I wish I could bottle my confidence and have Dove sell the sh!t
They say women will argue about anything, and that was evident this past week as an online battle brewed after the release of Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches video. I wanted to write about the video sooner, but I’m glad life got in the way and I waited, because the chatter and discussion that has occurred makes me wonder, why do we care so much about what other people think of our looks? Why is there so much talk about the definition of beauty when everyone has different tastes and preferences?
When I first saw the Dove video I shared it on my Facebook page and commented that my picture on the left would probably look BETTER than the one described by the stranger. I’m beautiful, I know I’m beautiful and that is all that matters…to ME. Do I think everyone thinks I’m beautiful? No, I’m not vain. I’m realistic. My features do not appeal to everyone, but I learned long ago that I can only control what I was given and trying to please or impress EVERYONE is not possible, so I focus on what makes ME feel beautiful and not worry so much about what other people think of my appearance. Especially people whose opinions mean NOTHING in my daily life.
OMG, look at her socks!
Yes. Socks. It was the first week of my Sophmore year in high school, I probably weighed 350lbs, if not 400lbs. Wearing stylish clothes was not an easy task, options were limited due to my size, and family income. However, my mom always made sure we had a few new outfits to wear back to school. This day I was proudly wearing navy slacks (securely pegged and cuffed), and a rugby type shirt with navy, green, and hot pink stripes. I loved my outfit, I thought I looked stylish. We had to order the pants through a special Plus Size catalog and I was relieved they fit! During history class I was talking with my friends and overheard “oh my god, look at her socks” and noticed the girl was pointing my direction. I thought, what’s wrong with my SOCKS? They are JCPenney socks! They are just typical white socks??? I was so proud of my outfit, yet this girl found SOMETHING she didn’t like about it and made negative comment.
At that moment I realized no matter how hard I might try to impress others there will always be someone, or something negative to be said. I was not bothered by the comment, actually the rest of the year my best friend and I had a running joke when we saw this person, my friend would say “Sarah, are your socks ok?” Really, no tears were shed over someone judging my socks.
And from the other perspective, I do not give much thought to the positive comments and compliments I receive. Why? Because people often lie just to make people feel better and I do not need boost myself up on fakeness and lies. Growing up as an obese child I heard the phrase “You have such a pretty face, it’s such a shame.” Wait? What? Was that a compliment or a put down? What’s a shame? It’s a shame that I have a pretty face? Or it’s a shame that I’m fat?
Of course not everyone who gives a compliment is lying. And I often struggle to accept compliments, and not question the intention of the person giving it. It is hard. What I am talking about it not easy, even for me. The looks I get from others do sting, being judged negatively in the workplace because of my appearance hurts beyond emotionally but financially.
I learned not to value or devalue my self worth based on what others thought about me…period. I do not think I’m beautiful, I KNOW I’m beautiful. I am confident, smart, funny, and I have pretty eyes, a bright smile, and cute dimples. Those are the FIRST things I notice when I see a picture of myself. If prompted to find negatives I could comment about the break-out on my chin and my overgrown eyebrows. It’s funny, I took this no make-up picture specifically for this blog post to show the REAL me, then I realized I was still wearing my blue contact lenses and promptly took them out and retook the pictures. The REAL natural ME.
Saying I do not care about what others think of my appearance does not mean I do not take pride in how I look. There are also times when appearance matters, such as, work or special occasions. Self-confidence and pride in oneself allows for the inner beauty to shine through.
Self confidence is REAL beauty.
Of all the beauty posts I’ve seen in the past week, Colleen Clark comic gets it right: Our bodies do not define us.