Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt insecure, not good enough, or unsure of yourself?🙋♀️
If I had a dollar for each time I’ve questioned my fair skin, my not-so long and luscious hair, my personality etc I could have retired in my late teens. Does my butt look good enough in this bikini? Can everyone see my stretch marks? Is my cellulite noticeable? This has been my internal dialogue for 31 years now and I’ve decided enough is enough. What I’ve learned (slowly) over the years is that the power of being you and letting your character and weirdness shine through, is the most freeing and empowering thing you’ll ever do for yourself! And let’s be honest, if we were all the same inside and out, would we really be happy?
I’ve grown up in a city where looks and aesthetics are arguably the most superficial of the entire nation. Located on the coastal line of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, dress code can often be centred around denim mini’s, bikini’s, and flip flops. But with this standard attire comes the ‘Barbie & Ken’ crew.
Ken usually consists of gym junkies, often with sleeves of tattoos who look like they could explode if they barbelled one more bench press (my gym chat is on point). Shoulders usually back, with pecks for days! For the ladies standard attire generally includes ripped denim mini shorts, singlets showing off ‘the girls’ (often fake), or super fancy labelled gym gear which serves more as a fashion statement than actual exercise clothing (shout out to my sista’s wearing $10 tights from Target like me). Of course not all dress this way, but to say this city has a reputation for being superficial would definitely be an understatement. I mean, is a full face of make up at the gym absolutely necessary?
I didn’t realise when I was younger but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised growing up in an environment where you can be judged on the quality of your hair extensions or the gym pants you’re wearing, body image can take a serious toll. From years 18-20 I religiously felt the need to spray my body with tanner, so I could paint the town red in a party dress with my girlfriends on weekends. And while at the time it made me feel a little more confident, how much money could I have saved over the years….we’re talking thousands! Sitting less on the tanner side, and more on the extremely fair/can see my veins through my skin type skin-type, if only I had learnt to embrace my fair skin and save that money for something more meaningful!
Since hitting my 30’s recently I’ve really learned what’s important and what’s not. Who you are inside is far more important than any Range Rover you might drive, or Louis Vuitton you may have. Feeling the freedom to say what you think, and be who you truly are means far more than having the ‘perfect’ Instagram life (which we all know is mostly smoke and mirrors anyway). No one is posting the argument they just had with their partner, or the job they were just let go from. So as you’re scrolling through, remember each post was intentionally uploaded (and filtered) to represent a certain message.
Let’s go back to school days, even from a young age we are categorised into social groups based on popularity. Based on what? Looks, economic status, hobbies/interests etc. We have the popular kids talking about hook ups and parties, we have the scholars discussing more serious topics like chemical analysis or biology lab, or we have the in-betweeners who were neither of the two. Often the cool kids would poke fun at scholars for not throwing cool enough vibes, by not wanting to partake in weekend booze ups or watch the football games each week. Fast forward 15 years to adult life, those same scholars move on to becoming successful highly paid individuals. School for most can be a rough and confusing time…we’re just a group of pimpled up, hormonally charged teenagers trying to figure it all out. But one thing I know for sure; who we are through those 12 gruelling years of school, is nowhere near who we become after leaving. Once we are out of the “you can’t sit with us” mentality of school, we flourish in the big smoke of being who the heck we want to be! For the most part (criminals not included), you have the freedom to be who-you-are, you just need to embrace it.
As we move through the multiple phases of our lives, we find ourselves drawn to like minded people (and places for that matter). Many of us will travel the world and explore new things, some of us wont (and that’s okay too)! Some of us will move interstate, or live abroad. Some of us will marry, some of us will divorce. Who ever you are, who ever you’ve become, embrace your journey and enjoy the ride. Nothing is a failure, everything is an experience.
Something magical comes from living completely organically, without facades or false pretences. Without the exhaustion of behaving in a way you think society expects. Life is too short to live as others expect of us, so why not use the limited time we have to live freely as you truly are? It sounds simple in theory, much harder to action I know. But remember something; the thoughts and opinions of others is a) not your business, and b) do not pay your bills. We each have a select few around us whose opinions actually do matter but even still, as long as you are living your best life for YOU, that’s what counts. It’s taken some time for me to be comfortable in my skin and love who I am, it’s something I work on everyday. But for the girl who covered her skin in brown liquid each week to fit in, to the girl who now leaves the house as fair as can be, stand tall in your skin and be proud of who you are. You never know who’s staring from afar, wishing they had something you have.
Know who you are, be you, do you, and let YOU shine through! Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle honey, you’re fabulous.