It's not easy in today's society to truly feel beautiful. We as women are bombarded everywhere we turn by images and voices telling us we are imperfect creatures. Millions of dollars are made by various companies and advertisers telling us WE can achieve perfection via the purchase of some "beauty" product; eating or NOT eating certain foods, exercising with this piece of equipment or that one, camouflaging or uncovering certain body parts...Lord, it never ends.
Unfortunately, for a vast number of women we 'buy' into it, literally. We spend dollar after dollar on cosmetic products that one by one pile up in our "make-up" drawer, exercise videos and exercise equipment by one 'perfect' physical specimen after another (who because of our hard-earned money can now afford liposuction), chemical processes and extensions in our hair to achieve the most "flattering' styles, we offer bodies up to the sacrificial alter of beauty to be plucked, waxed, shaved , exfoliated, nipped, tucked and for what? So we can continue to chase the always unattainable beauty ideal?
Don't get me wrong.
I prefer to shave my legs, I wear nail polish and lipstick and make-up (when I know I'm going somewhere groovier than the grocery store), and I don't wear socks with sandals. But I'd like to think that if one day I awoke and couldn't wear one cosmetic product, relax my ethnic hair or lose that extra five pounds; I would know that I was still a beautiful woman. And extraneous physical accouterment's aside, I would not cease to be a lovely unique human being.
This is what concerns me now that I have a daughter. I look into the future and dread the day when she will come home crying (as many kids do) because someone at school told her she was ugly. As we all know kids can be cruel and most times they are repeating the things they hear and learn at home.
I would like to be able to not just tell her with my loving words but also show her by my life example that she is a beautiful girl. I want her to see that she is beautiful; not because of what she wears on her body, applies to her face or hair or by how much she weighs.
I want my daughter to grow up with the knowledge that true beauty is what comes from inside and radiates outside in the acts of kindness and consideration you give to others, the way you love and respect yourself, the joy you take in sharing time with family and friends, and the sacrifices you make so that others can be happy.
True beauty is loving yourself no matter what your shade, size, financial or educational situation. I hope as she grows up in this increasingly appearance obsessed world, that she can pass every reflection of herself with a smile of security and peace.
I am only just reaching that place myself.
It has taken me many years of spending and self-doubt to finally realize that you cannot find in a bottle that which can only come from within.
COPYRIGHT 2003 FELICA DEVERS DE LA PENA
Felica Devers de la Pe?a:
Felica Devers de la Pe?a is a writer who feels her most beautiful when she is with her husband and daughter.