Friday, April 17, 2009

Beauty: In & Out

New jobs are exciting, but as with anything new, there are undeniable disadvantages.

I make my way to a nearby Starbucks with my new lunch companion – the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. I arm myself with a Tazo green tea and take a seat at a table next to two bright-eyed, chatty 20-something year olds. I immediately notice their admirable postures and superb smiles. As I sat down, flipping through my magazine, I couldn’t help overhearing a fragment of their conversation.

“I can’t believe he went out with HER. She was hideous, I mean, she practically had no lips!”

They both burst laughing in unison. The other one abruptly stops,

“Oh stop. Maybe she had a good soul. Or something. I always heard she was a nice girl.”

I decided then it was time to look for a different Starbucks. Or actually make friends at work.

Growing up, we are raised to aspire to be better. The utmost of life’s grand values are learned early on: as women, we are taught kindness, patience and understanding, and most of all, we are taught to be minimally judgmental towards the others around us.

Although they remain instilled at the core of our being, these teachings seem to take the backseat for, many a time, we find ourselves acting viciously, impatiently and heartlessly towards one another. We subconsciously let ourselves detach from them because of our innate insecurities and fears of others’ perceptions and views. Unquestionably, our human limitations make us increasingly insensitive and highly judgmental.

Taking a look at such shortcomings – is it entirely society’s fault? We have been and continuously are bombarded with media images of standardized beauties – long hair, round eyes, curvy hips and even curvier hips, to name only a few of the perky attributes. There is very little grace found in the very natural process of aging, for everyone desperately aims to “look” and “feel” young. It’s a concept of power – I am referring to the power of beauty.

I won’t deny that physical appearance plays a radical factor in our lives – we are expected to look presentable in order to be respected and taken seriously on our path to full potential reach and endeavors accomplishment. It is also equally important to preserve our health and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. But exactly just how much emphasis does physical beauty deserve? How far have women gone in order to achieve and further perfect the unbeatable standard of beauty?

Too far.

And I feel that we all are a little too familiar with how far beauty has made women go: from breast implants to eyebrow lifts to the much-popular BOTOX and liposuction, to spa treatments and mineral make up, to myriad of weight-loss products and machines that promise to melt away pounds, to countless hours slaving away at the gym, proclaiming personal trainers to be Gods, to diet pills and cleanses to Weight Watchers. Yes, Jenny Craig, we get it. How can we not know it all since we have done it all? I’ll bet my mink coat (okay, if I had one, I would) nearly every American woman out there has taken at least one of the above-mentioned measures to attain the “standard.”

Ladies, THIN is IN. So is tanned. Preferably with long locks and even longer legs. Don’t forget radiant skin and luscious lips. Anything fair-skinned around 5’3 packing a few extra pounds with a bob cut and a sign of a face wrinkle milder than a Florida summer breeze should be banned from openly proclaiming her womanliness, or worse – wearing a skirt.

Perhaps I’m making the physical standard of beauty seem more drastic than it is, but in reality, why be reticent about such a highly publicized subject? I believe that in order to truly find our place in the world, we need to acknowledge the topics that will make us feel vulnerable, address them and expose possible solutions and remedies.

The truth is that beauty shouldn’t be and isn’t skin deep. It never was, it is not and it will never be. The road to inner peace and acceptance of our physical flaws is a mighty long and strenuous one. For some, it’s a lifetime journey across many roads and bridges and tunnels. It is solely up to the individual’s power and state of mind. It IS mind over body, after all.

Along with acceptance, you can recreate yourself through your positive thoughts process – sure, you may never look exactly like Heidi Klum, but you’ve got a great pair of legs to work with. There is always room for proper improvement. My trainer promised me he could make me look like the Pussycat Doll leading lady, vixen Nicole. I told him I’m simply trying to shape up, to stay healthy, and oh yeah, to look like ME. Is it so wrong to want to look MY very best without being compared to celebrities? YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO WANT TO LOOK LIKE YOU! Not anyone else, but you.

Unleash your inner beauty – you know, those qualities that aren’t visible to the naked eye, but go a much longer way than a Vida Guerrera-look-alike rear end. Your actions are based on your inner workings, and they are a constant reflection of who you are. A true beautiful reflection of self can only be attained once you go beyond the superficial exterior and learn significant inner wisdom principles. Once mastered, they go beyond any possible standards of psychical beauty. Furthermore, physical beauty becomes much more substantial when there is a strong base of inner beauty.

The blend of both is the true standard of beauty.


  1. I'm SO glad you're writing again. Please, never stop. You're fab! And true beauty is in youuu!

  2. Irene- love this post! I believe what we are seeing is a complete degradation of our societal values and character- the virtues and traits we held as a nation with high value is being replaced with reality tv, plastic surgery, and American Idol.

    Please don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with indulging in the above mentioned but when its usage becomes regular and when we as a society don't counteract it with oh i don't know- volunteering, outside in nature, and keeping our waters clean- we have what your mentioned in your post so well!

    People become desensitized and whats sad most people don't even realize that their core values are being replaced by the frivolous silliness. Kudos to you to calling a spade a spade. It was a nice read.