Some may say beauty is flawless skin, tamed brows, voluminous lashes, shiny locks, and a perfect pout. And honestly, they aren’t to be blamed. Well, I tried everything. Laser hair removal, losing 18 kgs in three months (I developed a deadly eating disorder), owning a full-fledged beauty kit, managing a whole wardrobe revamp. And there I was on a bright Sunday morning, next to my window, scrolling down my feed, comparing my lives to others, still pondering about how to feel beautiful.
Five years later, I am thankful for all that I went through, for educating myself of the beauty standards that change with time, cultures and perceptions. We live in a world that forces us to compare ourselves to perfect Instagram selfies, or our current life to those beautiful exotic travel locations or even someone else’s success. Trust me, when I knew I was seeing the highlighted reels on social media and the big television, I promised myself to reprogram my mind. Ironically much, with all that I had ‘against beauty’, this is exactly when I decided to jump into the same industry in the hope of understanding it, and changing it one day. I’m not half-way there yet, but here are a few things that make me feel beautiful today, and I hope they help you gain perspective.
1. My power of choice:
I work in the beauty industry and I refuse to promote fairness products, have a bias for cruelty-free makeup and skincare and wear my curly hair with pride. I remember when I was 15, I took a pumice stone and rubbed it against my shin to slyly remove hair - and oh boy, I shall never forget that pain and my blood-red legs. Today, I unlearned. It’s been two years I haven’t got myself waxed, and I think that’s as beautiful as having them waxed if I want to.
2. Eating healthy
It’s been tough to believe I won’t relapse into my binge sessions or anorexia, but I have come a long way. I turned vegan, for my own reasons. Food was my biggest weakness until I made it my biggest strength. I love to nourish myself, and it’s my act of self-love. I cook all my meals for about three years now. All food groups, my Auric coconut water, my fave fruits, my Doolally fries here and there, I enjoy all of it. And btw, all my love for grocery shopping!
They say there needs to be something you do for work and something you do for love. I’ve been dancing for about 8 years now, on and off, between jazz, ballet, contemporary and modern and I’ve cracked it - this form of expression makes me want to burst out with all kinds of emotions, mostly love and laughter. It’s safe to say, I feel the most beautiful when I dance.
4. Hanging with my homies
When I'm around the people I know love me, I feel beautiful and whole. Be it visiting a beach, going for a weekly dinner or just watching something in bed. I value it all. Trust me, these are the moments that make one feel whole and give life a real purpose. After all, what's life without close-knit relationships?
5. Travelling solo
Every year, I make it a point to travel solo. I've been to the hills, England, Bali, Chandigarh, Pondicherry and for a few camps. I spend my time reflecting and journaling, eating, walking gorgeous streets and meeting new people. It can be really tough to keep the connection with yourself in a metropolitan, jumping from job to job, working out and alllll those household chores. Where's time?
With time, I've started to derive my happiness from multiple things rather than just my physical appearance - things more consistent, more whole and closer to me. Things I don't need validation for, and no exaggeration, life is better.