When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a woman who is ever going to grace a magazine cover. There’s a white streak in my hair, growing more prominent with each passing day. That same hair is typically unruly, unless I have the time and inclination to spend an hour smoothing it with curling irons and other torture devices (usually don’t). After seven surgeries, I’m covered in scars, some more prominent than others. I have a high forehead and small facial features. My eyes will never be in perfect alignment. Got a few wrinkles here and there. Freckles in odd spots. Skin plagued by dryness and eczema.
All of this used to bother me.
These days my attitude can be summed up in one question: Who cares?
I’ve mentioned that I switched to a largely vegetarian diet at the beginning of this year and that I took up an exercise regimen roughly 7 months ago. Neither of these choices were driven by a need to comply with some vague, ever-changing beauty standard. Yes, I’ve lost weight and dropped a dress size, maybe two (depends on the day and how much chocolate I’ve eaten). But that size is not four – and it’s never going to be.
Again, who cares?
I do the clean eating and the weights and the cardio so that my liver will stop being all inflamed and ticked off. (Hasn’t happened yet).
I see women of all ages, shapes and sizes who waste precious hours condemning themselves for not being able to achieve the look of the models in photo shoots. How long before it finally sinks into our heads that they don’t even look like that because Photoshop? How long before we realize that starving ourselves really isn’t the answer? How long before we stop allowing others to define whether or not we are beautiful?
Instead of compliance, let’s shoot for confidence.
I love fashion. It’s never wrong to put together a great outfit or try a new lipstick. Enjoy, if that’s your jam. If you don’t like that, great. And, yes, women should take the time to exercise and eat right. Not because we need to prove something to the world, but because we see ourselves as being worth the effort self-care requires.
But if you’re 5 feet, 6 inches – why feel bad that you aren’t taller? If your eyes are green – why feel ashamed that they aren’t blue? If you have full eyebrows or sparse eyebrows, a curvaceous frame or a lanky one, straight hair or curly, big lips or thin, dark or pale skin, narrow feet or wide, if you like sparkles or prefer a gray t-shirt and blue jeans – it doesn’t matter. None of it matters.
Every time. Every day.
Walk into the room with your head held high. Believe that you have a lot to offer – because you do.
I’m over allowing anyone telling me that I’m “less than” because my hair grows throughout the day (especially if it’s humid). I’m over strangers telling me to “smile more.” (A particular pet peeve). I’m over fad diets. (Seriously. You need food. Real food). I’m over apologizing for being intelligent.I’m over worrying about whether or not I intimidate others.
I’m over feeling bad about myself.
I wish I would have figured out this confidence thing, I don’t know, about 20 years ago, but it is what it is. I don’t know how much time I have left on this earth but I do know I don’t want to spend it concerned over whether or not someone likes my jeans. I like my jeans. I’m just done with caring about opinions that don’t amount to a hill of beans.
You, dear lady reading this today – will you join me? When you look in the mirror, will you smile at yourself? Because your face was crafted by the skilled hands of the Master Designer. When you go into that meeting, will you speak up? Because your voice should be heard. When you put on that dress or slip those pins in your hair or zip up those boots, will you do so knowing that you rock whatever style you’ve chosen? Because you do. You do rock it.
Here’s to us, of the gap-toothed grins and the thick thighs and the hands gnarled with age. Here’s to us, of the frizzed-out hair and the eye wrinkles and the crooked noses. Here’s to us, of the flat butts that squats will never round out and the raspy voices and the Bohemian flair. Here’s to us, of skin as dark as coffee and pale as winter snow and all shades between.
We are gorgeous.