What’s Beautiful To You?

The word prompt was angry, but I am not. I rarely get angry, like that gut-wrenching anger, but when I do, it shows. And so I keep off social platforms until I cool off, because I don’t believe I’ll say anything constructive to the world anyway. I’ll just spew gibberish that could bite me in future. They say ‘the internet never forgets’ and I don’t want to be remembered that way, it’s a personal choice. However, it so happens that of late I have been thinking, hearing and watching a lot on what we deem as beautiful and what it takes for us to love ourselves – self-love we call it. It has been an ongoing discussion all over the place. We believe that it mostly affects women because we’re the ones who are super sensitive when it comes to our body image and what people think and say of us. But I came to realize it’s actually a burden that touches on everyone, both men and women, because of the ideals on beauty that have been created by who else but us.

We believe that for you to be classified as beautiful, you need to be a certain complexion, be a certain height, be a certain weight, have a certain facial structure – from forehead, nose, eyes, teeth, cheeks, have a certain evenness on your skin, have a certain length of hair, have certain thickness or thinness, have your butt and bust popping or flat – and you’ll see people do wonders to their bodies to reach those universal standards that have been set as the ideals of what beautiful is. It’s quite a human thing to do, because we are all chasing perfection in one way or another, and we’d like to be identified with what’s acceptable. It’s seems easier that way, but is it so?

The problem comes in when some of these features are just a part of who you are, and there’s nothing much that you can do change that –  no make up, or exercise can get you there, unless you go for surgery. And after watching a couple of episodes for Botched, trust me, you’re better off staying the way you are. We believe in these ideals so much, because we’ll be so quick to call out people who we feel don’t match them – when you say so and so is dark, so and so has a flat ass, so and so is fat, so and so has kinky hair, so and so has tiny boobs, so and so has a big nose, so and so has a five head –  and so they’re not beautiful. In our own little ways, we participate in shaming the imperfections that people physically carry, most of which is not their choice. They just happen to be created that way.

And we glorify this ideals so much, that we use it to determine many things both in our personal and commercial lives. Like who will be the face of our products or services, or who will be your friend because they are automatically cool for being ‘beautiful’, or who you will date because ‘beautiful’ is one of the qualities you look for in a partner. And you will find people changing their physical features to fit in, to be loved, to belong – and you can’t blame this person, because it’s lonely being shamed for how you were created, feeling like you’re not enough, or that if only you could change this or that about yourself maybe things will be different – and unfortunately, we prove that because things turn out to be different. People like you more, people accept you, people give you more attention. But I don’t think one is at peace with themselves.

Soul Food, Eye Candy

We are the ones in control of what beautiful means to us, not the standards or ideals that have been set by a select few. Body image is the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception. Work on how you perceive yourself, believe that your imperfections are what make you different, they’re what make you beautiful. There are tough days, yucky days, days you look at the mirror and feel absolutely ugly, like beauty is a foreign thing – but it’s about what you feed your mind, it’s always about what you feed your mind. Just believe that you’re IT.

Your imperfections are marks of authenticity and that is the beauty of you ~ Isaac King Fowler

It’s also up to each of us to challenge these ideals and to accept the people around us as they are. In as much as we preach about self-love, love from those that matter to us is just as important. Criticize with love, and not from an angle of inadequacy. Because everyone is struggling in their own way when it comes to loving their body wholesomely. And they don’t need to be reminded about it every other time of what they lack or have in plenty. Sometimes what you need to be reminded of is that it’s not so much about your outward appearance, but who you are as a person, and that makes all the difference. It’s not about your nose, or your forehead, or your breasts, or your butt, or your tummy, it’s also about the vibe you bring, the value you add to life and how much soul you have. And you’s kind, you’s smart, you’s important – my favorite line by Katherine Stockett. Sometimes you need to be reminded of those small but impactful facts.

Happy Thursday.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*