We spend hours in the bathroom and hundreds of dollars in our favorite shops making certain our hair is perfectly coiffed with not one out of place, our outfit compliments our best assets – just in case our date forgets to – and our makeup is effortlessly applied, masking and filtering our flaws.  All for the best first impression.

Who we are at first blush is hardly ever the best version of ourselves.

That’s hard to hear above a noisy pop culture. The one flooding our ears and filling our minds with false ideals of perfection. And illusive promises that the perfection we chase is the reflection of our significance.

We’ve listened to the clamor of clichés far too long. We’ve normalized criticizing and critiquing and swiping left or right for sport. We are blinded by desires to attain unreachable standards, for ourselves and others, and we cannot see beyond the veneers each of us tries so hard to keep polished.

When the day is done – when the makeup is washed off and the fancy clothes are stripped down – we can allow ourselves to take a breath and stop pretending that we have it all together all the time. We need to accept ourselves as the imperfect beauties we are, letting our truest colors seep through the cracks like light through a kaleidoscope.

I’m full of cracks and jagged edges. But I spent the better part of my young adult life fighting my body, cursing it for all the things it was and all the things it wasn’t. I wasted time shaming my imperfections and hiding my scars, forgetting to appreciate what they are: badges of strength and survival, meant to be celebrated and not condemned.

Our society’s voice does a spectacular job at reminding us that we’re a few crowns short of a beauty queen (unless you are one. Then get it, girl). What that annoyingly opinionated voice doesn’t tell us – maybe we just forget to listen – is that the things making us most flawed, tarnished, too complicated or broken are also the things that show our strength and fortitude, our sassy brassiness and our general badass-ery.

It’s taken a long time to fill the space that I’m in now. Where I realize we’re all just trying to make a mark in this world bold enough to keep our place in it. And I am not alone in all the times I have over-analyzed or under-estimated myself.

I know plenty more women have felt the way I have. That your form or style doesn’t fit a narrow mold so you question your worth and value. That you aren’t beautiful enough to talk to that charismatic guy you’ve been eyeing across the bar (you are, by the way, just as much as that leggy blonde next to you) so you settle for fighting over a bowl of bar nuts with the dude whose conversation skills are seriously lacking. That you won’t find The One so maybe you should just give up and finally adopt those cats (you will, by the way, but go get that cat. Make your own cat videos and send them to Ellen. She loves that shit).

I’m declaring it once and for all: ladies, we are all beautiful and worthy of every single good thing.  Whether you are short and curvy or tall and slim. Whether your skin is delicately pale or richly dark. Whether your hair falls in heaps of curls or hangs sleek and straight. Whether you rock heels or wheels. We are Queens. And fuck anyone or anything trying to tell us we aren’t.

Keep putting yourselves out there. Keep fighting against self-doubt and stereotypes for the sake of love. And everything else that makes you happy.

Be weird. Be different.

Be free and unabashedly proud of who you are.

BeYOUtiful

 

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