(the artwork is my own)
There is beauty in everything, even ugly things. Beauty is a combination of form, color and motion. Certain formations provide for us an aesthetic experience. Each individual experiences a different version of beauty. Your vision of beauty may not be a choice. Just as some people love the flavor of cilantro and some hate it, we all have a different reaction to the things we see. Sometimes we’re born with these preferences and sometimes they are influenced by the things we see, hear, and learn growing up.
The most difficult thing to objectively see is yourself.
When I was a little girl, I used to cut out photographs of women in fashion magazines. I would meticulously remove their tall, thin bodies from their surroundings. Then I would store these cutouts in an envelope. I thought of them as my dolls- but I don’t remember ever “playing” with them. But I admired them. They were so beautiful.
I always liked to draw women. I drew impossibly tall, thin women. People would comment on how skinny they were and I would feel embarrassed. I was not skinny.
I still like to draw women. But I see things a lot more clearly with my 32 year old eyes than I did with my 12 or 22 year old eyes. Now I see beauty in our differences. I see facets of beauty in female figures of all shapes and sizes. I think a woman can be very beautiful at a wide variety of sizes, but the most aesthetically pleasing body to my eye is a healthy one. I like to see bodies that celebrate life. I like to see a high waist and a long curve to the hip. I love to see athletes, especially sprinters with their powerful thighs. And glowing skin in all shades, especailly warmed by the joy of movement.
I can see the beauty in frailty. And a kind of sad beauty in emaciation.
I see the beauty in a curvy cherub of a woman. And yet another kind voluptuous beauty in the reubenesque.
No body type disgusts me. But my idea of beauty is about being strong and healthy.
And because it feels so rebellious to say so: I see beauty in myself. I am not perfect. I am flawed. My body is not perfect. There are good and bad things about every single thing in the universe. Nothing is black and white. The grass is not greener somewhere else. It is useless to yearn to be someone else. I can only be me.
The most beautiful thing in a person, to me, is self-acceptance and self-respect. A smile with the eyes. A full, hearty laugh. Dancing with no reservation. Kindness. Open-mindedness. Personal style. Self-awareness. Warmth.
I refuse to allow anyone to tell me that there’s only one way to be beautiful. I refuse to feel that I’m not good enough. I don’t buy the lie they feed us. I am beautiful.
You are too.