Saturday, September 18, 2010

Operation Beautiful

This is my personal experience, I decided to share it to start off this entry.

I was in school my first day this semester and had stopped in the bathroom. It was excruciatingly hot outside and I was walking around in the heat from building to building so my make-up was kind of taking a beating. I knew that and decided I was going to go and make sure that I didn't look ridiculous or have eyeliner running smudged all over my face. It has always been this fear of mine that I'll go walking around with my make-up looking terrible and no one will tell me. So, I went inside and when I went to look in the mirrors, I saw something pink posted on the mirror above the sink I was standing in front of. I leaned in to take a closer look and it said "Don't worry, you look beautiful!" I noticed that there were other pink post-it notes stuck to the other mirrors so I went around reading them. One of them said "Beautiful is anything you want it to be." The other said "Smile, love yourself. Operation Beautiful." It made me smile a little and I wanted to write my own note but had nothing on hand. So I decided that I would do it at a later time and pass it on.

Obviously, there was something behind "Operation Beautiful" and funny enough, when I picked up Glamour magazine it was a featured article. I definitely suggest that everyone check out the Operation Beautiful website and see what the story is all about. It's a pay it forward, anonymous self-esteem boosting campaign that is easy for anyone and everyone to do. OB is centered around weight-issues and giving women and men the self-esteem they need to stop focusing on their weight. However, I feel that beautiful has to do not only with our weight but with our looks in general. I know that being in the beauty industry that not only do I judge others but I also judge myself very harshly at times and it's not fair. I don't know how many times I've had to remind myself "that person is air-brushed". It's not even that, just the fact that everyone is built differently. No face is the same, no face is totally symmetrical. It's hard to remember these things because of the way the media toys with our minds. And it is easy in the age of the internet to compare ourselves to countless people, some we will never meet. For what?

Everyone wants what they don't have. I've spent most of my life admiring people with green or blue eyes because I don't have them. Instead of wearing blue contacts or something equally as silly, I've started to admire my eyes for what they are. No, they're not blue or green, but they're striking in their own way.

It also took me a long, long time to embrace my natural skin tone. Unlike what most people think, I am Italian but not at all tan like the stereotypical Italian person is. In my family, there are both typically tan people and very fair-skinned people. My maternal grand-mother had milky white skin. I always wanted to be tan! I wanted to be tan, green-eyed and have brown-ish black hair. However, I am pale (and always have been), I have hazel eyes and had blond hair that darkened to a medium brown color. I was always asked if I was sick or if I ever went outside. I worked at a tanning salon when I was 17 and really put myself in harm's way before I realized that what I was doing was not only unhealthy but pointless. After a while, I got used to being light-skinned and just accepted it for what it was. No matter how much I tanned, I never got that bronzed, golden glow that some girls could get. Around the time I had Daniel, being pale started to come back in style and people started to use sunscreen all the time. Now, I get complimented on my skin In fact, I am told by older women all the time "stay out of the sun, don't damage your beautiful skin!". It still is not the cultural norm to be pale, especially not during the summer. Working in so many beauty stores, I see a lot of girls and women come in with very, very dark tans. However, I hope that everyone starts to realize that being naturally fair-skinned is okay, too. I want to shake every woman that would come to me and ask me for anti-aging creams but confessed that she laid out by the pool almost every day. Why? If you don't want to get sagging, wrinkled skin you have to stay out of the sun! There is no miracle cream, there is no fountain of youth. The only thing you can do is prevent the damage of DNA from free radicals and have good genes (and only one of these things you can somewhat control).

Embrace the skin you're in! So, I definitely echo the sentiments of Operation Beautiful. Be happy with you, don't worry about the next person. Beauty is what we make it. And with that, I hope everyone passes on some notes to strangers like I plan to do. I just have to remember to stick a post-it pad in my purse the next time I go out. :)


Megan Darling said...

I really love OB, it's so refreshing to see people wanting to be positive about their/others bodies and looks instead of the constant "do this/wear this/change this/lose weight/fix that/minimize this/you're not good enough the way you are" crap that women especially, though I know men deal with it too, have crammed down their throats. Oh my God I feel you on the skin tone! It took me a long time to be ok with being as casper pale as I am. I never really tanned or tried to be not pale but I didn't embrace it the way I do now.

I seriously love this whole post ♥

Holly said...

It's so true that people want what they can't have. I don't think I'll ever accept my natural hair color, but I'm pretty happy with my pale skin now ^^

Kelly said...

This post just made my whole freaking day. <3

Lauren the Lionhearted said...

Thanks guys! I think it's a great idea as well. As well as one that is hard to grasp because we have been trained and conditioned to always feel there is something wrong with us.

Lindsay said...

aww what a great going to pass in on too! :)