"Beauty of every kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears." - Edgar Allan Poe
Everyday you wake up and go about your morning routine--brush your teeth, wash your face, put on makeup. In between those mundane acts, you catch quick glances of yourself in the mirror. You look the same. Same hair, same eyes, same nose, same mouth. Nothing is particular, nothing is unusual. Everything is just regular.
I never truly look at myself anymore because when I do, I only notice words: your cheeks are chubby and your thighs are thick, tame that wild lion-mane hair and get rid of that double chin. Your posture is horrible and your shoulders slouch down. They're all the qualities and features I see in the mirror and I've conditioned myself to accept that that's all I physically present. If I stare at myself any longer, I begin to see the underlying characteristics: I'm insecure and overly sensitive, I am dramatic and overthink. I drown my thoughts in criticism and let the world constantly beat me down. My own eyes are the gateway to taunting judgments collected by my ears. If the mirror supposedly reflects truth, then are my eyes consenting reality or distorting my perspective?
At one point or another, when you put yourself out there in the world--whether you are a celebrity, social influencer, blogger, or simply a member of the digital world--you become a victim of self-consciousness, risking your dignity and self-worth. I've made this risk when I became a blogger, and though I love every bit of this blogging life, I've become more concerned with how I am presented to the world. I worry about what I look like and what I say. I can't help but feel as though my every movement is being witnessed by a critical eye and I begin to question whether I am committing to my personal promise or involuntarily succumbing to societal demands. They consume my thinning confidence and validate my growing insecurities as much as I fight against it. Everyday is a mental battle between what I think I see in the mirror and what others see in me--Do I reflect who I want to be or who they want to see-- resulting in one winning over the other. Some days I push for what I believe in myself and other days I tragically settle for the public mold. Of course, I know the former is preferred, but as a twenty-something human, I let my guard down sometimes and temporarily expire from my personal duty to defend my dignity.
So here's a note to my fellow insecure, unconfident, tough self-loving friends who have been in the same boat: don't just accept your beauty, embrace it--welcome all its subtle details and unique imperfections with warm arms and open hearts. Be within and without.
Photography by Moon Chi Photography