Monday, April 21, 2014

Journal Day: On Beauty

"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."

All dolled up for a wedding, covered in mud after an awesome 5K with my sister... beautiful either way!

I am a little late in writing about this week's (really last week's, at this point, considering that it is now Monday) Journal Day prompt--it has been a very busy week and weekend around these parts, with the holiday and vacation planning and general life goodness.  Half marathon training has been going well, also, and I'm hoping to write up a post about it soon!  Until then, I thought this prompt was intriguing and a topic worth exploring for a few moments.

As far as I can remember, I've always maintained a rather basic beauty routine.  When I was younger, I was what one might consider a "tomboy" and even to this day I am more comfortable in jeans and t-shirts than anything else.  My makeup routine consists of eyeliner, mascara, and lip balm, and I'm a shampoo/conditioner/air dry kind of girl.  It's easy and allows me to focus on more important things in life.

Thinking about it, one big different between my younger self and today is that I love a good dress and and getting all dolled up when the occasion calls for it.  Growing up, I loved watching my mom get ready for dinner dates, parties, and other special occasions; though she still knows how to go all out in an effortlessly lovely sort of way, her beauty routine has always appeared to be on the less complicated side as well.  When I was in middle school and the early years of high school, my friends and I started getting into make up and figuring out what made us feel pretty; I'm sure I have a little bit of influence from them as well.

Because I am a woman who as always had access to television, magazines, and the internet, I am more than aware of the impact that the media has on society's definition of what is beautiful.  There are certain trends, certain fashions, certain body types that all appear to be favored over another.  Growing up, I always felt like one's heart and smarts were more important than their looks--this is what I was taught by the role models in my life. But I admit that for a long time, I struggled with self-confidence issues because the pressure to live up to those often times unrealistic expectations of beauty was just too much.  I felt like I was never going to be pretty enough, or skinny enough, or good enough.

Over the last few years, I have learned that none of that really matters--that I am pretty enough, and good enough, and that this body of mine is perfect in its imperfections.  This is the only one I'm going to get, anyway, and I should treat it with respect and goodness.  I know I am a beautiful woman and I am capable of amazing things!  As we all are.  I hope that someday, if we are lucky enough to have a daughter, I can teach her what I've learned over the last two decades... that what's on the inside, your ability to be kind and fair, your abilities and passions, makes you beautiful.

(Thank you to Danielle over at Sometimes Sweet.)

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