Thank you Dove for sponsoring this post. How do you define #RealBeauty?
I’ve always wanted to be more personal on this blog. So now’s the time; today I want to talk about something that might be kind of hard for me, but here goes…
Have you ever felt like you could never really be yourself? Like you’re too scared of saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way or looking the wrong way or just being judged in general?
I totally get that feeling. That’s how I felt for pretty much my entire life.
Starting from basically birth, everywhere we look we’re flooded with images and standards and rules for what’s beautiful – or what we’re supposed to think is beautiful. We’re taught how girls are “supposed to” act and what girls are “supposed to” look like. But who decides how we’re “supposed to” be?
I know that the women I see in ads and on TV aren’t what I look like, or what most women I know look like. In fact, 69% of women agree that they don’t see themselves reflected in advertisements, movies, or television and 74% of women believe more needs to be done to redefine the current definition of beauty to be more inclusive.
In high school, I was bullied badly – so badly that my counselor told my parents that I should be removed from the school altogether because it was too much for a teenage girl to take.
I went to a tiny high school and what one person said, everyone believed. So when someone spread a rumor about me sleeping with someone, everyone heard it and I was labeled the “school sl*t” (I HATE that word) and the label stuck. All of my girl friends abruptly stopped associating with me and started making the rumors worse. I was harassed every time I walked down the hallway, in the lunch room, in the classroom, on social media, in text messages. And teachers did nothing to help any of it.
I started hanging out with guys because they didn’t judge so harshly, they didn’t mind the rumors, and I felt comfortable around them. Until rumors started about the guys I hung out with and the treatment got worse. Why was I always acting like “one of the guys” if it wasn’t because I wanted to sleep with them? Impossible! So I stopped hanging out with guys and started hanging out alone. I had no one.
I didn’t feel beautiful, or wanted, or loved. I felt like I was constantly being judged because I wasn’t feminine enough, I didn’t dress classy enough, and I wasn’t acting like a lady should act. Even though I was doing nothing wrong.
Then began the fat-shaming. I gained weight from the constant stress and depression and I used food as a way to cope. I weighed all of 150 pounds and I was constantly made fun of for my weight. I just had to be pregnant, right? *eye roll* There’s no way I could possibly weigh that much if I wasn’t pregnant, right? That’s not the proper weight for a female!
Thus began my depression and horrible insecurity.
During my journey of self-improvement and the reasons that led to starting this blog, I’ve changed so much.
I weigh the same amount now (I’ve been losing weight since I’m trying to be healthier, but I’m doing it for me) and for the most part, I’m still the same person I was then, but you know what? I love myself now. People make unfair judgments sometimes, but it doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks.
I just did 2 of the hardest things I’ve ever done – shared my story with the world and shared photos of myself. Imperfect, real photos.
I still have my moments – trust me, I do. There are still people who make me feel like I’m not the right kind of beautiful. But when it comes down to it, I don’t need validation from anyone else because I realize that we’re all just human. And I have worth – no matter what I look like, or how I act, or what I think.
I’ve learned that you don’t have to act a certain way to be worthy. You don’t have to look a certain way to be beautiful. And your pants size is just a number, not a beauty standard.
The definition of beauty is evolving faster than the TV, music, or movie industry can keep up with. Beauty knows no size, color, gender, or sexual orientation. Beauty is being yourself and being happy.#RealBeauty knows no size, color, gender, or sexual orientation. Beauty is being yourself and being happy. Click To Tweet
To me, the only real beauty standard is confidence. True beauty is being comfortable with who you are and not caring what anyone else thinks. That kind of beauty is visible from the outside, and it makes you more attractive than anything else ever could.
Confident people don’t need to make others feel bad. People who try to steal your confidence are just looking for their own. Don’t let them take yours, though. You’re better than that.
I want to share a video with you all that inspired me to write this post. It’s the second film from Dove Real Beauty Productions. Dove is shifting the message of beauty from Hollywood and into the hands of real women like Kylee Howell.
This video is directed by Shonda Rhimes and an all-female crew. In it, Kylee Howell shares a powerful story about nonconformity and real beauty. I highly encourage you to check it out right here and let me know what you think!
I also encourage you to love yourself. <3
What does real beauty mean to you?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.