FITTING IN IS OVERRATED…
Dear Woo Woo Girl: I am a mixed race female who has struggled to conform to the “white” standard of beauty. It takes time, effort and feels like I am selling out. What do you think? Signed MR
Dear MR: I think you are wasting your time to be perfectly frank. xoxo Struggling to conform to an image; to insist on a persona that is not yours, is a form of sell out. You have bought in to what someone other than you has determined is beautiful. This is incredibly sad.
What is beauty anyway? Is it that thin, white, 15 year old model on the front cover of Vogue or would you call Oprah Winfrey beautiful? Beauty is a subjective standard that feels objective because the media propels its own standards on it and you. Your beauty, the beauty that lies within you is one of a kind with no “norm” attached to it. To try and be or look like a media defined term such as beauty will mean that you will always come up short; will always feel “not good enough.” Take those images at face value. Beautiful, interesting faces are wonderful to look at, and so inspiring you might want to sketch it. But it is the wrinkled face; the lived face, the different face that tells the deeper story. That is real beauty… a combination of many qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses. Like art, who is to say what defines beauty. It is in the eye of the beholder, and the interpretation – not the actual form.
Double standards, white privilege, racism, live all around us. We can’t ignore it but it cannot define how you should look, dress and be. That is your soul’s journey and your responsibility. It takes bravery and courage to not succumb to societal norms and beliefs that say one skin color is better; is prettier or more worthy than the other. But it is a must. It is the variety, the added spice and color to a society that makes it worthy, and adds depth. Embrace that richness and free yourself from old fashioned ideas from the past that somehow keep seeping into the present.
I want you to visualize walking into a room filled with people of different sizes, colors, nationalities, clothing styles. Hair length, style, shoe sizes are as different as the pebbles found on a beach. Some are beautiful, some plain, some are so interesting because they have given themselves style. It stimulates your senses, because you are standing in a room that has not succumbed to whitewashing, but a room filled with vibrant color and people from all walks of life. Rich, poor, average. An overweight woman with a beautiful face stands in the corner smiling the most charming smile and she is captivating a small audience. A gay man with spiked hair is giving an imitation of someone and with every gesture you want to lean in because you can tell he is hilarious. A black woman and her Latino friend are trying to teach the straight fellow how to twirk. An Asian couple are in deep conversation while a white girl on the skinny side with fabulously curly hair listens intensely. Now close your eyes and think of which person stands out. Is it the prettiest? Chances are it is the most interesting, which means that you have wasted your time trying to be someone else. We learn and progress because of variety.
“Beauty is the summation of every feature, every small gesture, every flaw, every peculiarity and every trait that provides a window into someone’s inner being, their soul. It’s never the appearance of someone that sticks with you, but rather how they make you feel that lingers in the mind even in their absence. Beauty is an amalgamation of the mundane, the profound, the perfect and the imperfect details that make every person unique.”
By all means play with beauty. It is malleable. It is superficial. It defines you only if you allow it to.