I started writing this blog post over two months ago. I wasn’t exactly sure what the plan was. I was inspired to write it because my friend Lenneia posted this beautiful photo collage of yours truly when I was managing a Go-Pro for a white water rafting story that I was lucky enough to participate in:
Okay, so it isn’t the most flattering of collages. In fact, Lenneia even had the courtesy to ask me if it was okay that she posted it and offered to remove it. Of course, I didn’t mind a bit. I love funny things, and this was hilarious. I know I’m a fairly attractive person. I know I have the ability to take cute pictures. Who cares if the bottom right photo looks like my long lost twin brother?
This reminded me of people I know who have seriously gotten upset with me for posting an unflattering photo of them. It’s happened more than once, and each time I hadn’t even noticed.
It was a cute picture of me and that’s all my selfish mind really thought about. I asked women to send me two selfies. One they loved. And one they hated. As most of my posts tend to do, I thought it would just sort of write itself after I got started. It didn’t. I’ve learned to put things on the back burner if they don’t naturally go somewhere. So, very recently, I had a few encounters that made me realize where I wanted to go with this.
The first was with a beautiful woman. My husband and I went to a party recently, and I met a woman who I had already met a few times before, but I have never really spent any time with her. I know her life from Facebook. You know how sometimes you picture yourself with someone else’s life? Like, “Oh. I wonder what it’s like to have two kids and cook fancy meals with your husband who also likes to cook and be totes gorgeous with your cute little family?” Not that you’d trade your own life for another, but that you can admire theirs. That was this woman. She’s adorable and approachable. Two very good things to be at a party.
So, this gorgeous creature kept telling me how pretty I was while putting herself down. At first I thought, “Wow. She is so nice. Surely, she knows she is gorgeous.” Then, as we kept talking I realized that she actually thought she was less pretty than me and that I was much smaller than she was. Not that being smaller makes you more attractive, but let’s face it. It has been drilled into many of our female brains that unless it’s your butt or your boobs, smaller is better. After trying to convince her for what felt like an eternity of her level of HOT, things got real. I asked her the only question (other than “How old are you?” and “Are you pregnant?”) that you are never supposed to ask. “What size jeans do you wear?” After realizing that we are the EXACT same size, it seemed to hit her that maybe she IS a bit blind to her own body. She sees something that others don’t. A much larger and less attractive person than she actually is.
A few days later, I went to a bar with a friend of mine for some WOO HOO AWESOME time and had another encounter. Kristen and I are not very “bad ass” looking gals. We put off a vibe that says, “If you’re angry, and need to get it out, we won’t challenge you.” So, this random woman who we had not spoken to or even looked at walks up to us with her friend, points at me and goes, “YOU look like a 3rd grade teacher!” Then, she points at Kristen and says, “YOU look like a kindergarten teacher!” in an awkwardly intense and accusatory manner. Like, that is the WORST thing she could have said to us. We had ZERO reaction to her except to ignore her so she says it again. First of all, I do kind of look like a 3rd grade teacher, and I’m totes okay with that. To me that says, “You look like a friendly person who dresses well.” So, there are two things I learned from this woman. 1. Some people want to bring others down by making them feel unattractive for NO APPARENT REASON. and 2. Every person, to some degree, has a different definition of beauty. To her, the worst thing to say to another woman when wanting to decrease her self-worth was, “You look like an educator.” Perhaps, she would have punched me if I said something like, “Oh yeah?! Well, you look like you could be our first woman president!”
The third thing that made me realize that I was going about this post all wrong was an article my cousin, Laura, wrote. It was about beauty and whether or not it was purely a state of mind. She concluded that it was, but what really spoke to me was the fact that Laura, my older, wiser, and more attractive cousin-the beautiful, talented, bilingual, yogini, chef, photographer, model,and world traveler who I had admired and aspired to be like my entire life, went through a time last year (and I’m sure other times in her life) where she did not see how beautiful she was. Like the lady at the party, Laura was literally unable to see the version of herself that most of the world sees. It blew my mind. There is a link to her article at the end of this post.
How many women don’t know how beautiful they are? How many women saw my status asking for selfies and thought, “There is no way, I am sharing an uggo picture of myself on Becca’s weird blog”? How many men forget to tell their ladies they are beautiful? How many women are told on a daily basis and still don’t believe it? Every person on earth has people who think they are beautiful and people who don’t. You might not be everyone’s cup of tea (I certainly was not the lady-at-the-bar’s that night), but remember two things: 1. Someone likes your flavor and 2. You need to learn to like it, too.
So, with only a few more words of ramble, allow me to introduce you to only the self-proclaimed “good” selfies of the brave women who agreed to share their photos with me. I’m not even going to post the things they didn’t like, because that’s not what this about. This is about finding the beauty in yourself, focusing on it, and believing it. We are all different-and we are all beautiful to somebody.
Kelly says, “My skin looks clear, my eyes are even, I’m sort of smiling, and my hair looks okay.”
Makiba says, “I love how beautiful I am in this photo. I look like a whole different person. I love it. It makes me look younger and gives me confidence.”
She likes her eyes and smile.
She likes this one better because she looks happier.
She says, “Okay so I’ve got my flattering one, it is using my phone camera, and it has a ‘beautify’ automatic filter, so it always makes me feel pretty even when I’m wearing no makeup like now:)”
Cate says, “I love how blue my eyes are, how that forehead wrinkle seems to have magically disappeared, how straight my teeth are and how my hair is sitting just perfectly to make my neck look tiny…. I kind of look like a bobble head but in a good skinny way. I do like how full my cheeks are and how even though my hair dried in my sleep last night I like how the curls are just perfect!”
Tory says, “I love love the second one I look young and fun. My skin looks awesome.”
She likes her eyes and her smile.
She likes her hair, smile, and eyes in this photo.
Kym says this one makes her look “cuter, approachable [and] real”.
Amber says, “I like the angle at which is is taken, the lighting, and the confidence that comes with taking a picture that you KNOW makes ya look good… You know what I mean. Articulate that better.”
Kita says, “I like my smile. My Gap is what makes me ‘SHEQUITA'”
Debbie says, “This picture is good because my nose doesn’t look big (because of the angle) and my hair is showing so it doesn’t look thin. Most importantly, I took it from above instead of below my face.”