colour of my skin.
I PRAISE YOU BECAUSE I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE; YOUR WORKS ARE WONDERFUL, I KNOW THAT FULL WELL.
New seasons. I read once that about every 10-15 years a person changes, they evolve into someone else. I don’t mean they physically morph into a new person, but internally they do. And couples, they begin to fall in love with that new person in their new season of life together.
Next year I will be turning 20 (how weird!), but I’ve come to realise that it’s not just your spouse who falls in love with the new person, but it’s also yourself. You need to learn to love who you’ve become.
Who you were 20 years ago is definitely not the same person you are today. I mean, I’d hope not! Otherwise I’d still be crying 24/7 and wearing diapers. Loving yourself is something that you’d be doing for the rest of your life, lovely.
I am definitely a firm believer in usually technology for good. We can spread awareness so much faster about matters we truly care about. With a little tap from our fingers we can find out what’s happening on a global scale. Or we could google random questions like, “Will an ant know if it’s on fake grass?” We could use technology to promote creatives, like film, podcasts, artwork, photography, etc. The world is moving so rapidly that we can even use iPads for educational purposes. My point is technology and the media can be used for good. But back in the early days when technology was just beginning to arise, a lot of people were unsure about how technology would impact an upcoming generation. And I think we used to underestimate the power of technology and media on a young child's emotional and mental development. As technology continuously develops everyone is able to feel entitled to share their opinion, especially on beauty.
Growing up in Australia I saw beautiful white women with long flowing blonde hair on the television, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and sadly it twisted my mind to believe a distorted image of what beauty truly is. I grew up insecure about my background and dark features in contrast to my friend's appearances. In my young mind, I only had one concept of what I thought was beautiful, which consisted of white glowing skin, long luscious curly blonde hair, blue striking eyes, and large plumed pink lips. Although women who have those features are undoubtedly beautiful (every woman is) for me it personally portrayed everything I was not. Instead of blonde hair, I had dark brown, instead of white skin I was a light mocha shade, instead of blue doe wide-eyes I had thin dark brown eyes. And because of that, insecurity made itself a home within me. The seed that media and technology had planted in my heart manifested into something greater. It took control of my life and robbed me of my child-like joy. I became cautious of the way I spoke, the way I acted, I would watch how other children behaved and I would follow in their manner. My parents were both from a foreign background and did things a little bit differently, I had felt at times that other children would judge me for the way I did things, like how I would pronounce something for example. So, I evolved myself into a sort of chameleon. Always changing and never remaining the same. I placed a strong division between my home life and schooling life so I wouldn't be deemed as "different" and that I would always blend into the background. I craved to do what was right so I wouldn't draw attention to myself. I spoke to only to a selected handful of friends, never raised my hand in class, kept my head down in fear of what I would do wrong. Because if I did something wrong, everyone would notice me, and everyone would notice the "ugliness."
The seed in my heart grew jealously, envy, comparison that shrivelled up and killed my joy. I remember at some point in my life I was so aggravated and upset at the colour of my skin that I went home and showered. I desperately tried to obsessively wash myself, a foolish attempt to remove the dark pigmentation in my complexion. I remember the tears streaming down my face in frustration, my skin turning a light shade of pink from my excessive rubbing. But most of all I remember the sheer raw pain. It felt almost as if a bullet had gone straight through me, and I was oozing. I don't remember what caused such a breakdown, but I do remember the deep sadness dwelling within me. At some low point, I had even spoken to a friend about the idea of bleaching my skin, but she thankfully talked me out of it.
I believed that I was not beautiful. I set a standard in my head of perfection and that projection of perfection was a standard that I could not reach. I continued to see this standard of perfection in the media and as naive as I was, I believed every lie they ever sold me. I saw the girl on the magazine cover, glamorously covered in make-up and stunning expensive dresses. I saw the girl in the movie falling in love. I saw all the love and fame these women were getting, they were adored. Whereas I felt like a complete failure. I would imagine myself as a blonde, white-skinned woman and how that may change my entire life.
I believed this about myself until my early teenage years. A new season approached, it was called puberty (DA, DA, DAAAA).
With this new season approaching, I saw my fellow friends and classmates - the ones who had everything I ever wanted, the hair, the skin, the eyes, the lips, they were wanting to look like me. I watched as they began to tan their skin obsessively to achieve the shade that I have. I heard them say to me, "I wish I had skin like you!" I watched as they straightened and burn their luscious hair to have the same texture as mine. I watched them strategically place layer after layer of makeup, an attempt to fill the same hole that I had in my heart. The longing to be beautiful, to cover the insecurity with something the media had told us would fix it.
But I didn't really want to change anything about how I thought or perceived myself until I saw my younger cousin following in the same footsteps as I had. I saw the mentality grow and the craving to be like these beautiful white women in my young cousin. And my heart broke because I remembered all the pain and suffering, I felt myself go through. I saw as she idolized these women on the television, in the cartoon, when we played dolls when we drew pictures and played games. And for the first time, I felt determined and strengthened.
Enough was enough, I wanted to break the cycle that I had been living in. I wanted to know what it would be like to not worry about all these materialistic processions. This is when I began to step into a new season of peace and self-love.
I don’t entirely blame the media. I still think it can be used for good but taken advantage of this is when our view begins to change negatively. Media and technology placed an image in our minds of what we thought is the ultimate beauty standard. Each standard is different according to each person, but that projection is ultimately false. Some women spend all their money on fixing what they believe is "wrong" with their body. They say that what you invest your money in is what you believe is most important. In America, women spend $16 million on cosmetic plastic surgery. Lately, the media seems to be celebrating celebrities and companies who are reaching out to other types of beauty but even then, the standard of beauty that we hold over ourselves is worse than ever. Ladies, we can change the world. But it won't change if we spend it conforming to the standards, we set for ourselves and the media.
Fixing that hole in my heart wasn't an overnight success. It took a lot of pain for me to learn how to love myself. I had heard that you can only love others once you learn to love yourself, so I took the time to get to know me. I wanted to grow myself as a person. Instead of looking at my flaws I began taking note of my strengths. I took on a challenge that I would say “yes" to anything I thought I could never do. That year was the most challenging but also the most rewarding. You can never know how much you can achieve just by changing the way you perceive yourself. I would like to say that I achieved this on my own, but it was honestly God who took my hand led me towards what true beauty is. My concept of beauty was so warped that I had to back to the very beginning. I had to first understand God's love. When I first experienced it, His love was unlike anything I had ever felt. It was so selfless, so kind. It held me in this state of constant grace unlike the state of perfection that I had on myself. He taught me what it meant to truly love whole-heartedly. He loved me first. I would spend time with God just sitting in His wondrous presence feeling such a rush of love flow through my veins. During those moments of clarity and peace with Him, I felt Him drawing me closer. He whispered into my ear and told me to look at the mighty roaring waterfall, the endless number of stars in the sky, the intricate detailing of a flower, and I did. I saw the wondrous beauty in each of those things, in everything. I saw how God placed his whole heart in designing it and how truly beautiful it was. And once I understood that God said to me, "all of these things are beautiful, but your beauty is greater than these things. For I have created you out of my own image, you are my child. You are formed from the dust and I breathe life and beauty into you." It was the world who put insecurity into my heart, but it was God who placed security back into my life.
I am confident in who I am and who I am created to be. Are you? Even in this new season in life, I am still loving who God has created me to be.
We can often look to materialistic idols, relationships, friendships, status, and class to determine our beauty and worth. But you, my dear friends, are beautiful. God sculpted you Himself. Everything about you is intentional. From the way, you laugh to your freckles, your stretch marks, your toe hairs, your hair texture, even the shape of your fingernails. God created you with love. He calls you beautiful, He calls you worthy. God loves you wholeheartedly, despite what you may believe about yourself. Nothing can separate you from God's endless love. You are here for a reason; your life has a purpose. A purpose that you may not understand the full extent of, but it's yours. The media doesn't dictate what is beautiful God does because He is the creator of the world and the creator of you. You are unique and different so embrace that. Don't think that because of your differences you are weak because your differences are what make you unique to the Kingdom of God. Albert Einstein once wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” You are you. So, don't judge yourself based on the other gifts and abilities that someone else may have.
Let's continue to embrace and support raw, vulnerable women who are true to themselves. In this new season of life, learn to love yourself and all that God has created you to be.
True beauty is found in worthy attributes - in kindness, love, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, patience, selflessness, joy.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL & YOU ARE LOVED.
ALL MY LOVE, BIANCA