“My body hurts from all the points where my waist trainer has tried to strangle me to death. My thighs ache from all the squatting with dumbbells the size of Texas. I don’t even want to talk about the burn I got from the last butt enlargement cream I got last week.”
“My boyfriend has never seen me without makeup and it’s gonna be that way if I wanna keep him. My nose looks horrible without highlights and contours. My lips are too full not to be lined always…and no, there’s no way in hell I’m stepping out without my fake lashes on”
“I just had a baby and I hate myself already. I mean, my tummy is back to normal but I hate the stretch marks so much that my skin is red and raw from me trying to brush them away. And of course, I’ll have to bottle-feed my baby; there’s no way I’m losing my bouncy boobs for a baby who’ll dump the boobs in a few months anyway”
“I’ve always had narrow hips and a flat chest and every day I suffer when I see people who flaunt what I’ll never have. Silly people tell me I should ditch all my lightening creams and potions but what do they know about being flat chested and jet black with all the men flocking around them?”
We’ve all known these things; in many ways, we are these women and no, I sincerely do not believe that when we are alone. We do not bare our souls to ourselves, silently confessing our desires to be different in little ways that perhaps, we alone notice.
There’s no way to define beauty in a way that all heads will nod in agreement. I’ve learnt that if you suffer to look in a certain way, (to please certain people or notions beyond your personal, honest desire to accept yourself and feel gorgeous, no matter what your default “look” looks like) then it is not sustainable beauty.
I’m trying not to sound too serious. Here’s the deal, beauty is not complete without “SELF CONFIDENCE”. Note that I’m not referring to the “diva façade” many people put on, as though we cannot smell the uneasiness you bear beneath the weight of all that “over-do”. I think that if a person can’t take in the image of themselves as beautiful, worth preserving and a deposit of malleable awesomeness, they’ll never find true beauty. The picture they are trying to become is another’s true self and will always sit awkwardly in their body.
Firstly, I think that we should recognize ourselves and glory in the beauty of your God-given gifts. Let the whole world see it just the way you see it, until they can barely notice that flaw. Wear that afro like a crown and let the splendor of it radiate until they wonder whether it’s you or just the hair. If you’ve got hips, forget about your acne for a minute and strut like you mean it. You’ll figure that you were the only one seeing the acne all along. If you’ve got great ebony skin, wear it like diamonds and just glow. When you concentrate on your “A’ points, you radiate the grandeur and people can pick up on it.
Secondly, get comfortable in your skin. It’s easier to do this if you have defined the things that are beautiful about yourself in such a way that you feel more wholesome. I used to feel really insecure about a lot of things until I redefined what beauty meant with respect to me. I am now the petite girl with bold eyes, full lips and a fro that you must say hello to. All of a sudden, I started hearing comments on how small was sexy and full lips kissable and blabla. These things became extras that I barely care about now because I did not let them be the standard in the first place. Haven’t you seen fat girls who make you feel like their body is a must-have…or skinny girls who’d make having nothing but great skin and long legs seem like “jackpot”? It’s all in how you wear it.
Thirdly, work to enhance what you’ve got. If you need to lose some pounds to rock your amazing body in whatever size suits you, or get rid of the acne so that we can see how great your skin can be without them, or need to do your eyebrows right so that your amazing eyes can pop…then by all means do so. But let all these be a journey to freeing a better and more beautiful version of yourself. Let this be because you are strong enough to get rid of whatever is in the way of you being more alluring and an inspired piece of God’s creation. Let this not be a medium to suffer yourself because you want to be what beauty is to the society or men or even women who you think are like you but know nothing about being you.
Fourthly, accept being beautiful as a process whose scope and methodology changes as you evolve but keep you feeling amazing at all the different points of your life. Enjoy being pregnant and nursing your body back to shape, being chubby and pretty, being black and freckled or short and shapely. Take it all in and wear yourself like a million dollar dress bejeweled with diamonds.
For the records, I love make up and I’m even squatting to see if my tomatoes can bloom just some more. But it’s not a do or die affair and having healthy goals and expectations have brought me into a place of happiness and perhaps, beauty. And whether or not you accept it, many people see that and agree with it, because that’s how it works.
Biko just for the records, self-confidence is different from self-deception, and this isn’t for women alone; we all need to understand these things.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime