Have you ever looked at a photograph of yourself and just wish it didn’t exist anymore on the internet or just the universe in general?…. Well, I did.
This past weekend my boyfriend came to visit me in Washington D.C. I’m currently performing in a show called Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at the Folger Theatre. At the same time we were celebrating our anniversary. We took a few adorable pictures together at the U.S. Capitol and ate oysters at Pearl Dive on 14th street. Looking back at the photos of us I thought, “Oh no, is my boyfriend hotter than I am?!?” I then starting kicking myself for not wearing makeup, wishing I had worn a nice dress instead of shorts and a tank top, wondering why my hair was so darn frizzy–.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down partner, I thought to myself. First off, I needed to give myself a break. I was falling into the trap of saying negative things about myself. Secondly, I was comparing myself to my boyfriend. Truth be told, he is handsome but he’s a COMPLETELY different person than me. We are an interracial couple and the list of our differences could rattle on forever. In retrospect it sounds a bit silly that I would even think that either of us could look better than the other. More specifically I was being self-conscious about my own beauty. I didn’t have time to adjust or get the best angle with a selfie, our server took the picture. I was looking at the positive things about my boyfriend that I find attractive and only the negative in my own image. That’s a losing battle! The same goes for other people who aren’t us: friends, co-workers, celebrities, or athletes. I think it’s healthy to appreciate or even be inspired by the positive traits in other people, however if we stir up jealousy within ourselves and desire what they have over what can do for ourselves only disappointment can follow. We can only look good for us and achieve our best selves.
When I face the mirror I think: How can I look the best I can today with what I’ve been given? Sometimes my hair is more frizzy right after a shampoo, that’s just a fact. I’m just gonna need to add a little more gel or just be fine with having an inch more of hair added to my height and channel Beyoncé. When I don’t wear make up I should appreciate the nude features of my face and not compare it to the enhancement of eye shadow or mascara. Wearing my natural look more often is not only healthy it actually makes me more comfortable in my own skin! There are simply a range of different looks that I have access to depending on the occasion and all are beauteous.
I looked back at my the picture of us again and remembered what a beautiful day it was, and that we got to celebrate our anniversary. We saw “Jurassic World”, and ate some of the best oysters in the city. I remember him telling me how beautiful I looked, not once but all day. It never bothered me I wasn’t wearing makeup, I loved feeling the breeze fly through my voluminous curly hair, I had on a cute casual short and tank top combo. I was on top of the world having the best day with my awesome boyfriend. How dare I diminish the memory of that great day with “Ugh, I look gross in this picture.” IRRELEVANT! For a moment I lost sight of why we took the picture in the first place, to remember the moment.
Now I know that some you would look at my picture and say “Oh you’re being ridiculous, you look great!” The truth is, we (myself included) are super critical of ourselves and our appearance. I say, give yourself a break. Instead of focusing on how we look in every picture, try to remember the moment, the memory. Picking ourselves apart and trying to hold our images next to others is only hurtful to us. It’s okay to have some pictures of yourself looking like a real person, not just glamour goddess selfies. Those are fun too but balance is necessary. Even Rihanna has pictures of herself without make up. The days that I feel even a little down about my body image, I give myself the gift of dancing naked. What better way to cheer yourself up than build a positive relationship with your beautiful self by rocking out in your underwear or your birthday suit?
If you have not danced naked yet, what are you waiting for? Try it today and check out The Guide.