Life in the Fast Lane


True Beauty

By 10:20 AM , , , , , , , , , , ,

I'm not going to lie.

I can't tell myself "You're beautiful as is" and mean it 100%. I often joke about my Spanish hips, my skin asthma (which is the reason behind my not wanting to wear shorts or skirts), or my cankles. Through the years, I've come to accept that I'm "blessed" in my own way because of all these, and honestly, I don't mind them anymore. Not as much as I used to.

But just yesterday, I got myself new foundation, a new concealer, and new blush. I'm not a heavy makeup user: in my daily kit are just concealer, blush, eyebrow shadow, and lipstick. Sometimes, though, I do put on eyeliner and mascara. Needless to say, I don't like leaving the house without something on my face. Otherwise, I feel incomplete. That's why I also like browsing my friends' feeds and finding out what their makeup routines are/what products they use.

Yet I do recognize that there's more to beauty that transcends two coats of mascara, perfectly blended eyeshadow, and nicely shaped brows. Beauty should, more than anything, come from a quiet confidence; a grace that radiates from head to toe; a kindness that reaches out and does not look down on anyone.

This is the kind of beauty I aspire for (and I do hope other girls and women share the same sentiment). I would want people to call me, my relatives, and my friends "beautiful" because of our character, our love for people; in the case of my spiritual sisters, because of their love for God and their ministry.

It's hard, though, to focus solely on this kind of beauty. We leave the house in the morning and what bombard us immediately are billboards of stick-thin, curvy women with perfect cheekbones. We turn on the computer and what greet us are news updates of our favorite celebrities from our favorite movies and shows.

O hai, Angelina Jolie.

There's a standard of beauty that we're used to and, for the most part, we'd say that 70% of the population wouldn't make the cut. We don't need to confer amongst ourselves and lay down the framework for what "beauty" means: we already have it ingrained in our systems. We know within seconds of seeing someone, for example, that that girl's nose is "too wide", but that this other woman has curves in all the right places; that that girl's eyes are "too wide set", but that this woman has the perfect ratio of calf muscle to ankle diameter.

Jennifer Aniston's tanned, toned legs.

In my line of work, when we're casting for TV commercials (or print ads), we have to look at video after video of talent VTRs and immediately say "okay" to those who have potential, or "pass" when this person doesn't fit the mold, then move on to the next video. Sad, but true.

Over the weekend, I was actually wrestling with this inexplicable disparity when it comes to beauty. And I got convicted two times.

The first time was when I came across my friend Isa's blog entry, "Billboard Pretty" (which was, as always, nicely written and thought-provoking).

The second was when I saw this video. The speaker, Lizzie Velasquez, was born with a rare condition (only she and two other people have it) that makes it impossible for her to put on weight. She was voted "The Ugliest Girl on the Internet" and had to come to terms with criticism, with her plummeting self-esteem, but ultimately, why she was made this way.

What got me was when she told God this: "You made me look different so I could see the beauty that isn't defined by the media." Such solid words from someone who clearly has a higher calling; someone who knows what true beauty is all about. 

I have to keep reminding myself (and others, if need be) that not even the most high-end makeup brand can outshine the character of a woman. 

And that's what she should flaunt, and flaunt with pride.

"People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
- 1 Samuel 16:7

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