Let's Talk About Beauty & Body Image
Body image is something I have been talking a lot about these days. Mostly because it's something that impacts all of us, all of us, as humans.
After countless years spent degrading my body, about six years ago I began my journey in cherishing it and it's many layers.
Rather than to simply see my body as something I needed to take care of, I began to see it as something I wanted to take care of.
That being said, it wasn't an easy transition. I'm not sure if this idea of body dysmorphia ever goes away, or if we learn to simply manage it.
It was still a rare sight to see me looking directly into a camera. Even more rare was to see me smiling without covering my face, but I'll address that in a moment.
About a month ago I hosted a dinner party where my main intention was to gather women around a table to enjoy good food and have some whole-hearted, raw, honest conversations. We did just that and wove the evening together with laughter and empathy.
The topic I brought to the table was
BEAUTY & BODY IMAGE.
Inspired by Darling Magazine, I asked the women,
“When was the first time you felt not good enough?”
Silence fell over us for what felt like several moments, but then slowly, vulnerably, and one-by-one, the women shared their experiences.
Words spoken and not spoken, actions made and not made by a mother, a friend, a teacher, a lover, impacted their lives since childhood.
I’ll keep their stories sacred as promised, but I’m happy to share mine with you.
You see, when I was a kid I had caps on my three front baby teeth. I was told that my big girl teeth would push them out when it was time. As the months went on, those caps, for whatever reason, started to turn yellow. Odd of course, but as a child, I never really looked in the mirror much to notice them.
One afternoon after school I went to my friends house for a play date. Her older brother was there with his friends, too. And he said something along the lines of, “Ew, you look like you have corn teeth.” And they all went on playing and laughing.
As a shy kid, I kept it to myself.
I let it live and grow inside of me like a truth.
For the years that followed I refused to smile with my teeth showing, and when I laughed I’d cover my mouth and the joy that illuminated my face.
Some could say I was too sensitive, others could say that our words deeply impact others.
These days I’m aware my teeth are white and straight and my dimply smile a cute one, but there are still moments of habit where there is a part of myself I feel the need to hide from others.
I’m certain that boy, who is now a man, does not remember saying that to me, and it pains me to think that I might have played a similar role to another.
Our external voices matter and there is no doubt about their impact, be it light or shadow.
The thing is, if our self worth hasn't been nurtured, our internal voices impact us as well.
So now I ask you...