Let’s face it, we all want to be beautiful. Let me take you back to a time where I was a geeky 18 year old. Insecurity was my middle name. I was overweight, socially awkward and my features still hadn’t properly “grown” into my body as of yet. My biggest self hates was my protruding nose, uneven ears and man boobs. This “emphasis” on looking good was a torment during school and once I left school, every single woe I had about myself remained, until I made some changes. Throughout the years, slowly, but surely I started taking better care of myself. I was watching what I ate, I joined the local gym and I was still growing into my body. By the time I hit 25 years of age, I became a new man- all of this without surgery of any sort. I lost 22 kilograms, my features blended well into my face and I toned up somewhat. I still had my insecurities but they only became a background annoyance, not a life long haunting. Today, as a 30 year old man I do feel beautiful and content with who I am in my journey, or should I say “battle” to be beautiful.
The Beauty industry today is one of the worlds biggest money makers, people all across the world are getting all types of surgery to enhance many parts of their faces and bodies. Want bigger pecks? You got it! Want fuller lips? You got it! Want your fat sucked out? You got it. Our societies focus on beauty has really become the primary target for most individuals, just like when I was 18 years of age, this obsession is truly back to haunt us all. Us Australians spend on average $645 Million dollars every year to “fix ourselves up”. Yet the question remains, is this a healthy and cautious undertaking or has it simply turned into an obsession?
We simply have to look at generations that have passed. The generations only as far back as our grandparents and great grandparents, people who I assume were “beautiful”. People who, despite their imperfections seemed to find happiness and fulfilment in their lives in every other way. Indeed, if these past generations could have been happy about how they looked, then how is it, that it seems so impossible today? Our recent ancestors had the skills to overcome this burden by finding joy in other things and accepting exactly who they were, because there was not a laser or Botox injection in sight. Yet today, our excuse for being “unhappy” is usually what gives us the drive to go under the knife, yet it is evident some people are truly NEVER happy, which is why we see a casual visit, turn into an addiction.
This desperation to “look good” and then hence “feel good” has really grounded itself in our populace today. Let me give you a horrific example of one lady I saw on the TV show “Botched Bodies”. Her name is Apryl Brown. A 46 year old woman in the United States who ran a Salon and had a terrible meeting with fate one day. A woman entered her Salon with a friend and said she gave her buxom friend one of her “booty injections” and the results sent Apryl into a spiral of joy and envy. Envy, because she quite simply wanted that butt- yet also Joy, seeming the lady with the magical wand was standing right there in front of her. Apryl in haste decided to get the injections into her buttocks by this stranger, a moment she will regret forever more. Gradually Apryl would get swelling in areas of her body and then an itch, slowly her itching would turn so intense she would be scratching her skin, literally off- layer by layer. Her body began to look discoloured, turning a bruised blue and a black and then the horrendous pain set in.
By the time Apyrl admitted herself to hospital her arms, legs and buttocks were black and rare, her open wounds and flesh were exposed as far down as the bone in areas. She was placed in a coma for a month and it was highlighted that this “silicone” was not medicinal, yet in fact silicone found in hardware stores, often used as sealants. Apryil was rushed for emergency surgery and the grim news was reported to her, the doctors had to amputate both her arms, both her legs and her rear end. Apryl nearly died multiple times and today has been a spokesperson, encouraging people- ironically “too late” in a way, to accept the way they were born. She teaches that there is nothing about them that is “imperfect” and to embrace life being happy and content with yourself. It reminds me how desperately sick one has to be to allow a stranger to inject them in their pursuit for beauty, or “happiness”.
These insecurities do not only plague the minds of women, there is an increasing pressure on men to look fit, fab and symmetrical. Men have been getting surgeries of all types- from Rhinoplasty to breast reduction surgery, from Botox to penile extension surgery– not to mention implanted biceps and abs. It was only up until recently that I still was unhappy with certain aspects of myself, secretly I would wish to have money so I could get myself a man-boob reduction surgery, because I was a fat kid- some of that fat had lingered behind. Yet when family members would ask if that’d make me happy, i’d scream and react by indicating I don’t “need it“- yet the reality was I wanted it, I wanted it so,so bad. I wanted the same Pecks as that “Men’s Health” model. That’s what girls want right!?!
Yet every time I was on the brink of wanting to take the next step, I had come to realize I had already come this far all on my own- without the help of a single incision or pump. I had lost a lot of weight, improved my fitness and diet and had grown to be a tall beefy man, what is wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. Today, I am perfectly happy with every single imperfection of mine, they are not here to haunt me, or remind me of my insecure past- they are simply there to tell me that I am a human being, and I am beautiful. My faith plays an integral part in recognizing this fact, if I ever feel that I am not good enough, I come to know that I truly am.
“He has created the heavens and the earth in just proportions, and has given you shape, and made your shapes beautiful: and to Him is the final Goal.” (Quran 64:3)
I think we need to return to the philosophies of our distant relatives and go back to their ways of thinking when it came to beauty. Everywhere we look we are engulfed with TV ads, catwalk models, billboards and unrealistic magazine portrayals of what “beauty” is. Sometimes we are indeed our own biggest critics, when we look into that mirror we pull and prod at every imperfection, wishing we could change it. The fact is, the beauty industry is one of the worlds biggest industries and it has got us inside of its grip. When will we come to realize that in order to look good and feel good there are things we can do to help ourselves.?
The first thing is to acknowledge that societies perception of beauty is warped, it is so unrealistic that its an illogical inspiration. Second of all we must come to realize that self improvement is one of the best roads to recovery. Changing our food and diet, not to mention focusing on our physical, mental and spiritual health we come to see it assists us in becoming “whole” again and feeling content. Just like me, change comes in stages and never is the natural way drastic, but it is indeed that- so natural that you cannot even see the transformation. It is not until others take notice and see the results of your hard work that they come to appreciate that your battle to be beautiful is over- and that you won fair and square. 🙂