The other day, my husband brought home a bunch of free fashion magazines he had picked up at an airport lounge. It was the first time in many, many years that any such magazine found its way into our house. (Don’t worry, I’m not all Miss Proper over here, I enjoy cheap reads as much as the next gal.)
Anyway, as I’m sitting in my chair, leafing through one of them, two things happen. First, I think, “man, this is boring, can’t believe we’re still being taught how to please our man and apply smoky eye make-up.” The other is, “why don’t women editors drag these magazines into the next century already?”
How and why is it that we, as women, tell other women how to look perfect, to cover up apparent imperfections and make sure we are the most beautiful we can be-on the outside?
This goes beyond the “love yourself” issue.
This is about how we as women are expected to be outwardly beautiful. “Black is beautiful”, “Beautiful at any age”, “Ageless beauty”, “Flawless beauty.” We even expect each other to “make the best of our body type”, shave our legs without missing a spot, hide the “muffin top”, solve all of life’s problems with a “makeover”. Why should we?
Why can’t we be flawed, or jiggly, or wrinkly, or size 14 sexy? So what if our faces aren’t flawless?
We act as if we owe the world beauty—our outward beauty. I must be late to the party, but I learned eventually that we don’t owe anything of the sort. Quite frankly, it’s too much work. I can’t be bothered!
This is where yoga made so much sense to me.
Yoga taught me (patiently, over a number of years) to accept that I am getting older, that my body does not have to fit into every asana, that my looks don’t define all of me, and that my smile is more important than my flawless face (I’m not even sure what "flawless" means exactly. Do you?).
In yoga, there isn’t this continuous need to look “young for my age” or to “rock some killer abs.” Rather, my vulnerability, my openness, and surrender with regard to these issues drew a completely different set of people into my life—the kind I always missed!
Suddenly there were other women who don’t let themselves be defined by their dress sizes. In fact, they never talk about dresses at all! These are women who are fiercely open-hearted, living in their strong, unapologetic femininity.
They don’t just show up for their own self — which is already hard sometimes — they also never fail to lift up those around them as well. They are sisters, teachers, mothers, friends, wise women. You guessed it: true beauties!
So, if we’re going to make our life’s purpose about being beautiful, let’s truly do so! Love your body AND let's make each other beautiful in the most powerful way possible; forget photoshop and perfection and let’s teach and support each other.
Then we can truly say that we have found true beauty, not just in ourselves, but in everyone we see.