Please Be Yourself

(Photo credit to @ledbyheart on IG)

Please!!  I’d rather see real people with real smiles and real eyes and real faces than all these pics with filters.  Love yourself just as you are, and others will love you too.  Your own eyes, skin, lips and all!  Let YOUR light shine, not the shine of a filter!. If someone doesn’t like it, don’t worry about it, because they’re not your people.  

When I first went to the drum circle here, several people commented that I look just like my profile picture.  I hadn’t ever really thought about it before then.  This year, I stopped wearing makeup and stopped dying my hair, because I really had a growing need to just be myself without any masks, to be loved for me, not for some fake external appearance.

I realize that those of us who identify ourselves as more feminine are sometimes bombarded daily with ads and campaigns telling us that we’re not good enough just as we are and that we NEED makeup and dye in order to put an acceptable version of us into the world.  I say, only do that stuff if you know that you don’t need it to be worthy of love.  Do it only if you feel just as beautiful without makeup as you do with it.  Do it if it feels fun rather than a chore required for you to “be presentable”.  Do it only if you’re not trying to avoid “letting yourself go”.  

Dying my brown hair auburn brown started as a fun change, something different.  It looked really good on me.  People thought it was my natural color.  It brightened up my face.  But as the years went on and more silver hair made its appearance at my roots, I got swept  up in the race of dying it again before anyone noticed.  Even more importantly than that, I began to not like my natural hair color.  The auburn made my brown and silver roots look mousy and dull in comparison.  Dying my hair went from a fun way to change things up to a way to hide myself and my truth.  My truth is that I have a lot of silver hair. I have earned every strand of that silver.  Now that I shaved my head and started over, I actually like my hair color.  Without having it sitting next to auburn, my unhealthy comparison and shame of the silver has faded.  I have so much left to do in this life that I don’t want to be confined to a hair dyeing regimen.

I began asking myself, “why is it that men are not made to feel less worthy, sexy, or attractive when they don’t wear makeup or dye their hair?” Have you ever thought about that?  While buying my boxed dye once, my son asked me “Mom, where is the dye for boys?”  Uh yeah, all the boxes of dye had pictures of women on them.  It spoke volumes of the bias in this society.  Looking at it from this angle is partially what made me abandon my makeup and hair dye routine.  Generally men wake up in the morning and go.  They don’t typically add color to their faces or their hair in order to be presentable to the world.  They get to just be themselves and the people who love them, love them, and the people who don’t, don’t.  Have you ever thought that you wished a man in your life would wear some makeup to brighten up his face or hide some of his wrinkles?  Do you think men look better when they dye their hair? I’m guessing most would answer no.  So then, why should I?  I have never had a man comment that he wished I wore makeup.  In fact, I have had men comment that they like that I don’t wear makeup.  If I’m happy with my face without makeup, and men I’ve dated have been happy with my face without makeup, then who the hell would I be wearing makeup for????!

We owe it to ourselves to let go of the biased constraints being placed on us.  We owe it to ourselves to enter into the world every day as our real, authentic, vulnerable selves.  We owe it to ourselves to show up every day feeling good in our own skin without the masks of makeup and dye and fancy filters.  

Shaving my head was the most empowering thing I have ever done for myself.  It seems silly given that it’s just hair.  I had never felt so beautiful in my whole life, nor had I ever felt so naked.  I did it at a time in my life where I finally felt free to be myself without any care given to what other people would think of me.  I felt free!  I continue to feel free in my authenticity and vulnerability.  I have found them to be keys to living my best life.  

I know that anyone who loves me today, loves me for the “real” me.  And isn’t that what we’re all wanting? To be loved unconditionally for who we really are? Aside from physical things like dye and makeup, for many years of my life, I didn’t feel good about who I was as a person, so I hid the “real” me.  I changed the way I spoke, how much I spoke, and the topics that I spoke about to fit with whoever was around at the time.  I was more concerned about what people thought of me and pleasing others and keeping them comfortable than I was about being true to myself.  So, when people loved me, I had an aching sense that maybe they wouldn’t if they knew the “real” me.

I am happy to say that those days are gone.  If you meet me today, you get the “real” me, completely.  I no longer change who I am to find my people.  Instead, I present myself to the world as fully me, and my people find me.  My fears that people wouldn’t like the “real” me have been proven false.  Above all, I love how it feels to be one person all the time, regardless of who I am around!!  I feel free and happy and at peace!  

We have one body, and one face in this life and if we don’t love them, we don’t open ourselves up to having others love them.  It is my hope that everyone gets to comfortably present themselves to the world as their truest version, whatever that means for them.  Sometimes that means going through the physically difficult process of transitioning into a more male body form or a more female body form.  I have so much love and respect for people who find themselves in that position and choose to walk through a virtual transformative fire so that their outside appearance matches what they feel in their hearts to be true.  Your path to your most authentic and vulnerable selves is one that many of us can’t even imagine.  I love that above everything and everyone else, you choose to be true to yourself.  Being true to myself and loving myself are have been the most important components to living my best life.

If you can relate to any of this, I encourage you to start letting more of your own light shine through.  Maybe start by ditching the fake filters on ALL of your pictures.  I get it, they’re fun to play with, but at least give us one normal, fully YOU picture every now and again.  Filters might make you look like a fairy princess riding a unicorn, but your smile is what lights up the world! While we’re at it, please save the duck lips for the ducks.  Smile more and we’ll all smile with you! Smiling is contagious! 

Thank you for reading.  If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it!  Much love to you all!  

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