Every day, the world around us programs us against body acceptance. In ads and social media, we are constantly flooded with the desire to hate certain parts of our body. With all of this nitpicking that we learn from society, what can we do to help us in re-defining our own beauty?
This is the story how a photo shoot and a no makeup challenge taught me with re-defining beauty and learning to love my face, flaws and all!
The Part I left out of my body love journey
Over the past six or seven years, I have been re-defining beauty in myself. It started with a photo shoot and morphed into a journey of self-discovery to love and accept my body that did not and will not ever fit into society’s standards.
Over the course of this journey, I learned to wear what I want. I learned to hold my head high and see myself as beautiful. This journey gave me confidence to try new things, like pin up, modeling, and social media influencing. However, while I found I could love my stretchmarks and embrace my squish, I never quite tackled the issues I had with my face.
My problem with my face
For a large portion of my adult life, I struggled with rosacea. I think I hated my face without makeup more than I hated a bad angle of my body in a photo. The skin looked blotchy, and all I saw was this ugly side of me that I wanted fixed.
Most people who know me know I love makeup. I have a lot of it too. However, my love of makeup evolved from a desire to cover up the parts I didn’t like, much in the same way we use dark colored and baggy clothing to cover up the parts of our bodies we don’t like.
In the midst of all the tests for the health issues I faced in the past few years, I discovered that food allergies played a part in my rosacea. Now that I can’t eat gluten, soy, or dairy, I noticed a difference in my complexion. A lot of the redness disappeared. However, the thought of going out without makeup still seemed daunting.
A Wake Up Call
Last spring, I realized just how bad my issues with my face were. I participated in a photoshoot where initially we would all be naked…as in no clothes and no makeup. The idea of being unclothed didn’t bother me that much. The shoot was more of a lesson in body acceptance and were intended to be a gift for my partner’s eyes only. However, I couldn’t bring myself to go without makeup.
This knowledge bothered me a lot. I knew that I needed to find a way to change my mind about the way I felt about my skin issues. Ta’lor Pinkston, from The Heart Advocate, came up with this #nomakeupmonday challenge in her facebook group. Ta’lor is a Self-Love Therapist and teaches others important lessons in self-love and self-care. I decided to start participating in this challenge.
Since I share a lot of my life on social media, I began to post my photos from this challenge every Monday on Instagram. The desire to put on lots of filters while posting was overwhelmingly strong. However, I kept doing it almost every Monday.
Learning to Love the Skin I am in
Over the summer, Ta’lor asked some of us from her group to participate in a makeup-free photo shoot. No foundation, no lipstick, nothing! While the thought still terrified me, I said yes.
At the shoot, I saw friends and met other beautiful women that were all as bare-faced as I was. The fear of people seeing me without makeup was replaced with laughter and a sense of peace.
The talented Jasmine B. Adams captured everyone’s natural beauty. Seeing us all together gave me a different perspective on beauty and the emphasis we put on it.
The No Makeup Body Acceptance Revolution
Recently, I participated in a No Makeup Week on Instagram. I didn’t feel brave or bold by doing it. I found that after doing all of this, I felt better about leaving the house without a full face of makeup.
While I still love to wear makeup, I find I do it now more for self-expression. I don’t feel I need it every day. Also, I don’t see the need to hide behind it either.
This is very hard lesson to learn though. Body acceptance doesn’t come at once, and it is a journey. Loving ourselves is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. From a young age, we are taught to hate parts of our bodies. We are taught that if we want to be beautiful, we have to do all of these other things.
Honestly, we need to de-program ourselves from these things. Re-defining beauty sounds easier said than done. It is possible to want to change certain aspects about ourselves without hating on ourselves. We also need to recognize that some things cannot be changed, and that is okay. None of us are meant to look the same.
Keeping on the Journey of Re-defining Beauty
Body Acceptance is a journey. Some days are better than others. Some parts of the journey make it harder than others.
If you struggle with loving your body, remember that you aren’t alone. Also, start looking for ways to love your body more. Find things every day that you love about your body. Build on those things and don’t look back.
My body acceptance journey has been long. I enjoy seeing the progress I make in loving myself more. I find more beauty in myself and those around me by continuing this journey.
What are you doing this week to love your body more? As always, I love hearing from you. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more body positivity and fashion fun!
(All photos by Jasmine B. Adams)