Lately I've been seeing a "beauty challenge" going around Facebook and Instagram. Basically, you post a collage of pictures of yourself that make you feel beautiful and then you challenge other girls to do the same thing. I was challenged tonight by one of my best friends and figured it was a good time to share some thoughts on beauty. Especially after this week. Being secure in ourselves and our body image has been a major topic of discussion between me and my girl friends this week. So instead of posting a bunch of pictures of myself, I decided to share with you a few things about the average girl's struggle with beauty. Here are two things that really test my self-confidence.
~Being told I look young and the graceless way people tend to address the fact.~
The night before my cousin's wedding, some of us bridesmaids were talking about how people mistake us for teenagers on a normal basis. A week rarely goes by that I don't get told I look like a teenager or people ask me how I got to my destination since I couldn't possibly be old enough to have my license. And honestly, it's frustrating. Being told, "Oh, you'll love looking young when you're older and everyone else is getting grey hair!" doesn't make it okay. The next morning I went in to get my makeup done for the wedding and you know the first thing the stylist asked me? How old are you? I answered back that I was turning twenty-three in a few days. Her response: What?! You look seventeen. Oh, and laughter. Yes, she laughed. Do you think being laughed at for your looks is a build up or a tear down? That would be the latter.
~Being shamed for being thin time and time again.~
All girls should feel confident about their size, especially if they are living a healthy lifestyle and doing their best to take care of themselves. All sizes are beautiful. I don't bash people bigger than me, so don't bash me because I'm small. Comments like- Are you anorexic? You're such a stick! You need to eat something. You need to gain weight. You shouldn't be working out. You're not allowed to feel fat. Size zero is disgusting.- I've heard these comments since I was a little girl. Somehow society has determined that if someone is skinny, you can make rude comments and get away with it. I don't know who decided that's okay, but it's not.
Feeling beautiful and confident in your skin isn't always easy. People can tear you down even when there intentions aren't always to do so. If I left my sense of self worth or beauty in the hands of the world, I would be in a lot of trouble. Sure, there are many many times that I fight insecurities of feeling unwanted, or too skinny, or ugly, or my hair is too big, or my teeth are too crooked, etc. But let me tell you, when I take all those thoughts away---I feel beautiful. Not because of how I look, because we all know I'm no supermodel, but because I was created to be exactly how I am. Why would I want to be anything else? I have one of a kind hair, eyes, skin, and body shape. I am ME and no one else ever will be. And you are YOU and no one else ever will be.
So whether you look eight years younger than you should or eight years older than you should, don't let that change who you are. If you feel too skinny or too fat, don't let that change who you are. If your eyes are brown and not blue, if your hair is too frizzy or too flat, if your feet are too big or too small---just stop. You are beautiful just how you are and please don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Friday, January 17, 2014
My days have recently felt empty and hollow and lacking joy. Lame, right? Tell me about it! But guess what? Those feelings can easily be suppressed by all this beauty around me! My heart is overwhelmed when I think about all these blessings!
I live in a beautiful city. And there is no snow on the ground. Perfection.
My brother is the best. He does things like picks me up from the airport after midnight, brings me a house key when I lock myself out of the house, and makes me laugh with all his weirdness and wittiness.
My sister-in-law is also the best. I'm glad God gave me the big sister I always wished I had growing up. God bless her heart for marrying my crazy brother! She has become one of my best friends. My shopping buddy, the first person I go to about almost everything, my fellow Starbucks/Adrians/sugar addict, and so much more. I love this girl.
My brother and sis-in-law allowing me to live in their home with them. I mean, seriously? Not many people would be willing to let someone live with them. Especially when having a baby in the house and busy lives to keep up with. They do SO much for me. I try to return the favor whenever I can, but I feel like nothing I do could show them how much I appreciate what they are doing for me. And FYI...living with them is a blast.
I have the best niece in the world. She is so full of joy. Nothing puts me in a better mood than being around her. Her giggles and smiles are so incredibly contagious. Even when she is grumpy, I don't mind. Her mommy and daddy like to apologize when she cries in the middle of the night, but I hope they know that I could never be upset with that baby for waking me up with her tears. Baby girl is loved.
I have a job and super awesome co-workers. Those girls have become like a second family to me since moving here. I mean, we do spend every waking minute together! ...Or at least it feels like it sometimes! Work is so much better when you have a great boss and great people to spend your days with!
I have a loving family back in Wisconsin. Even though I can't be with them, it's always so nice getting unexpected texts and calls from friends and family telling me they love me, are thinking of me, and praying for me. I miss them and it's good to know that when I come back home...whenever that may be...they will be there waiting for me with open arms.
I have friends across the globe. Sometimes I hate this because it means I don't get to see them very often. Just this past week I was trying to set up a Skype date with my friend in Ireland...never happened. Dang time difference! Even though this can be a pain sometimes, I realize how blessed I am. And might I add...more excuses for taking trips! I am in the process of planning a trip to Rhode Island to get together with some college friends and I am stoked! Just this past weekend I was able to spend time with one of my best friends from school. I get to have phone dates often. It's fun when friends drop in unexpectedly, and it makes it more special when I actually do get to see/talk to friends...the list goes on. Long distance friendships can be really hard, but they are such a blessing at the same time.
And as always, I am thankful for over-sized t shirts, leggings, fuzzy socks, fluffy pillows, and fuzzy blankets. My happiness summed up right there for ya, folks. Simplicity.
This list goes on. It's so easy to become consumed with life and work and "the norm" that the beauty in life gets taken for granted. It feels good to just pause and think about all the wonderful things in life. The beautiful parts in life do a great job of outshining the ugly. I am blessed...and so full of joy.