sometimes wavy, sometimes curly, sometimes straight hair. The weird little bumps all over on my body. My small breasts. My mood swings. My being so totally, utterly emotional and hyper sensitive. My stubbornness. I could go on.

Maybe it’s because I’m older. Maybe it’s because I started working out again. Maybe it’s because I’ve been eating healthier. Or maybe it’s all those Women’s Studies classes and body positivity talk I surrounded myself with in university that has finally rubbed off.

All I know is that one day, I decided I was not ugly anymore. That I was beautiful, but more importantly, that I was a good person. Those ‘strange ideas’ I had as a child? That was my wonderful imagination and overflowing creativity. Those ‘weird ways of expressing myself’? That was me trying to figure out why I felt so deeply even as a child. Those ‘annoying questions’ I asked and the niggling feeling I got every time I saw something that wasn’t right …that was my curious nature and my affinity for justice and fairness. And all those hours I put into journal writing…they paid off because now, I proudly consider myself a writer. 🙂

I try to stop myself when I go down the self-hating path. I try to thank my body parts for doing the work they do. I try to find the things I love about me. My natural hair color. My hair’s thickness. My eye shape. My long legs. My broad shoulders. The shape of my waist. My surprisingly curvy hips and butt. My empathic abilities. My determination. My resilience. I even look in the mirror for extended periods of time now.

True beauty shines from the inside…I always knew this as a child but I never believed it until now.

audrey hepburn

image design credit: me words by Audrey Hepburn, image from Google

stay true xo

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