When all is stripped away

Beauty is subjective. In the past, pale skin, small facial features and thin figures were preferred over tanned and darker skin, fuller features and an hourglass body shape. Every generation struggles with striving for an ideal.

A couple of years ago, if you asked me what I defined as beautiful, I would’ve showed you pictures of black girls with long, straight, full-frontal wigs and a full face of makeup. I’m talking false lashes, micro-bladed eyebrows, highlighter-glowing glam. Basically, your typical Instagram “baddy”. My perception of beauty has changed drastically. These days, I like girls who look like themselves. I love natural hair. I love braids, twists, canerows. A unique dress sense. A makeup free face. I love it all. The list of beauty attributes we can fixate on is actually endless. For me, I recently noticed that I’d started putting so much pressure on myself to become this flawless natural queen. Scar-free, spot-free, full thick hair down my back, glowing teeth, amazing hair line etc etc. I’d become so fixated on it that it was becoming unhealthy. I had to check myself.

It was easier to look like my previous Instagram goals. I mean, let’s be honest, it’s not hard to look and feel good when your imperfections are hidden under a full beat face and your hair is covered with a 20” wig.

It’s harder to feel beautiful when everything is stripped away.

In my blog last year, Decolonise Your Hair, I spoke about how I was in the process of mentally shifting my idea of beauty from wigs and weaves to appreciating my natural hair. I guess now I’m in the same boat again, but this time for my skin.

She is pretty like her and you are pretty like you

Differences are God’s design. The Bible teaches us that some will have this gift and another that gift. Some will be rich, some will be poor. Some beautiful, some homely. Some black, some white. Some with more, others with less. But the bottom line is, God created us and made us different intentionally.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13).

It’s a well known saying that comparison is the thief of joy. Looking at others and envying what they have can block you from being able to appreciate what God has given you, and that’s exactly what I’d recently found myself doing. As cliche as it sounds I’m on a journey to accepting my whole self. And the hardest part is embracing my skin and imperfections instead of constantly covering them. It’s a work in progress.

For me, self acceptance doesn’t mean I have to love my flaws. There’s nothing cute about my spots or scarring. But it’s human. Instead of forcing myself to love it, I’m simply accepting it for what it is.

Last year, I would wear a full face of makeup every day to work, now I only wear brows and concealer. And hopefully a year from now, I’ll read this blog and be in a ‘better’ place.

What’s your opinion? How has your faith impacted how you view your insecurities? Should we accept all our flaws?