The Absurdity Of Beauty

The Absurdity Of Beauty

Are you beautiful?

It’s not really a huge debate anymore that the media’s depiction of beauty is one that is unattainable. Show anyone the cover of People magazine or Vogue and they’ll say, “Yeah, of course that’s Photoshopped.” And of course comparing yourself to a fake image of an ideal is ridiculous. Countless bloggers, social media personalities, celebrities, and even just everyday people have voiced this already. It’s obvious, especially when you’re relaying this information to someone else. “You are beautiful because you are you,” you can readily say…to other people.

But to yourself? That’s another story.

How can you see yourself as beautiful when you aren’t like the people in the magazines, on the screen, even on Instagram, for crying out loud? The people on Instagram aren’t celebrities. They’re normal, like you…but somehow they’re beautiful. Other people are different. Other people can be beautiful, they just need to believe it. But you? You know yourself. And you’re not like that. You can’t be. You’ve seen the way you look when you wake up in the morning – you’ve seen the way your look in every moment that’s not a selfie.

It is so hard to accept the same level of love and admiration that you freely give to others. However, this self-love is so important to have. A large part of the difficulty in grappling with this comes from the wild standards of beauty in our culture.

The phrase “beauty standard” is accurate in that it recognizes that there is, in fact, a “standard” -- an arbitrary equilibrium that people are expected to reach. Many “beauty tips” are simply methods of masking our stronger features. If you’re short, wear vertical stripes and heels to appear taller; but if you’re tall, opt for maxi dresses and flats to look shorter. If you have a square face, wear round glasses, but don’t you dare do that if your face is round. Back pocket decals can serve to add volume to a flatter butt, but if you already have junk in your trunk? Don’t even think about it.

And whatever standard society is working toward isn’t even constant anyway. Would the curves of the '50s be as sought after in the heroin-chic populated '90s, or the butts of today as coveted for in the '20s when boyish figures dominated?

I remember one of my friends complimenting me on a shirt I own, saying that she couldn’t pull off the high halter neck because of her broad shoulders. Thinking back on it, I wonder – why not? So what if it accentuates her shoulders? Of course, I know the answer is because having features made too obvious is a huge “don’t” in the beauty world. The shirt will make her wide shoulders look wider-- oh no!

In all honesty, she could pull off the shirt if she wanted to. She could pull off shoulder pads if she wanted to! Her shoulders could take over the world if she wanted them to, but that’s just it. It all comes down to her.

There are advantages that stereotypical “beautiful” people have in society, and I recognize that as a smaller, thinner person, I possess some of those. That said, I’ve still struggled with a lot of body issues in the past. I consider myself a small, bottom-heavy person with short, thick legs. My face is round. My hands are fat and sloppy. I have acne, which I pick at, so it scars. I have a lot of dark body hair, I slouch when I stand, my teeth are yellowing. Do I find these things beautiful? In all honesty? No. I actually feel weird calling myself a beautiful person because I don’t think I am,but I don’t feel the need to be.

I actually love how compact my legs are. I love how a lot of my fat goes to my thighs and stomach so I can squish them. I like that my face is round – or maybe I don’t actively like, but I don’t mind it, anyway. My body hair makes me feel like a bear, but bears are real freaking great, aren’t they? I have two thirds of my head shaved and wear heavy eyeliner and not because I think those things are beautiful. It's because they feel right on me. What else? I’m definitely pretty chill, and I like to think I’m funny in a deadpan sort of way. I create things. I’m awesome at sleeping. I know how to deal with my anxiety, I love learning things, and I am so good at managing my time that I’ve never had to pull an all-nighter. I can be all of these things without being beautiful.

And that’s the thing. Who are you, really, in the end? Your life is not balanced on whether or not you are considered beautiful, either by yourself or by other people. Can you even be beautiful? Sure, if you want to be. But you can also be so, so much more.

Cover Image Credit:

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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