I’ll be the first to admit my perception of beauty was harsh from a very young age. I battled with accepting my appearance. I’m not saying all women who get plastic surgery or wear weave are hiding behind insecurities, but for me that was the case.
As a woman, the image of beauty becomes critical by the time we reach for that first Barbie. I remember always being considered “the pretty girl” in elementary and middle school, but that’s not how I felt on the inside. I struggled with wanting to fit in. No woman in my family wore make up or weave and if they did, it was modest. I was growing up in an era where weave was glorified and seeing a beautiful woman was a click away. The first battles I remember having with my parents on self-image were simple like, when could I wear acrylic nails? Why can’t I get micro braids? Most of the time, the response was “Oh honey, that is too grown for you”. Then came adulthood. I moved to TEXAS where everything is bigger. The era of the super booty. It’s no secret I’m petite in size. I have always been athletic or slim built. My friend from back home called and told me she was getting her butt “enhanced”. She asked if I would like to join her. I was immediately taken back. I wondered if the money to improve my self-image would be wasted or worth the investment. I didn’t go. Something in me just knew that it wasn’t for me.
When I became pregnant, I had never felt more beautiful. Most times my hair was out freely whether in its natural curls or straightened. I was too tired to put on make up but my skin was always flawless. I began to think of my unborn child. I contemplated what if I have a daughter, how can I teach her about beauty if I alter every piece of myself? How could I teach my daughter to love herself and imperfections if I never acknowledged the beauty I was blessed with?
Then when I found out I would be a mother to a boy I knew that I would be responsible for molding his perception of beauty in a woman truly is. I want my son to understand that a woman’s beauty is much deeper than appearance. As parents, we are responsible for teaching our sons and daughters about self-love. The more we teach our children to see the world as beautiful and accept everyone’s differences then we have a better chance to stop bullying, child suicide among other things. Teaching our daughters of their worth leave them with better chances of growing up to be confident women. Teaching our sons that a person should not be valued solely based on their appearance increases the chances that they will become men of good character.
Beauty, appearance and self-love are lessons that start at home so I encourage every parent to remind their child or children the importance of loving themselves and others genuinely. A beautiful face fades, but a beautiful heart is forever. I never want beauty to be defined in my household by social media or the common perception. Beauty comes in many shades and sizes.