Last night I found myself in an SMS conversation about plastic surgery with a very special person in my life that kind of shocked me. It then led me to ask some other very special people (read: women) in my life if they would get plastic surgery in order to gauge if I was crazy or if she was.
The results nearly broke my heart.
I spend a lot…probably too much…time on Pinterest and alongside the amazing clothes, the creative projects, the beautiful photographs, and the public displays of love, there is way too much of this:
Okay, I get it. The media has successfully distorted the mainstream idea of 'pretty', 'hot', 'beautiful' to the point where airbrushing has become an art form. Models keep getting skinnier, actresses keep getting skinnier, singers keep getting skinnier. Even girls who once upon a time were (supposedly) happy with their curvier figures mysteriously keep getting skinnier. And with modern medicine allowing us to alter the parts we don't like about ourselves, why wouldn't everyone just get a facelift, boob job, lyposuction, botox to get rid of any imperfections?
You know what? Maybe my expectations are distorted because of my own personal beliefs that what we look like is a big part of who we are and how that impacts our life experience. And hey, I often look in the mirror and wish my hips were smaller, or I look at photos and wish my teeth weren't so uneven or my hair would just stay the way I want it to. And I can whinge about my knock knees until the cows come home – and whenever I say anything about the parts of me that I dislike, people tell me I'm crazy.
If we can see the beauty in other people – from the inside or the outside, or both – why do we find it so difficult to see it in ourselves? It is so hard for me to hear that someone I love thinks they are fat or ugly or their boobs aren't big enough or their nose isn't straight enough. Hey, I love that person you are being so cruel to, maybe you should love them a little bit too and it could actually impact the way your whole life plays out.
Last week as part of my (failing dismally) 30 Day Photo Challenge, I had to take a self-portrait AND an outfit photo two days in a row. 100 photos later, analysing every element of the photos to try and find one, just one, that I deemed an appropriate representation of me. And you know what I came to realise? They are ALL me. The camera plays tricks on your eyes, the light plays tricks on your eyes, the mirrors play tricks on your eyes, and if you believe that you are unattractive, then I think soon enough that will play tricks on your eyes as well.
I am sad at the state of the world. That beautiful people around me can't get past all the camera and lighting tricks to see that we are all beautiful and all have things we obsess about and maybe wish we could change about ourselves. Guess what? Jennifer Aniston may have the rockin' hottest body possibly in the world, but she works hard every day to look like that. And it's part of her full time job. And she has the money to have a personal trainer. And she STILL gets touched up on magazines. Not that this is an excuse to be unhealthy, just an example of how the media has affected our view and how that distortion is becoming a real life nightmare.
I would love if this post would inspire just one other person out there to do a little challenge with me. Every day for the next week, look at yourself in the mirror and say either in your head or out loud one thing that you love about yourself – and if you can't do seven days, maybe just start with one day. They say if you do something every day for 30 days, you will create a habit – so if you can stretch it out a few more weeks and say something nice about yourself every day for a month, who knows, maybe we can change this sad self image thing around a little. I don't want to have a daughter and ever hear her say the things about herself that the girls in my life say about themselves.
What do you say?
This is my serious, 'I challenge you and I'm not kidding face'. Also, this image has not been altered or edited with software, however, the flash on the camera has a tendency to hide freckles and other imperfections than the ones that are really there in real life. I could criticise it, I even nearly deleted it but it's my face and if I'm not okay with it, how can I expect anyone else to want to look at it!? …Just sayin'.