Pain of Beauty

 Photo by  Mikail Duran  on  Unsplash

Photo by Mikail Duran on Unsplash

     Pinching skin, approaching scales, playing with color to match the glamours tones, baking skin for a magical glow, lightening shades to be respected, uncomfortably zipping dresses for the grown adult look. Wobbling in heeled shoes, because if the pumps match the paint on our toes, it's worth risking the fall. Tweezing, powdering, and tugging at face mask, just to be titled pretty. Hidden within the walls of the kingdom of beauty lies the princess of the world paying the price with the pain of beauty. We’re willing to endure the pain by fixing our physical features until we feel beautiful. We all know that true beauty comes from within, but feeling beautiful on the outside shouldn’t come at the cost of emotional or physical pain. Three things take place when we tweak our physical appearance. We unknowingly begin the cycle of never enough, dangerously find ways to conform with what we assume is beauty and set our physical features on a higher pedestal above other values that truly matter.

     We’ve all had moments where we don’t feel good about ourselves, lacking confidence in our appearance, but little do we know when we make this our main focus not only are we tweaking our physical appearance but trimming our self worth and value. When we pour time and energy into the reflection glaring back at us in the mirror we mentally shred our self confidence due to the insecurities of our physical features.

      My natural hair is basically a curly afro. Over the past couple of years I’ve tried numerous products and styles to hide my kinky curls. When I’m unable to afford much product or paying a professional at a salon to braid or twist my hair I find ways to live with it. One summer I lost count at how many times I dyed it to attempt a blonde beachy islander look. Once I exhausted myself of constantly changing the style of my hair, I had no choice but to leave it alone. For three months I stuck to a basic wash, moisturize, repeat routine. It seemed nothing I did with my natural hair was enough to satisfy me. I didn’t feel as pretty. Stares, glances, and surprising compliments followed. During this three month time frame I was approached one day by a young girl who had the biggest smile and eyes of fascination. Inside I assumed my hair looked unusual, out of style and gave people something to point at. To my surprise the girl said “Excuse me miss,  you’re beautiful.” I smiled thanked her and informed her of how she had made my day. Not only did it catch me off guard but it opened my eyes to a realization I hadn’t seen all along. Her compliment showed me that my hair was fine just the way it was. It also showed me that I let insecurities about my hair lead me to believe in something that was never a problem in the first place. Up til this compliment I allowed myself to believe my natural hair made me unpretty when really it really was a feature that brought out my natural beauty.

      We each have a feature or detail that makes us want to hunt for a quick fix when really there’s nothing broken about the features we assume need urgent or drastic care. No matter how much we cater to the specific details grown from insecurities of our physical appearance we find nothing will ever be enough to meet our high demands of beautiful. The truth that gets banned by the lies is that we’re already beautiful just the way we are.   

     Part of enduring the pains of beauty is non consciously following what we view as physically attractive or what everyone else is has claimed as cool. Without second thought, we appear before every mirror looking for ways to be like the majority. Just as our personalities are uniquely designed, so are our physical features. Even identical twins have their physical differences, what a world it would be if we all looked exactly alike. Nothing about us was created to be just like everyone else. Part of true beauty is spotlighting our differences. We shouldn’t be so quick to figure out how to fit everyone else's view of pretty when each of us naturally are by embracing our own physical features.

       No amount of lip color, perfect beach wave curl, or plucked eyebrows will ever be enough for those who size us up, checking their list twice to see if we’re pretty enough. What hurts more than burning creams, irritated skin or replacing meals with exercise is when we say goodbye to our truest selves. When we do all we can to hide birthmarks, bright eyes, short hair, average sized waistlines, and all, to invent what we think is pretty, when we stop changing ourselves to be like everyone else’s definition of beautiful, there’s suddenly no room for those who don’t accept us for who we truly are.  

     When we think about all that life entails, some things matter more than others and unfortunately some teach that our physical beauty is everything. Some are lucky enough to learn with age or experience that no matter how we look on the outside, what our hearts have to offer  matters more.