Day 18: What is Beauty?

Saturday, Sept. 28

What does beauty mean to me? What does it mean to be beautiful? And why am I able to accept other people and yet I’m so hard on myself?

I used to think that beauty came from within. I grew up being told so (thank you, Mom). And even that I was beautiful in the superficial sense (thank you again, Mom, fam, friends). But when did I stop believing it? Or, better yet, did I ever REALLY buy into the whole concept of inner beauty?

Yes. And no. I mean, yes I believe in inner beauty, but no, I never really accepted it whole-heartedly. I want to blame someone for this disbelief. Magazines. TV. Popular kids. Fashion. Photoshop. I don’t know who to blame. Everyone?

But what if it’s not that simple? What if the biggest problem with self-acceptance and beauty is…me??? (Well, that’s a great way to squash that inner-confidence even more, like…all the way to nil) So, it’s all my fault. But even with that admission, how can I come to trust my inner beauty and believe that it permeates to the outer part of my body? Is it too late?

Will I be a little old lady, with grey hair (okay, I probably will never have grey hair so long as they keep those shelves at Super-T stocked with boxes of color), who’s still trying to diet, who gets all “made up” to go nowhere, and can’t hold back when shopping the sales racks (even if there’s nowhere to wear those fancy clothes)?

Is it normal to look at other people and notice every detail, and have a conversation in your head about what decision-making process went into everything a person wears, does, says, doesn’t do, doesn’t say? (See: Over-analytical. See: Curse. See: Eternal Curse.) Doesn’t that mean everyone is looking at me like that? Having their own internal monologue about me? Am I supposed to NOT think like that?

I imagine it’s this intense way of thinking that makes me want to write (and some might even say it makes me GOOD at writing, not that I would ever toot my own horn, insert winky face here). I like to imagine other people’s thoughts, fears, and motives. Figure out what makes each person unique, whether real or imaginary. I love writing about characters who are troubled, because even if they are aware of what’s troubling them, they have a tough time fixing themselves. And that’s interesting to me. And maybe they can never really be fixed. But maybe they realize that they weren’t all that troubled after all.

What???

Yea.

Maybe it’s okay to have been wrong. To look back (before it’s too late) and realize that maybe you were too hard on yourself. You might wonder, since when did I get so insecure? And why is it so hard for some people (like me) to winningly accept compliments? What is the “root”, as a psychologist might put it? Do you need to know the origin of your own dysfunction? Or can you move forward on the mere acknowledgement of said dysfunction alone?

Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s never too late to change and become the person who you want to be, who you imagine you are, even if and when there are bumps in the road (so cliché, I know).

Not sayin’ I’m healed or anything. Not saying I haven’t come up with a dozen excuses of why I should just put it on anyways (makeup, duh), despite my sadomasochistic vow (to abstain from makeup for an entire month). Let me be real: I am literally (see: the new definition of “literally”, of which I despise, even though I’m using it that way right now) dying inside sometimes, from not wearing makeup (and don’t call me dramatic, I hate it when people state the obvious). But, I also am getting used to staying in bed those precious extra 10-15 minutes that I had previously spent applying makeup (I can actually do it in under 5 if needed, yea, I’m that good).

And, on a deeper level, I suppose that maybe, possibly, reluctantly, begrudgingly…I am beginning to accept myself for who I am (including how I look), without the muss, the fuss, the mirrors. Once you step away from the superficial, you begin to question why it all mattered so much to begin with. And it gets easier (not EASY! but less painful at least) to not care.

Because, honestly, who has THAT much free time to spend worrying about how you look, and least of all, what other people think about how you look? Freeing myself from that way of thinking has been like liberating my brain to be useful in so many other ways! Like doing this.

I’ve always believed that people WILL make time for what’s important to them (whether they admit it or not, or continue to makes excuses for why they don’t have the time for this or that), and so my progress can be seen in spending LESS time doing my makeup and getting dressed, and MORE time writing.

And that, my friends, is truly beautiful.

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One thought on “Day 18: What is Beauty?

  1. I like this experiment you’re doing, Aimee. What a great catalyst for thoughts on the self. Love it!
    It’s so true, we (as in women) spend WAY too much time obsessing over make up and clothing and hairstyles, that it’s not about ourselves anymore, we’re just doing what we believe is expected of us. What a waste of time.
    Great post and I’m excited to learn more about your discoveries!

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