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Outer Beauty

Yes, I agree that it is someone's inner beauty that will make them desirable in the long run, but this post isn't about that. I love a good personality, and won't deny that a good sense of humor and nimble mind is sexy, but this post is about my own personal struggle with outer beauty.

I have hit on this subject in various posts over the years, but I feel it's time to hit the struggle head on this time. I am not looking for pity or even sympathy, this is just my truth in so many words to help me heal.

For as long as I can remember I just wanted to be seen as sexy. I am a Latina, I am SUPPOSED to be sexy. That was the signal I was getting from my surroundings. I struggled to be seen as such every day since I was in 5th grade. Growing up with no Latina friends, I submitted to the standard of beauty that I did see. That meant from the age of 10 I started waxing my eyebrows and mustache. I wanted to shave my legs at 11 and I didn't understand why my body wasn't the same shape as any of my friends. So of course I started to think about diets.

It was around this time that I was a serious figure skater and was not only extremely active but had another standard of beauty I was holding myself to. This is when the real nightmare started. I was 12 when I became bulimic. This eating disorder ruled my life for over a decade. This is something that probably only my college roommate knows, as that is when I was serious about getting over it for the first time.

Yes, my eating disorder was sparked by a standard of beauty I was trying to reach while ironically or not so ironically not being healthy at all. The reality for me though is that my bulimia was about so much more. When I purged, it was as if all the emotions, opinions, things that were bothering me were released. I hadn't learned how to express myself in a healthy and authentic way and used eating and purging as a way to cope with life.

After college I had long periods of where I would not revert to the disorder. This gave me the illusion I was completely over it. Then, when I turned 25 I found myself at nearly 200 pounds. I could not see myself as beautiful at all. I hated my big boobs, I had no butt. I had rolls for days. I never put on makeup and just let myself GOOOO. Then I finally had enough.

I was not this woman I had let myself become. I love being active, I enjoy glam and makeup. But I just got lost. I couldn't find my outer beauty even if it had a homing beacon. So, I went to therapy, did yoga, and became vegetarian. Slowly, I was finding outer beauty again.

By the time I was discovering myself again, beauty standards from my youth began to change. I spent a bunch of money on laser hair removal, getting my nails done, and on various makeup and skin care regimens. Society had started to say thick is beautiful. But, I am not thick. I don't have the typical curves of a Latina. I have a more athletic build with no real waist. Yes, I have some boobs and butt now, but I still struggle with being seen as sexy.

It was only about two years ago when I gave myself permission to just let go of what society calls beautiful in order to see my own beauty. I love the fact that I can color my hair any color and it looks somewhat natural. I love that my looks give me an ethnically ambiguous look that allow me to travel comfortably alone. I love that my eyes are big and brown and that I have natural lashes. I love that my arms are defined and muscular and are able to carry my own weight. I love the tattoos I have marked my body with to highlight not only parts of my body I love but activities and life experiences that I want to be part of my outer beauty. Slowly and steadily I am falling in love with my own outer beauty. Because the truth is, no matter what shape I have been, people have loved me, men have loved me. My reality is, now I LOVE ME. And I can only hope that you find the love in your own outer beauty that I have.

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