BEAUTY and the BEAST

in hive-114105 •  5 months ago 

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“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” - Steve Maraboli

Earlier today I stumbled across a POST by the lovely @priyanarc and then a little later in the day, whilst scrolling the “new” feed I discovered not only a wonderful new addition to the Hive community (@araali) but a beautiful POST about the natural beauty of the female form from an artists perspective. Combined, they got me thinking about female body confidence, physical acceptance and also my own experience of such.

I have spent a good portion of my life worrying what other people think and say about me - Dreading their “looming judgements” on my appearance, character, actions and more - Always leaving me feeling less than worthy, with an inclination to constantly want to justify myself. As the years have passed and maturity has slowly crept its way into my life, I have begun to embrace “me”, as well as develop a healthy love for my character make-up, and all the little bits and pieces that form the unique individual that I am. This perspective stretches from what others say and think about me through to what I say and think about myself.

Growing up, I was enormously self-conscious of my legs. Why? I have absolutely no bloody idea! I literally LIVED in jeans. You would absolutely NEVER see me in a skirt or a dress… I was so ridiculously ashamed of my legs that at school, when I was forced to wear a uniformed dress, I would attempt to tan my legs using old tea bags. I never told anybody about this. Not even my mother, I don’t think. How utterly sad is that! – That from the age of 12 I had developed such an unhealthy and extreme distaste for my own body. That stayed with me, right through until my early twenties… It was only then, that I occasionally started to explore the world of dresses and “accept” the fact that I actually might look really good in one.

Although, even with that said – I have never completely let go of that insecurity and the reality of that result is that the acceptance needed to come from within, not from those around me and for as much as I tried to attain that, I never did… until I was locked in my house for three months with my personal thoughts - no reason to get dressed, do my hair, nails or bother with a stitch of make-up. Even Jude joked with me about how weird I looked without make-up at the beginning of lockdown… but this very soon became the norm for me and seeing myself in the mirror every day “as I am” became common place, and after a while I noticed that I stopped criticising what I saw. Not just my face, but my body too – and that felt good, REALLY good.

Even though my carb free diet had gone out of the window, along with my daily 5km sessions on the treadmill, coupled with the fact that I was essentially nursing my mom and playing house maid 24/7 – most DEFINITELY NOT looking anything close to my best… every time I stopped in front of the mirror I objected a little less to what and who I was looking at and began to see what others so often tell me they see. How liberating!

I think women have been sexualised, shamed and belittled for so many reasons… including their independent choices for so long now that changing that mind-set of self-loathing and insecurity in many ways is like treating a case of abuse. There are varying facets to all of this… those like myself that have always been insecure, incredibly critical of themselves and avoid cameras or compliments like a plague, those that are so incredibly insecure that they border on narcissism in attempts to fill that ever hungry hole and then those that are simply comfortable in their own skin, carefree and confident.

“A consequence of female self-love is that the woman grows convinced of social worth. Her love for her body will be unqualified, which is the basis of female identification. If a woman loves her own body, she doesn't grudge what other women do with theirs; if she loves femaleness, she champions its rights. It's true what they say about women: Women are insatiable. We are greedy. Our appetites do need to be controlled if things are to stay in place. If the world were ours too, if we believed we could get away with it, we would ask for more love, more sex, more money, more commitment to children, more food, more care. These sexual, emotional, and physical demands would begin to extend to social demands: payment for care of the elderly, parental leave, childcare, etc. The force of female desire would be so great that society would truly have to reckon with what women want, in bed and in the world.”― Naomi Wolf

Beauty truly IS in the eye of the beholder. Human individuality is as unique as a fingerprint. Like art, there is no right, no wrong and no environmental influence (such as media) should ever be afforded the airtime to squash that confidence in a person… male or female!

I am a 40 year old woman, and a mother to a 10 year old little boy. I am far from perfect but I have spent enough years self-loathing. The realisation that “I am good enough – as long as I am good enough for myself” was monumental. It is crazy really, how being forced to see yourself repeatedly at your “worst” suddenly makes you stop and appreciate just how good you look at your best.

“Step Away from the Mean Girls…and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others. This is a call to arms - A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you're too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.” - Oprah Winfrey

The other night, after a day of tears for my mom… on my way to get into bed – I walked upstairs into our bedroom, pulled the un-brushed bun out of my hair, stripped off my clothes and walked past the bedroom mirror on my way to the shower and I stopped. I caught myself in the mirror, told myself I am beautiful, decided to act like it and took a photo of ME embracing myself.

I am neither a slut nor a promiscuous whore, I am a woman who stopped for a rare moment and decided to embrace the beauty of precisely who I am.

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“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” ― Amy Bloom

❤❤❤

Until next time...
Much Love from Cape Town, South Africa xxx
Jaynielea

FOUNDER OF THE POWERHOUSE CREATIVES
JOIN ME ON TWITTER

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Love the message you sent through this post - it is really important.

I guess we can always pick so many things we don't like about ourselves and we forget to focus on every little thing that makes us beautiful and unique. I am still struggling with seft confidence and insecurities but definitely not as much as before.

I also think that Social media, influencers, celebrities, media in general are forcing some sort of "beauty standard" that put so much pressure to look a certain way to be considered beautiful or attractive. So it makes me very happy to see someone rocking and owning their uniqueness and imperfections. :)

I also think that Social media, influencers, celebrities, media in general are forcing some sort of "beauty standard" that put so much pressure to look a certain way to be considered beautiful or attractive.

You are on the money there!!!

Thank you for the positive input hon - glad it spoke to you. Hope it speaks to many other women, because there are WAY too many that feel the same way!

Lots of LOVE! ❤❤❤

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Thank you for sharing this with us, it takes courage. I am so glad for the revelation and realisation that you have come too.
Now remember it each day and never look back at your old misconceptions.
Although it's extremely sad to lost a loved one, there also can come some good from it.
If you did not went through that process of looking after your mom, this process within yourselve would not have happened.
Keep on embracing your beautiful self.

I was always a bit over weight from primary school. In Std 5 some kids at school called me "fatty". But a boy came into my life in Std 6. He loved and admired me from the start. He became my hubby of 25 years (he died).
He shaped me into a very self-confident woman despite of my body shape. That is why I am such a strong believer of love. Not a day went by that he did not told me how much he loved me and how beautiful I am.

Now remember it each day and never look back at your old misconceptions.

I will remember those words, thank you!

If you did not went through that process of looking after your mom, this process within yourselve would not have happened.

VERY true!

But a boy came into my life in Std 6. He loved and admired me from the start. He became my hubby of 25 years (he died).

That is so beautiful!!! How amazing - just sorry that you lost him :( but as you no doubt know... he will be in your heart always!

Thank you for such a beautifully heartfelt comment!

!tip

Yes, he will always be in my heart, he is a part of who I am.

As a believer in love I am working on my second 25 years, going for 13, with hubby 2. I am blessed.

❤❤❤ Truly blessed indeed! ❤❤❤

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A very good way to look at life in general. Depression runs wild in the world these days due at least in part to social media and impossible standards set by instagram influencers and of course celebrities who don't actually even look like that without a team of people helping them to do so.

By the way you got abs! Six pack!

SO, SOOOOOO true!!! It creates this completely false, basically unattainable "reality" which people are forever striving for and cannot reach.

As for the abs... um.... not so much haha! xxx

What a heartwarming story. I am truly glad that you have 'come to terms' with yourself. The power and grace that's been hidden from you this long will show itself more and more.

Good on you. Thanks for sharing it with us...

Thank you! ❤ MWAH! ❤

The power and grace that's been hidden from you this long will show itself more and more.

...waited 40 years already - I am in no rush haha! :)

It is a blessing not to be aware of your beauty from an early age, or to think that you are more beautiful than you are. That would change the personality in a very unpleasant way ...
The gradual discovery of the beauty and sincerity with which you approach this subject make this blog beautiful and surprising.
If you let me say one thing, something I think you've been told before, I think you look like Nicole Kidman, it's a great resemblance.
One question: Is your son's name from Hey Jude?

It is a blessing not to be aware of your beauty from an early age, or to think that you are more beautiful than you are. That would change the personality in a very unpleasant way ...

That is 100% true and I agree completely - but self-loathing at a young age is equally as detrimental and both extremes seem to be a problem these days.

I think you look like Nicole Kidman

My ex husband used to tell me that lol. Personally, I do not see it at all!

Is your son's name from Hey Jude?

Sure is :)

Thank you for the answers. About the name of Jude I was convinced that it is.

haha... yeah, I am a hippie at heart :D

and you are :)))

:)

So many people hate their appearance. Who knows what triggers it. A casual comment by a friend, or bully, or parent or teacher?

Glad you are starting to see what others see!

So true! Even Jude... as HANDSOME I know and the rest of the world can see he is... has issues of self confidence because of his height and being teased by the kids at school. Cruel world...

I have no idea that even a pretty woman like you still have insecurities. I thought, I myself an ugly one who thinks about these kind of insecurities. Yeah it's true, the more you stayed doesn't do anything. You will realize that you are the most beautiful in your eyes.

You gave me a strength to say these words Jaynie. Thanks and keep safe.

I thought, I myself an ugly one who thinks about these kind of insecurities.

...You shouldn't be thinking about yourself like that either....

You gave me a strength to say these words Jaynie. Thanks and keep safe.

And thank you too!

Who define the beauty anyway?
Is it social media, model, beauty competition, celebrity? When you have some images like this is what called beauty, you will consistently judge yourself. When we talk about beauty, we usually think about physical appearance. I think the real beauty comes from inside. And that makes the difference in whatever you do.

Who define the beauty anyway?

Good point. lol.

Is it social media, model, beauty competition, celebrity? When you have some images like this is what called beauty, you will consistently judge yourself.

... A sad truth for so MANY woman!

Beaitiful lady, nice post.

Thank you! x

  ·  5 months ago (edited)

I am under 40... and I have 4 children... and I feel like "reproducing" all over the place!... independent of my respect for my wife =) which she understands =)

One thing "for me"... does not affect the other. Being a father is great... and respectfully... having a family even more! =)

And I love it!

Being a human being... is a different thing... and fighting for life a different fight.....

One day... you will understand...

hahahaha! Always good to have mutual understanding in a relationship!

It is... =) and I call tell you... it only gets better... with time.

But you already know that probably... you are way over my league most likely =)

Although, and anyway, because you are above the "really pretty stuff", I feel like...

Let me turn under 18 for a moment...

"You are so gorgeous babe 😉" - Love it!

hahaha! You do under 18 well! :P and thank you ;)

My wife will be proud =)

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
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Thank you :)

This is a pretty powerful piece, even for us guys. We also have society expectations placed on us, and those of us who aren't body-builders or jocks can definitely feel it. It's a great lesson for everyone to learn that we're all pretty awesome, and should all feel great just for who we are.

Thank @wwwiebe :) and yes I would imagine it would resonate with plenty men too.

It's a great lesson for everyone to learn that we're all pretty awesome, and should all feel great just for who we are.

I concur! :)