I’ve been thinking about beauty a lot lately, particularly in the context of creating this new home for my story and starting this site. Because it’s about so much more than beauty as we define it in our society: fat free, blemish free, wrinkle free, scar free. The latest of a million examples from my world: Scarlet Johansson’s skin in the movie Chef. It is otherworldly in its perfection (Am I the only one who preferred her performance in Her??). In theory, we know every scene is painstakingly edited, but in watching we forget. We accept her as flawless, even expect her to be so, and with drastic consequences for us ordinary, non-digitally enhanced ladies (and men too who nowadays face increasing pressure for physical perfection as well.)
In a society as visual and as a restless as ours, there is little space for ruminating on the deeper possibilities of beauty and the profound joy it can create in our lives. We are often too busy stressing our lack of it. Our lack of Scarlet Johansson perfection-ness. And that becomes our reality - that we aren't enough. Not good enough, not pretty enough, not perfect enough. And so we struggle. In fact, as human beings we are excellent at the struggle. We are designed for it as complex problem solvers.
But in order to heal - our bodies, our skin, our emotions - we have to let go. For me, it has meant examining my ideas about what it means to be beautiful and why I've always thought it was so important. Its meant letting go of the struggle around my scars, my blemishes, and my laugh lines, and embracing what is, all of the parts of myself just as they are.
It is from there that I have the space to create as much beauty in my life that I want. Through loving self care of my body and mind. Through new and uplifting stories I tell myself about all of the wonderful things in my life. Through gratitude. Through appreciation. It sounds a little kumbaya, I know, and I'm not saying such deeply rooted beliefs and insecurities can be changed over night. But I am saying to embrace what you do have and what you can do from a place of love and acceptance is extraordinarily powerful. And it will 100% show through on your skin.
Beauty is a feeling, a way of being as much as anything else. And I love this definition because it creates space for something we have complete control over: our actions. Beauty is a choice – one we get to make as deeply and fully as we dare.
I choose to make today beautiful by stopping to enjoy the warmth of the sun on my face. What can you do to create beauty for yourself today?