Tag Archives: beauty

The Beholder

“Beauty is simply reality as seen with the eyes of love.”
– Evelyn Underhill

Last week, I wrote a blog called Self-Image (Click here to read).  In this blog, I mentioned that my friend, Iman Woods, who is a blogger with 8 Women Dream, had decided to use myself and my boyfriend Richard as “guinea pigs” for an upcoming article on women and their self-esteem.  Most of this was kept secret to me.  I honestly didn’t know what she was asking him or how he was responding.  (Have I mentioned that I’m in love with the quietest man on earth??  Dude can seriously keep a secret.)  All I knew was that I needed to pick out five pictures of myself – three that I particularly liked and two that I did not – and critique them.

My friend’s blog posted this morning.  Check it out here.

Wow.

My friend asked for my thoughts on this and to tell her what I think, and I’m not even sure what to say.  For once, this ol’ gal is somewhat speechless.  However, I’ll try.  I know nothing I say will truly convey how much this article affected me, though.

First of all, after reading this article, I’ve decided that I sure do seem kind of silly.  All of those little things that I worry about and obsess over?  The man whose attention and attraction I am hoping to gain has never even noticed them.  How crazy is that!?  I hope other women read this and take from it the same that I took from it.  We really need to stop this needless obsessing over little ‘flaws’ and ‘quirks.’  Sometimes we may be the only one who is seeing them.  As Richard says in the interview, “In my experience, most people (ALL dudes) pay more attention to the ‘big picture’ and not each individual detail.”

I think I needed to hear that.

Secondly, something that Iman said in her opening comments of her article really stood out to me.

“Changing our bodies isn’t as effective as changing our minds.” 
– Iman Woods

How much truth is there to that!?  If my smile was somehow magically straightened, would I think I’m suddenly beautiful?  If the gray disappeared from my hair or a six-pack appeared on my stomach – would that fix my self-image?  Nope.  It sure wouldn’t.  I have to see myself as beautiful just the way I am.  Just like Richard does.

Which brings me to this.  Most importantly, this article has shown me something that I really needed to see.

Richard loves me.

This man really, truly loves me.  And it has nothing to do with my crooked smile or the color of my hair.  He loves me from the inside out.  And isn’t that what it’s all about?  Isn’t that all we want?  For someone to look at us, and really see us…and then to fall in love with what they see?

I’m such a lucky girl.  I am loved…and I am beautiful.

And you know what I’m willing to bet?  So are YOU.

uscutepic

***

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”
– Kahlil Gibran

Self-Image

selfesteemblog

I remember a friend of mine once asking for help from her Facebook friends about possible upcoming blog topics.  One of her friends commented on her status and told her to “watch for signs” – that you’ll start seeing a common theme popping up in your life and when it does, then you know it’s time to write about it.

Well, it’s time for me to take that advice.

I’ve had it in my head for a while now to talk about how women feel about their self-images.  Ok.  Actually, about my self-image, and how I feel about it, to be more exact.  But that’s not a very comfortable thing to talk about.  Ya know?  It’s hard to admit that you don’t think too highly of yourself.  And even harder to admit that you know that is stupid and you need to change.

But something tells me now may be the time to bite the bullet and just be honest.

I have a wonderful friend, Iman Woods, who has dedicated her life to making women feel great about themselves.  She’s a photographer.  A photographer.  Now, I don’t know about you, but when I hear that someone who is a photographer is also someone who is going to make me feel great about myself – those two facts just don’t belong together.  How could a photographer make me feel good about myself?  I’ve seen me.  And having to see me immortalized in a photograph forever is probably not something that is going to make me feel good.  All it does is showcase all of the flaws in an 8×10 for me and all the world to see, right?  Right?

Wrong.

Check out her site: http://www.imanwoods.com/?page/88267/pinup-empowerment.  This woman can do wonderful things.  With some pretty girly clothes and a little makeup – she brings out the beauty in women that was there all along.  She’s not doing anything to change these women with her work.  She’s just showing them off.  Showing them what they may not be able to see without her help.  This is why she calls her work “photo therapy.”  And I think that she, and her work, are both absolutely beautiful.

Well, in addition to being a photographer, Iman is also a writer.  She posted a blog today about her own self-image and how it has changed over the years.  (See the link here if you want to check it out: http://www.8womendream.com/55706/find-your-body-role-model).  After posting this, she and I discussed it a little and she came up with an idea to interview myself and my boyfriend Richard and combine our responses with regards to how we see ‘me.’  I’m not sure what the end result will be, but I’m pretty excited about the possibility.  I have always loved watching an idea of hers as it comes to fruition.  (And you can bet your patootie, I’ll be posting the link here for you to read it when it does!).  Well, as part of the interview process, my first assignment is this – go through and pick out 5 photos of myself that I love.  Easy, right?

Whoa.

I had no idea how hard this would be.  I am looking through posted pictures of myself on Facebook, and I honestly cannot pick out ones that I like.  Each time I start to choose one, I think, “Well this is wrong…,” or “Well, that is wrong.”  “My hair looks bad in this one.”  “This one makes me look fat.”  “This one makes me look too tall.”  “My boobs look too big in this one.”  (Hey, I’m being honest here.)  Each and every picture holds something that I’m not happy with and don’t want displayed in an upcoming blog article.

What the heck is up with that??

I really don’t think I realized how much my self-image needed work until the past few hours.  Oh, I’d seen clues, of course.  For instance, I compare myself to other women like crazy.  Especially certain women.  I know I need to stop that, but I haven’t figured out how to just yet.  I’m working on it though.

This reminds me of lyrics from the Sara Evans song, “I Keep Lookin:”

“Well  the straight-haired girls, they all want curls
And the brunettes wanna be blonde;
It’s your typical thing – you’ve got yin,  you want yang
It just goes on and on.”

Yep.  That’s me.  I’m not extremely tall by any means, but when I’m standing beside certain short, petite women, I feel like an Amazon.  And I start to wish I was shorter.  (Ironically, one of these particular petite women has always wished she was taller…go figure).  I see a woman with long beautiful straight hair and I despise these wild crazy curls that I was “blessed” with.  And yet, women spend tons of money on curling irons and perms every day.  Again, go figure.  I search the ends of the earth trying to fight the right sports bra to fit my needs and then I see tiny little women not having to worry about that problem and I find myself wishing I didn’t have these giant….well, you know.  And yet, plastic surgeons stay in business for women who’d kill to have this problem.

Sigh.

I’m not the only one who does this, right?  Good grief, what the heck is wrong with us, ladies?

Well, as I have just displayed in this blog, I don’t have a quick fix.  I don’t know the answer to how to make us comfortable in our skin rather than seeing what we falsely deem as “perfection” in others.  All I know to do is this.  Start finding one thing you like about yourself every day.  Just one.  Of course everything you like about yourself doesn’t have to be appearance-related, but since that’s what I’m focusing on here – let’s start with that.

I’ll go first.  I’ll tell you one thing I like about myself.

Ok.  Here goes.

(Gosh, why is it so hard to do this???)

Alright….my legs.  I do, I like my legs.  They’re not too flabby – pretty muscular actually now after a year of running.  They’d probably look great in heels if I’d ever learn to walk in the dang things.  So, there we go.  It’s done.  There’s the one thing I like about myself for the day.  Now, on to trying to come up with something for tomorrow…

Hey, who knows?  Maybe after a few days of doing this, a few weeks, a few months…it’ll be less and less hard to think of something.  Maybe by then we’ll be seeing ourselves in the light that we so easily seem to see others in.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Oh, and I almost forgot.  Before I end this blog….since I have to do it anyway, I’ll go ahead and pick one of the photos of myself that I like and post it here.  This is a photo that was taken of me to use as a headshot in a theatre show I did earlier this year.  It took me a while to actually like it (it’s SO close up!), but once I decided it wasn’t so bad, I decided to just go for it.  So, here ya go.

me

There.  I did it.  One down, four to go…

Your turn.

***

“Relentless, repetitive self talk is what changes our self-image.”
– Denis Waitley