Be Your Own Brand Of Beautiful
As little girls, we grew up with so many hints and cues about what it meant to be beautiful. Princesses in fairy tales always had impossibly tiny waists and delicate features. Our Barbie dolls (or any other doll, really) always had soft hair, long legs, flawless skin, skillfully painted makeup, and of course, a closet full of outfits we all (secretly) wanted. So it's no wonder why we started to have these hard-to-reach ideas about beauty—especially when we've always grown up with all these cues and references that shape our understanding of what beauty should be—to the point that it eventually becomes our very own definition of beauty.
But here's the thing, Candy Girls, beauty standards can be so problematic and for many reasons, too. In the first place, they're absolutely impossible to catch up with. Remember the saying "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?" This couldn't be truer as everyone will have different standards of beauty for many reasons. One of them could be something as simple as where you live. Different cultures around the world have their own beauty standards. People in America, for example believe that tanned skin is more attractive and some girls go through different tanning measures just to achieve the look while our morena girls here are blessed with the naturally tanned skin they're gunning for. In the meantime, a lot of girls in Asia slather on whitening creams and even pop skin whitening supplements to get the naturally fair skin of Westerners. In the Philippines alone, so many skin products feature whitening properties, signaling the kind of beauty standard we hold as a society. It is so prevalent, in fact, that according to an Inquirer article last 2016, forty percent of women surveyed in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, and South Korea used creams to whiten their skin.
Beauty standards are also influenced by what's trendy at the moment, which means that beauty standards are going to change constantly. Who has the time to go chasing after all of them? Case in point: freckles. Shout out to all the freckled Candy Girls out there! Isn't it crazy how freckles suddenly became such a huge makeup trend in 2014, but before that, people did their best to cover them up as much as possible to achieve clear, flawless skin? Another beauty trend that's all the rage now is the Kylie Jenner pout. Lips weren't the main focus in the beauty department a couple of years ago, but now, a painted and plump pout like Queen Kylie's is an essential in many girls' makeup routines.
All these show how beauty standards are never permanent—they are always going to come and go.
With that, we have to ask ourselves if conforming to societal beauty standards is still worth it.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Imagine going through all the trouble of working on your appearance to reach a standard of beauty, only to have them change the following month or only to be considered as sub-par to other people? It's so easy to feel insecure and discouraged because of the impossibility of the task, but don't be.
Instead of conforming to standards, go beyond them!
Know that you are unique, and uniqueness is the most beautiful quality of all. In an era where the "copy-paste" mentality goes beyond the confines of your computer and even influences how people look, what people do, and much more, being your unapologetically unique self is the most beautiful thing there is. Being unique has become more and more difficult with the influence of social media, so more people have begun conforming to what is popular without really thinking things through.
But why must you limit yourself to the beauty standards of the status quo, when you could expand the notion of what is beautiful?ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
The challenge now is to be your own brand of beautiful. In a society where impossible standards exist to make us feel inadequate, it is so important that we don't let society's standards dictate our self-worth. Go beyond those standards! Do the things that make you feel beautiful—be it excelling in sports, engaging in your favorite hobby, or just helping other people out. If there's any beauty standard you should be following, it should be your own and no one else’s.
After all, being confident in your own brand of beautiful will surely never go out of style.
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First. Pixie dust and paper cuts – these are the first things Wendy knew about Peter Pan. Aurora first met Prince Philip when she was sixteen. Learning how to ride a bike was also a first while I was growing up, but you are probably the first of too many. The first collection of dust and stars; maybe Luna will try to ask, who was your first? I might answer and tell her that it was you.
The first of too many stars in the sky. You are the first of too many fallen leaves during fall – and you will be the most anticipated snowflake as winter comes. A dark path that you can’t see without any light, hence, you were once the moon and there are the stars that shine so bright at night. Are we too early? Or we just really want to be ahead of time? Even in a glimpse, I would like to see the two of us connect as if we can reach the sky. There are other parts of the heavens you have never saw and other oceans you haven’t laid your feet onto – but the constellations will always wait for you. Close your eyes, love, close your eyes. Start counting backward: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Count backward until you see the twinkling lights that will guide you to the right path. To the right satellite; to the right person. A first.
There are many firsts – first love, first heartbreak, first sport you played, the first thing you do in the morning, the first thing you remember about the person in front of you. There are a lot. It’s actually up to us how we will consider something as a first. So, Primo, you are already a first of too many.
If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.
And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.
Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.
Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”