I’m excited to participate on the August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman BlogFest. Its mission is near and dear to my heart and psyche. I know what happens to one’s ego when you let the others, even the world at large, own your beauty and your body image.
Between the ages of 15 and 23, I was bulimic. No need to share the details, they are pretty widely known.…now. But when I struggled with it–oh sometime last century–the knowledge of feeding disorders were only coming into the light of every day awareness. So at times, trying to get better, just made it worse because no one knew quite how to handle it. The first psychologist I saw just gave me some diet tips (not exactly a brilliant strategy for a teen-age girl with body image issues who was only overweight, if compared to the babes in Glamour or Seventeen). The psychiatrist I went to several years later focused on behavior not the underlying drives, suggesting I watch myself in the mirror when I eat. That didn’t get me very far either. Because behavior was the symptom, I needed to get at the root cause.
What both experts missed, and what I had to figure out myself , was to get better, I had to take ownership—of my body image, my body, and my definition of beauty. It’s a hard lesson that I am trying to teach my daughter. But like most lessons that matter for our children, you can’t just do a worksheet and get it. (We can talk about education on another post). I get as many things wrong as I get right—like most parents–as I see the body images issues starting to rear their ugly head with my head strong tween. Here is what I finally learned, and what I hope to teach her.
So often, we take from the outside—what’s beautiful, what’s healthy, what’s right, the list goes on. We are social beings and we want to belong, to be liked, to be noticed. But by owning ourselves, defining beauty for ourselves, others will begin to see us this way. By owning our beauty, we are teaching the crowd how to see us.
The first line of Margaret Mitchell’s classic Gone With the Wind, really encapsulates the power of ownership:
Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.
While there may be some objective standards of beauty, they don’t matter if you own your own. Maybe that’s what really beauty is—what you define it to be for yourself and the sharing of that with others.
So go ahead, let yourself shine. Own your beauty. It’s your right, your privilege and your responsibility.
What’s been your greatest challenge in accepting and owning your own beauty?
All participants and commenters will be entered into the prize drawing for kindle fire or equivalent Amazon gift card. The more blogs you visit, the greater your chances become. You can tap all the others here.
Thanks for dropping by.