Strange as it sounds, yes, I’ve been hanging on to my hair. My story may seem vain at first glance, but please ladies, hear me out.
Like so many others, I’ve always struggled with self image and confidence. After decades of makeup experiments and style flops, my hair was the only area that I actually loved (sad but true). Even more so when I was pregnant and even post baby, I was always complimented on my hair. It was long, thick and fortunately I was able to style it decently. As a grown woman, I allowed my hair to define me. No, it wasn’t naturally luxurious or glamorous, it took loads of time and work. But it was work that I had time for prior to the birth of my daughter. Shortly after her arrival, it became clear that I wouldn’t have that kind of extra time for a while. I wasn’t able to wash it as often, let alone style it. And as my daughter became an active toddler, my hair was tossed in a bun daily, which had me wondering why I was hanging on to this hair?
As my mom style finally began to define itself (relaxed tees, jeans and flats), I realized that my long, luxurious locks were a thing of the past. Not only that, but my strands were holding me back. I hated that I couldn’t just toss up my hair and roll out the door (at the pace of my kiddo). And after my daughter expressed anxiety over losing her hair during her first trim, my mind was made up. I couldn’t allow her to view hair, makeup, or clothing as an important piece of who a woman is. I want her to see them for who they are and not how long their hair is. I know, she’s only 3 and maybe too young to fully get it. But, she definitely imitates others and is very curious, so it can’t hurt.
The woman I was 3 years ago has definitely evolved since becoming a mom, and my hair was such a small part of that big transition. The change as a whole was so much more than I ever expected. The pre-baby me would have laughed at the thought of staying in on Saturday nights or skipping a shower. I would have snagged the 4 inch stilettos instead of the memory foam flats at the shoe store. After losing the 8 inches of hair, I feel free, comfortable and more momish than before. Proof that change is good, ladies.
A few years back, a friend sent me a link to a YouTube video of an adorable young girl named Jessica chanting and singing into the mirror about everything she likes about her life. The video is titled “Jessica’s ‘Daily Affirmations’” and was all over social media. Many of you probably saw it. This 4-year-old girl captured our hearts because she was so fearless in proclaiming how much she liked her haircut, her pajamas, her family … the list goes on and on. Every once in a while, the video pops up somewhere again and I watch it, and every time I am left with a smile on my face.
I recently noticed that someone had made a “10 years later” version of the video, where Jessica is now 14 and complaining about everything, including her haircut, her pajamas, and her family. It made me chuckle (I remember those 14-year-old feelings), but also made me realize that the 14-year-old me tends to have a stronger presence than the 4-year-old me in my daily thoughts, and that just will not fly.
We all need to work a little harder at keeping our inner 4-year-old alive and well. I don’t know that we all need to go stand in front of the mirror and sing about all the awesome things in our lives (although it does sound really fun), but we should at least write them down and remind ourselves. And, after we write those things down, we should share it with a friend. Because feeling awesome about things in our lives is something we need to celebrate. Jessica celebrates a lot within a 50 second video on YouTube, so imagine what we can each celebrate just by taking a couple of minutes and thinking about (or singing about) what we love about ourselves and our lives. I am starting my list today, and making a point to keep that list growing. I hope you will do the same!
If you haven’t seen the video, or want to watch it again for inspiration, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg
“I love my whole house!”
The Today Show posted a very cool article this week that inspired me to look within to think more about what is beautiful, and how society and media defines beauty. The Today show piece starts with “Madeline Stuart isn’t your average model. The 18-year-old with Down syndrome is breaking down barriers in the fashion world, fighting to prove that disabilities shouldn’t stop someone from chasing their dreams.” Please take a few moments to read the following article. She captures inner beauty’: Teen model with Down syndrome lands new campaign.
The article goes on to share, “‘For years Madeline has fought against the struggles, both internal and external, that go along with Down syndrome,” the company wrote on its website. ‘Through dance, swimming and cheerleading, she has worked to strengthen her heart and body. And through her modeling career, she has forced many to reconsider the conventional standards of beauty.'” I am so thrilled to see this in the news. I am thrilled because as a woman, and through my younger self’s voice, I know the true struggles that we can inflict upon ourselves trying to conform to what we think others believe is beautiful. Huge kudos to Madeline, everMaya, and the Today Show for doing your part to break down these stereotypes and empowering us all to define what is beauty. Strength, being goal oriented, uniqueness, fearlessness, confidence and drive are all beautiful…. that is the face of beauty.
The message this week is very simple ladies and gentlemen…Beautiful people do not just happen. Take time right now to think of a hero you have in your life. There is no person of character or substance that did not weather several personal storms to continually transform into a better version of themselves.
You do not have to search through history books to find women and men that didn’t know why they were given the struggles and trials they faced and overcame. You can probably look right in your family tree to see an example of beauty and grace under pressure which resulted in a wise mom, dad, grandmom, granddad, aunt, uncle, sister or brother. They were not born the pillars of strength and wisdom that stand before you today. They faced some of the same life challenges that you do and they had faith for the promise of another day. Have you ever noticed how much scarier a storm is at night than during the day? Most of the time the intensity of the storm is the same night or day, so what makes the night storm scarier…? That is right, the darkness.
Your heroes also went through the dark storms at night and they were scary. They were not sure that they had it in them to survive. What did they all have in common? They believed in the hope of the “day” coming. Trials do not last forever, just like the storms in the night. There is always a day/transformation that is coming right behind this hard time. Even the bravest person you have ever known or read about went through that night storm and believed at some level in the promise of the light of day.
Beautiful people do not just happen…they are created. They are created by the experiences of their pains, passions, life, and loss (just to name a few). You are a beautiful person and you did not just happen. You are choosing everyday to get up, out of bed and believe in the promise of a new day.
One last thought on heroes…at the beginning of this post, I asked you to think of a hero in your life to help frame this discussion on how beautiful people don’t just happen. I am sure you were able to think of a family member, friend or historical figure without hesitation that resonates with the person you hope to be. I have several of my own, but none as important as myself. When these trials hit, and they will, you need to know that no one plays a bigger role as the heroine or hero in your life story than yourself. Only you will see this life till the end. I will close with the song that reminds me of this every time I hear it.
Beautiful people don’t just happen…
If you are anything like me you have looked in awe at magazines, ads and billboards and thought “I wish I could look like that! How can these models be so flawless? That could never be me. I could never have that skin, that hair, that body!” I then would find myself down on who I am, comparing myself to what I see in pop culture and media. That is until I learned that we have all been tricked…
I want to let you in on a secret. These models and actors do look like us! They just have computers, a team graphic designers and editing geniuses who alter how they look. Let’s all breathe a sigh of relief (1, 2, 3, Ahhhhhh). Check out these two videos that show the deception companies and media use to fool us. Now that you know this secret you can be empowered knowing that you are more like the model and famous person than you think. We are all beautiful and special inside and out.
-Alex, and The Confidence Post