On Body Image and Radical Self Love

On Beauty

NOTE from 2021: When I noticed my blog was getting hacked in February of 2020 I did some quick fixes and somehow all of my draft posts from the previous 16 years ended up assigned to that month. This is one of those posts. I used the context to “guess” when I actually wrote it so if anything about this publication date seems off to future me…I wanted this note here to explain possible errors.

I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty lately. I have a terrible view of my own beauty and always have so I guess I’m always thinking about beauty in that regard. But I find with the increased visibility of cosmetic marketing (I’m assuming this is because the internet knows I’m 40 now so it peppers my websites with these ads thinking I care) I think about it daily. I’ve also had to periodically photograph people in my current job and I look at photos of gorgeous women and those women see those photos so terribly differently than I do. I just find myself contemplating beauty and how completely randomly it’s defined from person to person.

I love freckles. I find freckles beautiful. Any face with freckles is going to spark a little bit of jealousy in me because I find those faces so terribly beautiful in a way I can’t attain. But I’ve learned something recently through Nikki, it seems people with freckles hate them. Well, I guess it’s like my curly hair, many learn to love them. But – everyone hated them when they were young and many hate them into adulthood as well. And this blows my mind. FRECKLES ARE AMAZING. And it turns out a lot of women work hard to cover them up.

I know so many beautiful women. I see beauty in every woman I know, actually. True, real beauty. In smiles, in laughter, in tears, in triumphs, in failures, in struggles…I’m inspired by beautiful women every day in my life. I may not have been overtaken by their beauty on the first day we met because some people hide their beauty until they get to know someone. And I’m not trying to be like, “Some women are beautiful on the INSIDE!” No, I mean some women hide behind walls which masks their beauty but the first time you get them to laugh or smile or dance or sing and suddenly, HOLY SHIT, they’re gorgeous. I find them truly beautiful in ways I’m completely jealous of and this is where I say to myself, “Um…it’s highly unlikely that you are the one ugly woman in your community, Kim.”

I’m not sure why I adore the women in my life so desperately and am jealous of the beauty the emit whether by being a badass trail runner, or a super star ironwoman, or a mother of twins, or professional in her field, and yet I give myself absolutely no credit anywhere. Especially because I truly find beauty in women in real ways because I rarely see my friends dressed up or made up. I see them covered in mud or wearing bike helmets or doing laps in the pool or chasing around kids or buying groceries and yet…I find them all so very beautiful. I sometimes feel like it’s a gift I’ve been given because I am truly in awe by the beautiful women around me to the point where I find it honestly perplexing when I hear talks of cosmetic surgery anti-aging creams. I find myself thinking, “WAIT. YOUR GORGEOUS. Did you not realize that?”

Not that I have anything against wrinkle creams or cosmetic surgery because I do believe we always look the most beautiful when we feel beautiful so I say do whatever it takes to see your own beauty.

I’ve been thinking about doing one of those Make Me Up type photo sessions. I struggle a lot finding my own beauty and my friends have done those things and loved them and I thought maybe it would help me feel what I struggle to see. Someone to do my makeup and my hair and make me feel as beautiful as my friends do. I’ve seriously considered it and have only put it off because of cost.

But then it hit me. I have seen photos of myself I find beautiful. And in those photos I’m always either A) Smiling around people I love or B) Doing something I love. And if I truly look at them as an outsider I think, “Damn. She’s amazeballs.”

I don’t need the makeup or the hair style or the anti-wrinkle cream or the boob lift or the spanx. I just need to be around people I love doing things I love, then I’m beautiful.

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