The Land of Beautiful is a rather treacherous place to find oneself. Beauty exists and yet also does not in the same space in time. It’s like walking a tight rope. It’s something that can never be obtained, nor ever really had, though it can also be both. It is not a thing that anyone can agree on. It is all about perception; it really is in the eye of the beholder, even if that beholder is ourselves.
The #20BeautifulWomenChallenge began my ponderings on the matter of beauty recently. I have thought on it before, but that’s not really a surprise, everyone has always thought about beauty. I like myself just fine, though I do not think that I am beautiful in the societal sense of the word. Words like gorgeous, devastatingly beautiful, pretty, cute, foxy, sexy, or handsome wouldn’t be used for me, I think, generally speaking.
I have had a guy say I was not un-attractive when he saw me without glasses when I wore them regularly, a guy who was very inebriated claim that I was beautiful, and numerous females exclaim that I am so pretty and beautiful. Does it mean I am beautiful? Yes. And no. I am beautiful to those girls, to that drunk guy. Am I beautiful to others? It entirely depends on what they find appealing. Does that mean I’m one of those girls you read about; a girl who is beautiful, but doesn’t know it, and that’s supposed to be a good thing? Who knows.
The above photo is one which I like, one that I would say is quite beautiful. It is what my eye likes to look at, regarding myself. The lighting is bad, but the overall effect is one I strive for in a self photo. I know others would disagree on it being beautiful. They do and they should. Their perception is all their own and what it sets off in me, it does not set off in them. That is OK.
But, this photo is a lie. I do not ever look like this unless I am trying to capture a serious image in the camera. That calmly, come-hither look, the wink of a smile, the elegant and slimming lines of that heart-shaped face. While it is beautiful to me, I hate that it is fake and tend to dislike posting photo’s of this nature. This challenge had me wanting a truer representation, as true as a camera can obtain, that I also found appealing.
The lighting was still sub-par, as it was night-time and our house is like a cave; but I have a table light that bends that I use for my art, the bulb is yellow and ghastly. It was perfect. I aimed that right at my face, to try and show as clearly as possible any imperfections and tried my best to take genuine photo’s.
This is much better, much more accurate. Here are my apple cheeks, my rounded jowls and chin, my high forehead, the darkened skin under my nose above my top lip. It shows more my “blemishes” and “flaws” and I like it… a lot.
And then this happened and I contemplated using it for the challenge because I find it fascinating and grand, but I decided against it because that is not the true true.
And here is a perfectly normal photo, albeit with a slightly worried, unsure expression to my eyes. Large apple cheeks, pointier chin from the larger smile, still rounded jowls, and my completely wonky teeth. The teeth I could core an apple through a fence with, and yet they are mine and they are not perfect and alarming and I am rather fond of them, yet I always try to hide them. Why? Because I do not think that people will approve of my teeth. While I rather like them, I am reminded of how often British people are made fun of by Americans for their atrocious looking teeth and the atrocious looking teeth that Americans draw for the British (or make fun of) look like mine.
See? And as I live in America, and am in fact American, I don’t really wanted to be submarined like the British (sorry y’all for those Americans & their slights about you) by the people who also happen to live here. Although I actually liked that I had a kindred toothy spirit in the guy that played Marcus Flint… until he made money and now has perfectly frightful sparkling white teeth that are completely straight. *cries*
Anyways. I never hide my teeth until I’m thinking about it which is really only when taking photo’s. I don’t even know if it’s even a founded fear. I have had numerous people, mainly girls, who really like my teeth. It is because the lateral incisors are back a little so it makes my canines appear jutted out and large (though they are quite prominent), and therefore resembling a vampire and chicks dig vampires apparently.
It’s goofy, it seems fake, but it’s a totally genuine smile and facial expression. If I’m happy and someone else is taking the picture and I just smile without any thoughts of how it might look, this is what you’d see. It’s said that women are beautiful when they smile? I’m smiling… does that mean this photo is beautiful? You do not have to answer that, it is rhetorical, though you’re certainly welcome to answer if you feel like you have simply must.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s that thing about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. I’ve never beheld that my looks were beautiful, or even remotely so. Over the years I came to appreciate how I look, that I am unique & no one will ever look exactly like me and I realized how that is awesome! The crazy feathery-do bit about one of my eyebrows or that my forehead is exceedingly large. That streaks of grey run through my hair or that I have a tiny nose, a flat face from the side; large high cheek bones and big round cheeks. I admire my small widows peak and my wonky teeth. My crooked, half-cocked smile, my olive-y complexion and my freckles.
This is me. There’s only one me. I’m not here on this earth long. I might as well appreciate my quirkiness and not really dwell on how I don’t look like Raquel Welch or how most of society either doesn’t express that I am pleasing to the eye, or how they do express that I am displeasing. Who has time to waste on that? I figured out that it wasn’t worth the time, the heartache, the headache or the effort.
I still do not think of myself as a beauty, but I no longer care that I’m not hearing it from people. I’ve grown to love other parts of myself as well, not just my face. There’s no other way to say this, so I’ll just be blunt; I’ve got a really big behind. I always hated that, but I don’t hate it anymore. It’s nothing glamorous like J-Lo’s got, but I’ve got a big butt, it’s something I can’t hide, nor is it something that will ever go away. It’s an exaggeration, but I totally saw myself in the character of Aunt Fanny from Robots. Her butt was always bumping into stuff it was just so big.
It makes me laugh, but there is some truth in it. Around my house I feel like I’m in a pinball machine banging into the bumpers. And it’s so out there like hers that if I sit down it lifts me up high and out, so it’s like I’m sitting in a dolls chair. The struggle is real, y’all, but what can you do? I could mope and cry like I did as a teenager, or I can say, “fuck it” and just roll with the proverbial punches. The second option is way more fun. It’s just a shame my derrière isn’t more like her’s with a hatch opening on top to keep things in, now that would really come in handy!
But, I digress. The point was to take a realistic photo for that challenge, which I actually did not participate in over on Instagram. I decided to write about it instead. Do my own internal challenge, type out my thoughts, put it all down here for me to reread someday, to get off my mind in this moment in time, have a few possible readers join in my all over the place brain and weird photo’s. But honestly it felt strange, personally, to follow through with that challenge, not because of anything unsavory like I wasn’t good enough or that the challenge was trivial or not worth my time or any other such nonsense. Just… that’s not where I wanted to be; where this piece of myself wanted to be. It has escaped my brain, it is running free as soon as I hit that publish button and it just took a different course and that course was here, is all.
So, beauty is tricky and weird. It’s over-rated. It’s under-rated. It is misguided and spot on the course. Beauty, she’s a fickle lady. She should be honoured, but not worshiped. She shouldn’t be taken so seriously. She should have more fun. I’m trying to have more fun with her in my life.