It’s Monday and another “Beautiful Like Me“ question is waiting to be answered. WickedStepMom wants to know, “What person or people are the most influential about how you feel about yourself? Who influences you the most to feel beautiful?”
In simple terms, I have no earthly idea. I think that’s what makes it hard to get my head in the right place when it comes to my own self-image. I’m not all that clear who it is I am trying to appeal to or what message is resonating at the moment. Was it something I heard/read recently or events and words from long ago? That’s the big mystery. So much of how we feel about ourselves in the present has been shaped through the course of time and it is difficult to know what is inspiring my take on myself.
With the “Beautiful Like Me” project I’ve been forcing myself to take a closer look at who and what have shaped me so I can be a better parent to my kids. It bothers me that I don’t have a solid answer for this question. I know as an adult the primary person most responsible for how beautiful I feel is me. It’s my mental strength and open-mindedness that reigns supreme. Who gave that to me though? I’m not sure that it came from my family. My husband contributed, although he also put his foot in his mouth enough to negate the positive. My friends have also given me a mix of good and bad, so it’s just hard to know. WickedStepMom, I might have to think on this some more.
I’m not sure if it’s directly relevant to today’s question, but I was thinking about something this morning I’d like to share real quick. With a little bit of luck I can make it relevant. We shall see.
Those of us participating in this project haven’t been too kind towards the fashion and entertainment industry. We’ve been quick to point out how the messages coming from magazines, television and such have made it hard for us to feel good about our natural selves. Something hit me this morning though. I realized something that shocked me, quite frankly. The fashion industry as a whole has put a lot of effort into making the unique beautiful. It celebrates the odd. In the past I’ve suggested the industry makes us feel if we are different than what is being sold as the ideal we are lacking. That may have been off the mark and rash. Ever seen pictures from a runway show? Women proudly walk the catwalks with clothes, hair and makeup that most of us would be laughed at and ridiculed for if we attempted it in our normal lives. It’s easy to focus on the Gisele’s of the industry, but we shouldn’t forget the others whose confidence with nonconformity is truly amazing. If beauty can be found in and felt by women who are altered to the point of being freakish, what is the obstacle for the rest of us? If a woman with chocolate brown triangles painted above her eyes, a gold snake slithering down her cheek and what looks to be a green bed sheet dress draped around her can pull off beautiful, why the heck can’t I? Maybe if we followed the fashion industry’s lead as a whole, and not just the parts about body fat and wrinkles, we’d be able to see and feel the beauty in ourselves and others more easily. Beauty really is whatever we want it to be. It’s a state of mind.
Today’s topic leaves me feeling I have some work to do. For one, I need to take a closer look at what is motivating my mindset and who is contributing to my positive self-image. Those people are the ones I want to surround myself with the most. Secondly, I need a bit of an attitude adjustment. I didn’t expect the tangent about the fashion industry. It came to me as I was thinking through today’s question. I’m realizing that I am guilty of proclaiming the uniqueness being sold as ugly. I’ve made no effort to appreciate. I’ve judged and I’ve criticized. How is that any different than what we’ve been challenging others and ourselves to avoid doing?