lyrically inspired – on being beautiful

If you pay any attention to the current music scene, you’ve surely heard Colbie Caillat’s newest song “Try.” I first heard it a while back.and instantly fell in love with it. I’ve listened to it countless times since and can’t seem to get enough. It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it and I can’t help but sing along.

Here it is in case yoi haven’t heard it:

Over Memorial weekend, a dear friend of mine snapped a picture of me that was essentially candid. I didn’t pose for it. I just happened to look at her and smile as she snapped the picture.

A couple weeks later, she wrote me a private message asking if she could post it publicly on her Google + profile (she’s a professional photographer). The second I saw the picture, I knew my answer – YES! I had to admit it was a gorgeous photo, even to my hyper critical, self deprecating eye. So she posted it, and then I posted it to my own G+ profile, to Facebook, and I changed all my profile pics -everywhere.

I felt overwhelmed by the response this picture received; it left me speechless with leaky eyes. So many people complimented my smile, said how beautiful I am (except for the one guy who said it reminded him of the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme). It took me by surprise. I was happy about all the kind words and I felt beautiful, just as everyone had said.

…For about a minute.

Very quickly, I found that I had my doubts about what people were saying. After the initial happy wore off, I noticed thoughts such as, “Oh, they’re just saying that to be nice. They don’t really think I’m beautiful.” Have I mentioned that I’m overly critical of myself? Let’s just say I have a black belt in beating the shit out of myself.

But instead of getting immersed in this line of thinking (i.e., believing it to be the truth), I noticed the thoughts and gave them a mental hug. There was still a smidge of lingering doubt as the days passed by, but I genuinely found some acceptance that people were being honest.

woman smiling

This is me, in all my bare faced glory, no makeup and not even a hair brushing after my shower that day.

A couple more weeks passed and I received a personal message from another very close friend. In the course of our conversation, he said, “You are smart, strong and beautiful.” It made me smile a bit. But again, I had my doubts about the truth of his statement. In my mind, I heard loud and clear, “He’s just saying that.” And I brushed the compliment aside, along with the others. Under rug swept.

Not two hours later, I went to brush my teeth for the night, staring blankly at myself in the mirror. I had the thought, “I can’t believe he said I’m beautiful.” But the next thing I heard was, “I should wear makeup more often so everyone will really think I’m beautiful.” I literally froze as I looked into my own eyes, the words reverberating in my mind!

Oh my god! Did I seriously just think that?

Yes. Yes I did. It hit me like a freight train what I’ve been doing to myself all these years. I have been ignoring my own beauty – inside and out. Other people see it and I’ve felt so badly about myself for so long that I cannot even see the truth about me, the very girl I have to live with 24/7. I have bought into the hype that only women of a certain appearance are beautiful. And I’m not one of those. I’m a natural girl. I rarely blow dry my hair, and even less frequently do I wear makeup. What you see is what you get with me. And, sadly, I almost always feel ugly.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this insightful moment. I wanted to write about it, but the words weren’t coming. And then I heard “Try” and it all came clear. Here’s what stood out to me (at about 1:40 in the video):

wait a second

why should you care

what they think of you?

when you’re all alone

by yourself

do you like you?

Do you like you? Now there’s the real question. Do I like me? My answer was a resounding NO. And I felt sad. And I knew that no one else could ever make me feel beautiful for more than a few minutes. Conversely, I knew that if I do feel beautiful, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me. I don’t have to impress anyone. I don’t have to be beautiful for anyone. I just get to be beautiful because it’s who I am as a person. It isn’t about my appearance one bit.

And in that moment, I decided to believe what everyone had said about me, friends and strangers alike. Because I decided to believe it about myself. I AM beautiful.

To The Naysayers

Sadly, I’ve seen many people lambasting Colbie for her song, taking it personally that she eschews the use of makeup in this video. That is SO not the point of the song. It is not criticizing women for wearing makeup. It is about loving who you are, unconditionally. It’s saying, “Look at how beautiful you are! You are Beauty!” So many women feel the neeeeed to “put their face on” before they can even leave the house. They don’t feel good enough for the world to see them in their raw form. If it’s a free choice you make, you won’t neeeed to put on the mask before letting anyone see you. You will choose to do so or not and it won’t matter either way. But if you’re afraid to leave the house without it, then makeup owns you. Your mask owns you.

The whole point of the song is that regardless of,what you look like without makeup, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! True beauty comes from inside and it has nothing to do with your appearance. Look inside and embrace that. That is all this song is about. I feel sad that so many women have taken offense to it. It simply tells me they are not okay with themselves.

As for me, I’m not 100% convinced of my own beauty in all honesty, even after all these very real moments of realization. But I’m sure much more willing to see myself for who I am, the beautiful woman I am.

I wish all women could see their true beauty.

If you’re interested, you can check out Colbie’s interview with Elle magazine here. She talks about her inspiration for the song.

3 thoughts on “lyrically inspired – on being beautiful

  1. Excellent topic, excellent writing. Your honesty shines through. I agree with all you have said, and you said it beautifully.
    P.S. Your picture shows your happiness, and that is where true “beauty” is always strongest. Oh, and you DO have a lovely smile that reaches all the way to your eyes.

    Like

  2. I just read this wonderful post (after I got the notification in my emails) and you truly speak from my heart! I didn’t know Colbie Caillat and I just listened to her song, it’s beautiful, I really like her voice! Next time I will watch myself in the mirror while brushing my teath I will ask this question to me and see what I’m going to feel! :o) warm hugs and thank you for mentioning a topic that never stop to harm us women!!!

    Like

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