Am I beautiful?

Natalie Portman

What is beauty? Is it make-up? Is it what everyone thinks others should look like? In reality, beauty is entirely in the eye of the beholder and has been skewed to hell via magazines like Cosmopolitan or Marie Claire.  Facebook and other social networking sites don’t help much either–these mediums can be easy sources for low self-esteem where people, particularly women, compare themselves to others. There have been countless studies on this already. I have friends who have deleted their Facebook accounts completely and tell me that they feel 100 times better in all aspects of their life. That’s saying a lot. If you think about it, Facebook/Twitter/you-name-it is a glorified podium where others can brag continuously about anything “wonderful” that happens in their lives–there are very few posts dealing with sad/depressing events–it’s sort of a wall people put up to shield eyes from that negative part of their life because others may not find it “attractive.” We’re all guilty of it, because let’s face it, what else is there to do on Facebook?

Beauty is so much more than a “pretty face”. I put “pretty face” in quotes because that description is SO subjective. Beauty is also compassion, respect, intelligence, etc. I don’t mean to narrow beauty down to a few select words because it is still so much more than that.  This is sort of like spotting a beautiful man in class and casually walking up to him.  But, then, once you began to talk to him that egotistical, self-worshiping personality comes out and he’s suddenly not so beautiful anymore. That’s beauty that only goes skin deep. It is true what they say: looks can only get  you so far.

And then we have people who like to express themselves. I’m talking about body modification: tattoos, piercings, scarification, etc. The blog, Sometimes Sweet, had a wonderful installment where they featured tattooed people and their body artwork. You can find the archives here: The owner decided to stop the spotlight, but I read through many of the archives. One of the questions she would ask the

Jessica Clark published in The Hundreds magazine

spotlight person was: “what’s the most interesting experience you’ve had with your tattoos?” Many people would say how people would call them freaks in public, try to touch their tattoos or overall just be mean and nasty. It was pretty heartbreaking to read some of these.  Why do people feel the need to be so judgmental? Even if tattoos are not something you could ever see yourself doing there is no reason to make another human being feel awful about themselves. Tattoos/piercings/etc. are a unique form of self-expression, and to each their own. Many tattoos have very special meanings to the wearer, others just think their tattoos are beautiful for aesthetic reasons. This is a new era where 1 in 5 people are currently walking around with at least one tattoo. I think eventually, the taboo of visible tattoos in the workplace will be non-existent. But, until then….

Take Jessica Clark, for example. Yes, those are real tattoos on her face. She became an instant success via her Instagram and Tumblr accounts, and she was most recently featured in The Hundreds magazine. I find her incredibly intriguing.  Others resort to mean, nasty comments. Why? While everyone is entitled to their own outlook on life there is absolutely no reason to pull someone else down. Perfection does not exist. Life is way, way too short to exert energy on hate. And then we have Natalie Portman (or even Miley Cyrus) who have shaved their heads (or Miley, who recently shaved most of her head). Are these people beautiful?

LIGHTS and her back tattoo. She also has several tattoos on both arms, and her nose is pierced.

But tattoos and piercings are not the only form of body modification. Don’t forget about plastic surgery–breast implants or nose jobs, for example. Are these things beautiful? These may not be as “taboo” in the world, but these techniques still change our bodies. The question stands, though: does this form of body modification make YOU happy. It shouldn’t matter what other people think. Actually, let me rephrase that, it doesn’t, without a doubt, matter what other people think.

I’m not saying to stop looking at “beauty” magazines, but what I am saying is to take everything with a grain of salt. Sure, it’s fun to experiment and try new things, but make sure that whatever  you choose to do, that it makes YOU happy. We only have one life to live, and I don’t know about you, but I want to experience as much as I can before my time on this earth is gone.

Beauty comes from within. Beauty is what makes us feel good about ourselves–whether that means wearing big, bulky sweatshirts all the time or getting a new tattoo. Beauty is not what anyone else thinks you should look like. Sure, there’s an element of what is “healthy,” but for the most part, beauty is what makes  you feel like you. To me, beauty means rarely wearing shorts/dresses/ tube tops/spaghetti straps; adoring my nose piercing and easily concealable tattoos that mean the world to me, both in experience and meaning; big, bushy eyebrows; compassion. Beauty is being true to yourself. It’s confidence. It’s being happy.


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