A world without standard.

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“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful, than the belief that she IS beautiful.”

Let’s talk. Let’s talk about the idea of what “beauty” is, and how we, as people,  particularly as women and girls, become “beautiful.”

Societies all over the world, show beauty in different ways. From what I’ve studied, women in Africa show beauty through intricate body paintings, and lip plates. In certain Middle Eastern countries, women become beautiful with stunning body wraps, or colorful head scarves. Here, in America, society opinions of beauty tend to revolve around a woman’s physical form, through smaller body sizes, makeup, and how a woman chooses to dress themselves. While none of these American views of feminine beauty are necessary wrong, it’s become very apparent within the past few decades how “important” they’ve become within mainstream society. Important enough so that our opinion of ourselves has been steered relentlessly towards the mindset of physical completion through society standards instead of towards what truly matters: that true beauty comes from within.

Have you ever really LOOKED at how biased society has become towards the female form? How there are FAR more stores within our malls that cater towards “beauty” products, and clothing, than any other kind of consumer product? How commercials are nearly entirely based on being a “wrinkle-free,” and “swim suit ready” mentality? How in order to be “beautiful” or “desirable” a woman must be a size 5, always dressed in fashionable clothing, with perfect hair, and a face full of makeup? That, according to magazines, the only way that you’ll be happy in life, is if you conform to the beauty of “perfection?” Or worse, if you’re NOT a size 5, without a face full of makeup, you’re not “good enough” to be seen? Because showing gray hair upon your head, or an un-formed eyebrow means that you don’t care about yourself, or body?

Well, I’m here to call ALL of that “beautiful perfection” as bullshit. How does painting one’s face every day, or covering up the gray within one’s hair, define a person’s beauty? Those winking little wrinkles around your eyes, and your mouth? They’re from smiling, and laughing. They grow each year because of JOY. So why do we feel the need to cover them up, or worse yet, erase them? Why are these beautiful marks of life considered “imperfections?” Those lovely strands of gray, threading their way throughout your hair? They’re because, as humans, we age. Have we turned a blind eye to how miraculous that is? The blessing of being well enough to celebrate another year of life, when there are so many others, because of illness, & disease, who don’t receive that blessing? Why should being a size 5 determine what a woman can or cannot wear? Does being a size 14, automatically guarantee that I won’t look just as beautiful in a summer dress, or bathing suit, as I would if I was wearing a pair of jeans? Why do we, as women, place so much importance on what others think?

Have we forgotten how important we are as individuals? There’s no such thing as a cookie-cutter society, so why do we force ourselves into a cookie-cutter mindset? I, for one, refuse to do so. Why? Because my life is my own. It’s not one that’s based on what others think, or feel.

Last year, before loosing all of my hair to chemotherapy, I fell into that vicious social standard. Because I was a size 18, at that point in time, I wore jeans all the time, and shirts that hid my arms and stomach. I felt uneasy, when being out in public places, because of my weight, and because of what others might think. Which, once you really sit down, and THINK about, was, and still is, ridiculous. Yes, ridiculous. Life is complicated enough, when faced with it’s many uncertainties, than to be controlled by a society’s biased opinion.

Because of my experience with chemotherapy, and how it changed my entire body last year, I’ve found myself learning how important being REAL is. Being real about my heart, and my thoughts, and the importance of lessons learned. Lessons of forgiveness, and strength, of health, and beauty. Lessons that have shaped me into a different, hopefully better, woman this year.

A woman who’s learned that I am more beautiful with a makeup-free face, no matter my wrinkles, and scarred skin. That I am more beautiful with a hair full of lovely strands of gray, and brown freckles upon my shoulders. That I am more beautiful without painted nails or toes. That I am more beautiful because I SHOW my true, natural beauty. Because I show MYSELF.

Imagine what we could do, within society, and our own lives, if we lived within our own beauty, without bias, or expectation. Without worrying about appearances or standards. Perhaps we would accept more, we would care more, we would love more. Perhaps we would BE more.

So here’s my challenge, to women far and wide, no matter your physical size, or age, or skin tone. BE YOU. The real you. Without that painted face of makeup. Without the perfect colored hair, or perfect shaped eyebrows. You, with all of your beautiful wrinkles, and battle scars. With bared shoulders, and bared legs. YOU are BEAUTIFUL. You, beyond what a misguided society may think. You are, and have always been WORTHY. Your physical size doesn’t dictate your worth. It never has, and never will. Believe it. I do. So now, go SHOW it. Get out there, in a pretty new dress that shows off those lovely legs, or a dreamy new shirt that shows off those freckled shoulders, and show them what beauty truly IS.

I believe in your beauty.

I believe in you.

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