Beauty | The Evolution of a Definition.

{If you watched the video Why Care about Natural Hair?!? + Stuck Up, NO! Un-interested Introvert, Yes then, just FYI, this blog post was written before I recorded that video. My process usually is, I find something on my heart I want to share with my Youtube family, I write about it to properly organize my thoughts, then I record a video. This is what I wrote which led to that video.}

You hear it often enough, “Beauty comes from within!” But what does it mean? How do you become beautiful on the inside? How does my “inner beauty” affect this pimple on my neck?! Wouldn’t you agree, it’s quite a cute little thing to say. But what the heck does it REALLY mean?

Have you ever asked those questions? I have!  And although I am a true believer that  beauty  does come from within, I have been wondering “What do I REALLY mean when I say it?! And furthermore, what practical suggestions do I have so the hearers and readers may attain that 'beauty'I am referring to?"

To answer that question I first have to define the word beauty. And then share a little bit about the definitions’ evolution. Here goes!


Beauty: My present day definition : 1.The confidence, health, happiness, balance, love,  and  goodness, radiating from a person. 2. The result, when living a life consistent with ones desires values, goals and good intentions. 3. A person who looks at the world with bright optimism and hope, with a pleasant confident, disposition and compassionate heart.

"Beauty”, is a relatively new addition to my vocabulary. When I first begin to toy with the idea and relevance of words like “pretty”, “bourgeois”, “fine”, “a-dime”, etc, I was a Sophomore in high school. People were interested in me! Guys liked me. Lots of them! I had friends, and people thought of me a “pretty” or dare I say it “fine!” High school was also when I learned that the way I carried myself also had a title (or two or three)!




Prior to that, I thought I was fair in the looks department, smart, articulate and destined for greatness.

By sophomore year however, I had been labeled bourgeois, prissy, stuck up, etc.  And while I enjoyed the perks of being bourgeois, oops I mean being me, I thought to myself, “I am NOT ALL THAT! I’m nerdy. I like to sit by myself with head phones on, reading for hours. I enjoy doing math problems at the back of the math book for fun! I see myself every day, and physically, there is nothing too special going on. I look a lot like my brother! I’m hairy. I don’t dress like the “popular kids”. I am not what all these people think I am!”

From the time others began seeing me as “really pretty” I never knew what they saw. I was confused. I looked in the mirror and looking back at me was a flawed little girl. I didn’t feel worthy of being called “pretty”. I didn’t understand why the boys were always interested in me. I had no clue. There were other girls around who were REALLY pretty. They were always dressed stylishly and neat. They had pretty smiles, pretty accessorized hair and everyone, including teachers thought they were “pretty” girls. I could recognize them a mile off and I knew I was nothing like them. They WERE pretty and perfect and bourgeois, and all of that other stuff. But not me!

Since I didn’t believe I deserved the labels being given to me, I began trying to be all of the things which I associated with those titles. With my mission declared (to live up to my titles) I dove in head first. I learned what was en Vogue via teen magazines, my peers and in music. And whatever I learned, I began to emulate (as much as my mother would allow). I wanted to earn the title of pretty by looking pretty. And so in high school, I began, obsessing overr what I was wearing and how my hair looked.

I begged my mom for a perm at the age of 16. Up until then I was natural and I would get my hair pressed by “Mrs. Redmon” every so often. My hair was long and pretty and it was “good”. The fact that my hair was so straight, just by getting it pressed, was a good thing. People were impressed by that! Although I found it weird that my hairs texture, something I had no control over, had the power to make me even more worthy of my titles, I took it and ran with it. Despite having no conscious thoughts about my own hair, I began to wear it as a badge of honor since others were so impressed.

Little, innocent experiences like that, taught me what the world saw as “pretty” and “good”. Being the nerd I am, I fully investigated what I needed to do in order to be pretty and maintain the labels bestowed upon me. I did a GREAT job of staying current on the trends and the requirements for being bourgeois, proper, glamorous and trendy. As the trends twisted and turned, I went with it! I rode the coaster, spending lots of time, energy and money on its maintenance. Keeping up the image got me what I wanted for a while. It really worked. From high school onwards for years!

But all of a sudden something happened which caused me to stop being content with what I was getting out of life. I was getting SOME things I wanted, but not all. I began to question the image I was so consumed with. I looked at the image and the results of the image and it dawned on me that it wasn’t working as well as I thought. And I wasn’t alone; my friends weren't getting the things they thought they should be getting either. And magically I woke up! I realized that the formula I was using was wrong! I was not going to get my desired results while following the “fake bourgeois” recipe!

If you use the correct ingredients and follow the instructions for a cake, when you open the oven you’re going to see a cake! Not a pan of macaroni and cheese. You should not be expecting the aroma of melted cheese to fill the room. You followed the recipe for cake! And with my paid-for “bourgeois” image, I was baking my favorite cake! When I turned 26, however, I realized cake wasn’t giving me the nutrients I needed. And what I really wanted and desperately needed was a grilled chicken, Caesar salad with lemons on the side!  And thus began the journey (back) to me and towards the term beauty and its present day meaning.

Beauty: 1.The confidence, health, happiness, balance, love,  and  goodness, radiating from a person. 2. The result, when living a life consistent with ones desires values, goals and good intentions. 3. A person who looks at the world with bright optimism and hope, with a pleasant confident, disposition and compassionate heart.

When I did my first big chop in 2008, I began hearing the term “beautiful” being tossed out there. Others were using that word to describe me. And there I was bald headed, not at all trying to fit into the ‘bourgeois’ mold. No longer wearing the gel nails, face full of make-up, or party girl wear. I had nothing physically or materially that my old mind would classify as beautiful.

At that time my most valued accessory was my smile.


That was when I learned that beauty had very little to do with what I did to myself externally. I mean how could it? Everything I did in the past which I thought would make me more desirable had been taken away and I was all of sudden being labeled “beautiful”. What was making me “beautiful” was the way I was feeling on the inside. It was all the internal housekeeping I was doing. It was the mental makeover which had the most impact on my “beauty”.

Fast forward two years and 6 months, and here I am, still bald headed, wearing thrift clothes, sometimes little to no make-up, a homemade mani and pedi, and earrings circa 2006. I find myself able to relate to that flawed little girl from my past, yet others are still complimenting, hooting at and showing interest in me.
I am still being labeled things like beautiful, stunning, and inspiring. This time around I know the labels are not a result of what I am “doing” or what I am “trying”. I’m just “being”. It’s just who I am.

It’s the smile I wear as my favorite accessory. It’s the confidence I feel in myself. What’s oozing out of my pores is happiness and confidence which comes from being true to me and deciding for myself who I ought to be. It has nothing to do with what I am wearing as much as it has to do with the aura of self respect and confidence that accompanies me wherever I go.

Beauty, the way I see it, can ONLY come from within! So, the first practical suggestion I can give so you may begin or continue to live and experience the mantra ‘Beauty is from within!’ is to write out your definition of the term beauty. And if need be, CHANGE IT!

Comments

  1. Woww Sunshine, this is trully an inspiration. I'm still trying to figure out what my term of beauty is and I will definitely try this. Thanks for posting=D

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  2. Speak the truth,sis!!! Thanks for this post!!

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