Yesterday, something happened to me, something huge. It was like a dusty switch in my head, located in the very far corner and obscured by thoughts, was finally seen. I turned it on and I suddenly saw some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. All these questions came flooding into my head and for once I was left speechless, unable to answer them. Let me ask you them:
Why do we care so much about the way we look?
Why do we have a set idea of beauty?
Why do have these ideals we strive for?
I tried to think back to the time when everything wasn’t so constraining and it brought me to kindergarten; a time when we didn’t have to be anything. When we were little we didn’t have a single care in the world. The cow went moo, a circle is round and blue is the colour of the sky. We knew what we wanted and if we knew, we told you; we’d throw a tantrum, we’d express opinions or we’d cry when we were sad. We didn’t filter conversations, we didn’t obsess over weight, we didn’t look in the mirror and compare ourselves to others. I know I’ve already talked about loving ourselves in a previous blog post, but for the first time in my life I’m seriously wondering why a simple idea of loving who we are, for the way we are, is such a hard task. Doesn’t it break your heart to think that out there the majority of people hate who they are? It breaks mine. I think that’s awfully sad. I think it’s awfully sad that I can look in the mirror and tear myself to pieces in a matter of seconds. It is so, so easy to break yourself and it shouldn’t be.
This idea of beauty is everywhere; in books, movies, songs, art. In books you’re either beautiful or you’re either plain. But when did we start dictating that this kind of nose was beautiful and those kind of noses weren’t? Let the nose be man, the nose is cool the way it is. My mum, even though I love her immensely, constantly says stuff like “she has an unusual face” and it baffles me because I don’t understand what that means. What is an unusual face? Actually, what is a usual face? I think we’re all a culprit of this. Ultimately we are a reflection of the society we live in and the hardest thing to do is to veer off that path into unknown territory. The idea of everything being beautiful and loving who we are is off the track because otherwise how would we buy more products to make us feel better, trial diets that help us lose weight quickly or god forbid not be seen as vain and self-obsessed? Loving ourselves shouldn’t be off the train track we’ve all been put on, it should be sitting right beside us in the same carriage.
That’s the other thing, people will do anything to achieve this idea of beauty, it’s like an obsession. A large majority of us will have probably tried to lose weight at some point. My friends who are already a perfect size, or the ideal size, still don’t like their bodies. And here’s the thing, if skinny is ideal then why do the skinny feel fat? When will skinny be enough? Will it be when we see zero on the scales? Or will that still make us want to cry and not eat dinner? This way of thinking is so damaging and I know that I’ve had moments of it. It’s like we’re all a part of this society that has an idealised version of beauty, but no one actually knows what beauty is. So we strive and we try, but when we get to that ideal weight or we fix up our faces with Botox it still won’t be enough. It won’t be enough, it just won’t. That scares me. People are hurting because of this, we all are. My mum told me about one of the students at her school whose mother had anorexia and so couldn’t live with her child. It broke my heart. It is the media’s fault to some extent, but don’t think that we don’t have any of that blame to share. We can be nasty and we can be judgemental and we are what the media markets towards; we uphold these ideals.
But I want to ask you, what does beautiful mean? I can’t tell anymore because I see it in everyone, in ways invisible to the eye. I think there is this whole culture around being the perfect ideal of a human when really, no one is ever going to be able to reach it. We’re all wired to make mistakes, to mess up, feel emotions, break down, squeal with delight, cry with happiness, laugh, love, hate, experience and learn. What happened to being human? As sang in Holocene by Bon Iver, “at once I knew I was not magnificent”. I think once you realise that you aren’t always going to be magnificent then the moments you are, feel like flying. There is beauty in flaws. There is beauty in making mistakes and learning from them. There is beauty in being kind. There is beauty in failure and achievement. There is beauty in all of us, because we’re human and as said perfectly in The Little Prince, “what is essential is invisible to the eye“.
Love Brecon X