This post has been hard for me to write, not because I don’t want to share my struggles, but because I don’t want to come off as offensive. In the StrengthFinder test, my top strength is Harmony (aka, avoid conflict). But I don’t want to not be heard in the slight chance I may offend someone. And if I get comfortable enough being offensive, maybe I’ll have a whole series of struggle posts! So here goes:
Sometimes we need to talk about the ugly, or the less attractive side of life. I’m guilty as much as the next person of only posting the good things happening on social media. Beautiful running scenery, accomplishments, or inspiring quotes tend to fill my Instagram feed.
But I need (and want) to share when times are hard or frustrating or when I’m simply lacking confidence, which is unfortunately, a lot.
I want to talk about feeling pretty. No, I didn’t knock my head too hard in a Soul Cycle class like Amy Schumer in I Feel Pretty, but her struggles are so relatable. A girl, just asking for some shoes that fit, without telling the whole world how deceptively long or large her feet are. I cannot count the number of times a department store has not carried my size or that I’ve had to try on the men’s version at a running store – things that bring my self-pretty meter down. To my fault, I also don’t like pink. But that’s a decision I make, not because an industry has set a standard for an acceptable range of women’s sizes.
There’s also the perceived standard or pretty – or perhaps one I haven’t been able to get past yet – the hair, the makeup, the clothes and the heels. I’ve been fancied up a few times in my life, received the most wonderful compliments, and still felt utterly ridiculous. I still awe at my fashionable friends with their fabulous hair, heels and make-up. It truly is an art (looking at you, CB).
Feeling empowered and pretty is in the eye of the beholder and if the above things help you feel that when, that’s fabulous! I have personally struggled to feel empowered this way. Like the last time I had my nails done for a work event, it was weird. I was recently on a non-date date (this was established beforehand), but still felt the need to put on my beauty mask, and it felt just like that – a mask.
I want to talk about feeling pretty in different ways, because I recently took a series of selfies in the mountains that felt very raw to me. The only downfall of traveling alone really is your camera roll is full of selfies. I had climbed to the top of my “Pocahontas rock” feeling very free and proceeded to take said selfies. Trying to grasp the enormity of the landscape behind me, I realized I had taken several photos with my sunglasses on. So I tried one without:
I’m a little windblown, sunburn and perhaps a little worn down from the race the day before. No brow pencil, no mascara and what face coverage I do have on is purely for the SPF. But this friends, epitomized and captured the true me, where and how I feel prettiest, where I feel the best and how I am the most empowered. But it’s also one I haven’t posted yet, because it didn’t seem like it would be the most attractive photo to the rest of the world. There was no great caption “I’ve been hiking for miles” or “just took a break from my bike!” Nope, it was just me, with my camera bag, climbing to the top of a rock. And that should be enough.
Coming down from the mountains though, I’ve struggled once again, to be enough. When I’m active and feeling strong, I am enough. But when women’s street wear won’t fit my shoulders or cut in weird places because I just don’t have curves, then my pretty confidence scale slides. Learning to love myself for all that I am and capable of is something I have to work on daily.
HOWEVER, the takeaway from this rant may be 1) quit whining, millennial, or 2) – I really hope it’s this one – that you capture those moments where YOU ARE YOU and share those with the world because you felt on top of the world and all that you knew in that moment was true to yourself.