Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Redefining What Beauty Is With a Selfie

I love when my friends share links on Facebook and will, for the most part, take the time to watch them (provided they aren't super long) and happily share the love. Most are pee your pants funny (Hello Vin Diesel and thank you for the giggle) but quite a few have touched the very center of my soul and I'm compelled to comment.
Such was the case with Dr. Deborah Cohan, the surgeon about to undergo a double mastectomy who had a Beyonce dance party in the O.R. It was beautifully heart-wrenching and so full of zest for life, gratitude for where she was and joy. The timing couldn't have been better as my own mother had just begun her own bout with chemo and I couldn't help but cry to see the grace that this woman had when about to undertake such a huge moment in her life.
However, yesterday was slightly different. I had a ton of work I needed to finish and was behind deadline but I sat back and watched the most beautiful campaign entitled by Dove to reclaim and redefine what beauty is. For just over eight minutes I happily gave up that time I was supposed to be writing and took a moment to let it all sink in. What is beauty? How has it changed and how can we change what the world thinks it to be?


We all know that "selfie" was the 2013 word of the year and if you'll recall I even wrote my own piece on tips for taking the perfect one as well as why I thought they were empowering. Turns out I was on to something. As a mother to a young girl I realize that she is ultimately affected by how I view myself and without realizing it, internalizes any of my negative self  image talk and can subsequently be harder on herself about how she looks than she should be.
I get it. As someone who suffered with a warped body and personal image most of my life I really get it. But now, at 4 months shy of 35 I'm finally comfortable with who and what I am. Even if it is not the "standard" for beauty.

To see these young girls talk about how their mothers view themselves affects their own views of themselves was both eye opening and inspiring. It reminded me that not only do I have to watch my own words & actions about my appearance but I have to be conscious of the message I'm sending to my tween about hers as well. She is at a very pivotal time in her life when girls begin comparing themselves to each other, when boys go from friends to full blown crushes and the smallest quirk is suddenly amplified by those who don't have them. It's even worse now with social media being what it is but I get it. I remember all too well how uncomfortable I was in my own skin at that age so I make it a point to remind her that not only is she beautiful and smart but that her quirks and idiosyncrasies are what make her that much more awesome. Because she is freaking awesome.
As a blogger it also hit home. We are constantly comparing ourselves to the next person, their outfits, their photography, their accomplishments even if we are totally happy with where we are. It's inevitable but it's up to us to remember our differences are what make us so unique and what draws our audiences to us in the first place.

I take a LOT of "selfie's". A lot. Some would say an obscene amount and I'll totally cop to that. And some days I totally over analyze myself in each and every one. But after watching this video I was compelled to run upstairs, grab my girl and snap a few pics. Exactly how we were in that moment. I wanted her to know that we are beautiful even after a long day and our hair is crazy (I generally reserve the loose random bun for those who've seen me without makeup) and that we are still at our most beautiful even when we make crazy faces because that's us being true to who we are. That our freckles are unique and sometimes take on a life of their own but because it's a genetic trait in my family that makes her special.
Sure she may have thought I was crazy after I sent her back to finish her homework but for me it was important to share that moment and these thoughts with her. I want her to look back on these years and think, "yeah maybe I didn't feel like the prettiest or most popular at school, but at least my parents and my family thought I was dope" and to take that confidence with her wherever she goes in life.
I'm also going to encourage her to take her own "selfie's" from time to time, just to document where she is in her life and how she's feeling because those moments (while seemingly narcissistic) are actually some of my favorite things. Being able to look back and see yourself at your happiest or your most awkward is beautiful thing. And so is she.




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