“Nothing is more beautiful than naturalness.”
So…I got my eyelash extensions removed. And my gel nails soaked off. I’ve haven’t used self-tanner since…I don’t know when.
Among the million shifts that happened while I was at yoga teacher training was embracing natural beauty. I had no choice: we were either dripping in sweat (during practice) or soaking in our own sweat (after practice) 99% of each day. Our idea of being “fancy” was changing into fresh clothes and putting on new deodorant.
After spending a month looking at your own sweaty face in the mirror, you get comfortable with how you really look. And how we all really looked? Was awesome. I’ve never felt more fit, strong, or powerful. My skin was sweaty, yes, but it also glowed with just plain ol’ happiness. The women in training with me were gorgeous without a stitch of makeup on. When we got dolled up for our graduation night, I couldn’t help but think we all looked better without our faces covered in goop.
In Charlotte, it’s been easy to get caught up in artificial “beauty”. The longest lashes, the perfect manicure, a year-round tan. Skin care “regimes” and boosts and serums. But we don’t need that to be beautiful. As my dear friend Lindsay says, “You do not need any drop of cream, makeup, Botox, injections, anti-aging anything EVER. You are beautiful as you are and as you age, without exception.”
Wait, what? “You are beautiful as you are and as you age, without exception. Not “You’re beautiful unless you have thin lips. Then you are disgusting.” or “You look beautiful as you age unless your skill is dull. Then please don’t make us look at you. Shudder.” You are beautiful without exception. I have a wrinkly forehead because I am VERY expressive when I talk (and I’m a master of the Teacher Look). And you know what? It makes my stories that much better. I have crooked teeth from where I stopped wearing my retainer (sorry, Mom) but I still smile at everyone I pass on the street. I have the world’s shortest eyelashes, but they rock because they’re mine. All mine. I’m starting to get crow’s feet because I’ve had a life that’s very full of joy. Do I care about how I look? Yes. But I’ve found that creating a life that makes me happy has been much more powerful than anything that comes in a jar or bottle.
I’m not saying your crazy if you love makeup or enjoy a hair extension or two. Natural beauty doesn’t mean you have to exfoliate with dirt or braid your underarm hair. (But if you do those things-for real more power to you.) Am I going to stop shaving? No. Do I still spend a ridiculous amount for my girl Brittany to give me that awesome ombre hair? Yes. But if I stopped shaving/waxing/getting my grays covered, I’d still be beautiful. You would, too. Natural beauty means looking and feeling like you, without the need to mask every “flaw”. Y’all, my flaw mask would be like a full-body covering if I started making a list. So I don’t. I just let it all show.
Go look in the mirror, give yourself a wink, and say “What up, hottie?”. Know that you don’t have to cover yourself up to be worthy. You’re perfect just by being who you are right in this moment. Stubby eyelashes, big pores, and all.