Beautiful because of, not despite of
Hi again! *Waving.* Shea here. This week I’ve got perfection on my mind. Because, see, I’m pretty far from perfect. I am scatterbrained, sometimes-awkward, don’t always recycle, and I’m pretty sure I have split ends. Wait. Let me check. …Yep. Split ends.
Pop culture’s telling me I have to be or do or say or feel or look….well, perfect. I’m not totally sure what this ideal entails—something about unrealistic skinniness, flawless skin, middle class suburbia, a traditional nuclear family, and never wearing wrinkled sweaters, I suspect—but I’m not these things. I refuse to internalize any level of shame or guilt for not being these things. I do not meet pop culture’s expectations and I do not see this as meriting any level of self-loathing.
I’m telling you this because you, Loyal Reader, probably don’t meet pop culture’s expectations either. And you are a beautiful human being because of, not despite of, this. Pop culture isn’t going to tell you that you’re beautiful, but it’s one of the Secrets amidst the other secrets in which we have twined our lives. That we are beautiful human beings with the potential for happiness. No number of physical flaws merit self-loathing. No amount of unconventionality, negative experiences, or imperfections can reduce your extraordinary worth.
It’s January. In Western culture January normally signifies new beginnings, so let this be the year Loyal Reader. Let this be the moment. Give yourself permission to love yourself if you haven’t already. Give yourself permission to accept yourself as imperfect. Feel beautiful even though pop culture might not back you up. Let go of shame, of guilt, of internalized feelings of self-loathing or of unworthiness. Buy yourself a coffee and shake your fist at televisions and magazine covers telling you to be, do, say, feel, or look an impossible definition of ‘perfect.’ Telling you to expect this of friends, partners, or strangers. Because pop culture is stupid. Because if enough people reject pop culture it will be forced to reevaluate its standards. And because you know a piece of the Truth, one of the Secrets amidst the secrets in which we have twined our lives: that we are all beautiful human beings with the potential for happiness.
By Shea Daniels, a volunteer at the Women’s Center