I am once again participating in Sometimes Sweet’s weekly journal prompts, and this week the prompt is:
How would you say your upbringing or background has shaped your idea of beauty? Were you taught to apply makeup or do you hair by your mother or friends? If not, where did you observe what is now your norm as far as beauty practices? And although most of us have been inundated by different cultural beauty “norms” via the media, would you say that television and magazines have had a strong impact on shaping what you think of as beautiful? This week, write about your idea of beauty- how your background has shaped it and what that means for you today.
What exactly is my idea of beauty? Without a doubt it has changed and evolved over the years, and has been influenced by so many things, both good and bad. I’m not entirely sure where and when it all began, though.
I was a tomboy in my younger years, so my interest in makeup and fashion developed a bit later in comparison to many of the girls I grew up with. I don’t remember when I started wearing makeup, but when I did it was minimal and based on what I liked – not necessarily on what was trendy. The same went for clothing – I didn’t necessarily dress with the goal of being “cool.” I wore what I wanted regardless of what anyone else thought. I don’t think I was taught how to apply makeup or do my hair, but I’m sure I probably picked up on how to do it by watching my older sister.
As I got older, at some point I developed an unhealthy view of what was beautiful based on what I saw in magazines and also on what I heard from women around me. I was always thin when I was younger and sometimes got teased because of my gangly arms and legs, but as I got older the comments became something else entirely. I would get remarks on my weight and size that could be either positive or negative, and while some were harmless, many came from a place of jealousy and so I became slightly obsessed with numbers, keeping tabs on my weight and trying to stay at a number that I realize now was not healthy.
I think it changed when I finally got my mental health taken care of. I literally gained a good 10-15 pounds after I met Josh, and it didn’t really matter because I felt happy. I admit that post-baby I once again bounce back and forth between feeling beautiful and feeling very self-conscious about my body, but now I’m in a place where I don’t even care about the numbers. While physically I would like to tone some areas, beauty to me has changed – it comes in so many shapes and sizes. I’ve accepted that I’ll never look the way I did when I was in my early 20s, and I’m okay with that – my goals have changed. I don’t even care if I never fit into my old sizes again… I’m not falling for that trap that you have to be a size 2 to be beautiful and happy. My husband thinks I’m beautiful and his opinion is really the only one I care about aside from my own. 😉