Beauty is a word which can conjure a clean and definitive image in our mind every time we hear it. Whether it's a Victoria's Secret model strutting down the catwalk, or a bunch of freshly cut long stemmed roses... beauty is a word which can mean many things, to many people.
I've had a love hate relationship with 'beauty' my entire life and today I wanted to share my continuing journey with what 'beauty' means to me, and hopefully hear your thoughts too.
From the age of around 9 years, there was only really one image in my mind of what a beautiful woman looked like. She was a young sophisticated woman, tall, slim, with long blonde hair and a beautiful face. You could say the epitome of beauty in my childish eyes equaled a cross between a real life barbie doll, and the woman I was reluctantly about to welcome into my family as a 'step-mother'.
As I grew older, my sense of what 'beauty' meant to me changed. I had an accident as a 10 year old child which led to me having my forehead scar, which meant that I would no longer fit into my own ideals of what a beautiful woman looked like, or would grow up to look like. Thus meaning, I'd have to work extra hard to become 'beautiful'.
As a preteen and teenager, I rebelled against the rules of society and along with that, the rules of 'beauty'. I was what you'd call misunderstood, and looking back, in bad need of reassurance, therapy and to be quite honest - likely just a hug from my parents.
Fast forward a few years and after cutting my long thick brown hair into a jaw length bob, plastering my eyelids in eyeliner and dressing head to toe in black, I did my best to fight against the very essence of my beauty ideology. I skateboarded, sang in a hardcore punk band and thew a few moves in a 'mosh pit' which in itself is a slightly beautiful rebellion in a sort of cliche poetic way.
However, it was pretty much the internet which dragged my sorry sullen ass out of beauty black hole, and helped me become confident in my skin.
You see, from the age of about 16, 17, i'd come full circle and even welcomed colour back into my wardrobe. The idealized vision of beauty in my mind hadn't even strayed too far from my childlike vision. I still hoped one day I'd become that barbie doll, glamour model, blonde beauty and I adored the playboy bunny look. The bleached hair, and tanned skin. Which was bang on trend, and out in the world in full force and needless to say, I wanted in on it. I wanted to not only look the part, but have the glamour career to go along with it too.
Pressure and passion can break you, and at 18/19 I used to have panic attacks every week before I headed out to the local nightclub with a girlfriend. I worried and panicked that I didn't look okay, that I wasn't good enough, that nobody would like me. I was too fat, too boring, too bland... you name it, I probably cried over it - numerous times.
It was only at 21, after roughing it out in the glamour model industry for two years years did I finally realise what beauty was, and how very wrong i'd been my whole life. You see, by the time I realised what it actually meant to feel beautiful, I'd wasted half of my life dreaming, hoping and wishing to look a different way and feeling depressed that I wasn't seeing what I wanted in the mirror. The modeling industry almost destroyed me mentally, and I've no shame in admitting that.
I was, and for the majority of my life, have been insecure. I have many faults and many scars - both physically and mentally . Along with that, I also know that there aren't enough bottles of concealer in the world to cover some of these old wounds - only time can do that...
But you know what? That's okay.
Our scars, our spots and our quirks make us who we are. When you let go, and stop chasing what society tells you is beautiful, and embrace what makes you who you are... you'll finally begin to feel it.
To this blogger, beauty isn't defined by how strong my contour is, how fierce my brows are or even how ombre my hair is. Yes all of those traits are beautiful, but are they the be all and end all of what makes someone beautiful? Absolutely not.
Since I began sharing my 'adult acne' journey, I've had so many comments emails, tweets and messages about how I've helped other people accept who they are, accept their skin and make them feel beautiful when they look in the mirror and honestly, that makes me feel so happy.
As painful as it sounds, It took me 25 years to look in the mirror, past my acne, my dodgy hair dye, pale skin, and old scruffy pyjamas to finally see a woman staring back that I was pleased to see. For it took far too long to realise that beauty is much more than how you look in the mirror. It's about how you spend your day, how you help others and most importantly....
True beauty is being the best version of yourself you can be on the inside and out.
Thanks for reading my thoughts, I'd love to hear yours.