Like every woman, I constantly struggle with body image issues and feeling beautiful. Some days I feel like I can conquer the world and strut my stuff with confidence. Other days I have a little voice constantly nagging at me for all of my “faults” and things I should be doing, as society tells me so. It doesn’t matter how many compliments I receive or who they’re from, it doesn’t change how I feel about myself.
I’ve recently decided that my new daily challenge will be to force myself to believe that I am beautiful. I don’t need to have the characteristics that society says is beautiful, to be just that. Fake eye lashes, hair extensions, bleached hair, coloured contacts, spray tans. All of these things are superficial beauty and aren’t prerequisites of being beautiful. Real beauty is happiness and confidence. Everyone is unique and your unique traits are what make you uniquely beautiful to every other soul on this earth.
I’m tired of draining myself mentally with should haves and could haves. I’m not perfect, but I am beautiful.
I don’t usually participate in things like this. In fact, I initially thought this “5 photos in which you feel most beautiful in” trend was silly. It’s just another excuse to post yet another selife, or 5. However, after reading Let Me Start By Saying‘s Facebook submission on this trend, I felt inspired to share my story and remind my friends and family that beauty isn’t superficial: Beauty is natural and unique.
I’ve decided to post 5 photos of myself in moments that I felt nothing but beautiful and explain why. What I found when searching for these photos is that I felt most beautiful when I didn’t necessarily try to be. I didn’t necessarily choose “sexy” clothes to wear or style my hair or wear extra makeup. I felt most beautiful when I didn’t care about these things and was confident with myself anyway because I was just, happy.
This photo was taken in grade 4, I believe, of my sister and I (Apologies for the bad quality, it’s a photo of a photo). Our babysitter loved photography and wanted to use us as her models. In this photo I felt beautiful because that’s all I knew. I wasn’t yet affected by the media and didn’t have negative thoughts about my body image. I was at peace with myself and enjoying the moment with my sister.
This photo was taken by a friend and I wasn’t expecting it. As you can see, I was wearing my pajamas and goofing around. After I demanded to see the photo in preparation of deleting its potential embarrassment of ending up on Facebook, I realized I actually loved it. I didn’t care, in the moment, about how I looked, and it turned out, that I looked great. I look like myself. I look happy.
This photo was taken by my fiance at the time, now my husband. It was at our first vacation together, and my first vacation, ever. We were on our way to a fancy dinner and although I didn’t style my hair or wear any makeup other than mascara, I did put on a nice dress and heels. I felt beautiful and only wanted to impress the love of my life and enjoy myself in Cuba.
This photo was taken by my husband on our honeymoon. We had been shopping downtown and found this bikini top with his favourite hockey team logo. I’m not a hockey fan but love to support my husband and the things he loves. We got back to the hotel room and I put on the bikini top as we headed down to the indoor pool for a swim. In this moment, all I cared about was supporting my husband. I felt beautiful because I knew I didn’t have to try to be beautiful in his eyes.
This photo was taken by our wedding photographer, Rachel Roy. My hair was styled by hairdresser, Lorrie Chanthanakkone. I was preparing to get into my dress and marry the love of my life. Even though I put more thought and effort into my hair, makeup, and all the superficial characteristics of beauty than ever before, the only thing on my mind was finally tying the knot with the love of my life and officially starting our lives, together. And with that, I felt beautiful.
The moral of this story is that women (and men dealing with body image issues) need to stop focusing on superficial characteristics of beauty, and instead, focus on their own individuality and happiness. Friends, family, strangers: you are beautiful when you are happy.