I know that what is written on this blog is to be generally considered fairly shallow and vain. I want to try my best to address why I do like writing about this so much and why it's been a journey for me to get here.
I've never really considered myself a beautiful person - NO, I'm not fishing here for those who might know me - but it was really set in stone for me when I went on a camping trip with a family whose daughter applied makeup on the way to the camping site. Me, with my boy cut hair and camping clothing, couldn't hope to compare to the person with curly red hair, five inches taller than everyone there, smart, matching hiking gear, and with perfect makeup. Her daddy took a picture of her and said that a photographer wouldn't even have to edit her photo at all and then took a picture of me, looked at it and said, "Well, we'll have to work on you."
It hit me like a knife in my gut; never before had I been so unfairly judged or insulted. And that feeling of accepting that I just wasn't that great looking pretty set itself into my heart permanently.
*Enter violin music* Pathetic, I know.
So imagine if you will, someone who has been told all her life the classic, "you have a wonderful personality and are so pretty on the inside" trying to accept that she will never be anything more than the awkward girl next door. It's frustrating. And it's hard, especially when you're trying your best to be stoic and realistic about it. I started growing my hair out and it got really long, to about my hip. I started obsessing; I finally had something of my own that not a lot of people had and it was soooo pretty and lovely and everyone wanted to touch it. I couldn't NOT think about it.
Everyday was focused on the opportunity to show off my hair, which - when looking back at it, wasn't all that great. I mean, it wasn't bad, but there was a lot of damage, I didn't wash it enough and the bangs just kinda sucked.
So I chopped it off. Again. And started up a new mindset: if I can't be pretty, then I'll be bada$$, hip, funky, cool, hence the spiky pictures of my hair that I've posted in two posts back.
I tried to not think about my appearance and how I felt about myself, because I knew that, in God's eyes, I was beautiful to Him no matter what, and as much as I tried to remember that my opinion of myself only got worse. I was still constantly thinking of how I looked and how I just didn't compare to other people. I knew and know it's wrong to do that, again, I was hand-crafted by my Sweet Abba and that should have been enough, but I think that I started embracing a mindset that was just as negative as being constantly obsessed with myself in that I didn't have a realistic idea of how I truly looked. I would downplay myself on purpose.
Slowly but surely, I have begun to accept a more realistic and accurate idea of my own beauty. I think a lot of why we have this falsified concept of what is attractive in this world is because of how much society pushes synthetic beauty.
Aha! Little lightbulb goes on in my head! I know that the way the world views us normal, non-photoshopped, looking women is wrong, but I know that we are beautiful and should strive to value ourselves as such, why not promote a more natural, better, organic means of promoting that beauty?
And here we are. It's still a journey and I still struggle with my self-image a lot, but I've really come to appreciate the little things that I've been doing to pamper myself and my ego. I love long hair. I just do and I always will. I will NEVER cut it shorter than my waist ever again because I feel beautiful with it. And not only because it's long, but because it is truly healthy. I like having longer nails. I have to find a balance because I am a pianist and having long nails can effect my proficiency in playing, but as long as I keep them healthy, I am happy. I like making sure my skin is hydrated through the best means possible and I love sharing what I'm learning with people.
This isn't just about external beauty either, it's about becoming beautiful from the inside out and it's about learning to embrace yourself and who you are and taking care of yourself. It's our job to maintain our bodies; we've been given them for such a short period of time, why not take care of them as best as we can?
I know that hair and skin and nails still seems a bit shallow, but it helps me stay grounded. When I get these things off of my chest via blogging or on youtube, it helps de-stressify my life and allows me to tackle the many difficult things that I am challenged with. Brushing my hair is relaxing and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
I know that I am and always will be beautiful in the eyes of my God who created me, and I know that He has a purpose for my life that I'm sure has nothing to do with how perfect I can get my french manicure, but I do know that to fully achieve what His will for me, I need to have a good opinion of myself and feel confident in who I am. Without confidence and endurance, without the faith that there is Someone who cares enough about us that we should treasure ourselves I believe that we have very little that we can truly call our own.
Okay...*gets down from soapbox*. I think I'm done for now, but like I said earlier, that was very important for me to share with you. Thanks for listening!