You Are Beautiful
by Claudia Joubert
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I am two shades darker than milk, I have a Jewish nose and funny looking toes. I am beautiful…
I know that you have brought on your Christina and sung ‘I Am Beautiful’ at the top of your lungs in traffic (with your windows rolled up, off course). Because inside all of us, we know that we are beautiful. Beauty gets covered up though and we shove it to the side of our minds because we don’t hear it everyday and we surely don’t feel like it either. And quite honestly we feel kind of silly and narcissistic thinking about it.
A very wise man once wrote: The most beautiful thing a woman can ever wear, is confidence.
The most beautiful women I know are a far cry from perfect. But they carry themselves with such dignity and self-worth that you can not help it but see her as extremely beautiful. Some rock heels, other pretty flipflops. Some are very young, others are pensioners. Afros, frail grey hair. Moms, spinsters. Beautiful.
Once you are comfortable in your own skin. Being you the way you want to. Then you become enchanting, mesmerizing.
No girl wakes up and feels absolutely beautiful. No girl is an island either. The way that she perceives herself will be 50/50. Half will come from her own observations, thoughts, and inner feelings. The other half from you and me. From the other girls and women in her life. From what we convey to her about herself. Which will mostly affect her self-perception and will be the picture she sees when she thinks about the ‘me’ she sees in her bathroom mirror.
Now, why do girls over-eat? Emotional eating maybe. Crossing the line where they just do not care anymore. Because nobody sees them anyway…
Why do girls have bulimia, anorexia? It definitely is not nice to throw up everything you’ve just eaten. But the idea of putting on weight, being ‘ugly’ overtakes any grossness. Being hungry constantly is not fun. But that is the exact fuel for the anorexic. Knowing that she is kicking Fat’s butt. In fact, they are literally starving for attention.
Why do ladies stop putting on make-up? Quit putting on that pretty summer-dress and rather go with something ‘comfortable’ (usually comfortable equals well worn and pretty old)? Because no one notices. Nobody even sees them anyway…
Have you ever had a complete stranger walk up to you and say: I think you are beautiful? If you had the privelege, you will probably still remember the exact day and what you wore, where it was and what the person looked like. It took you by complete surprise, right? And I bet you smiled for the rest of the day.
If you go to www.you-are-beautiful.com you are greeted by a message that says:
Let this project be what it is for you. Their statement leads as follows: You Are Beautiful is a simple, powerful statement which is incorporated into the over absorption of mass media and lifestyles that are wrapped in consumer culture. The intention behind this project is to reach beyond ourselves as individuals to make a difference by creating moments of positive self realization. We’re just attempting to make the world a little better. Intention is the most important aspect of the You Are Beautiful project in its idea of purity. Nothing is sacred. Everything that has a perceived value becomes commodified. We work extremely hard that this message is received as a simple act of kindness, and nothing more. Advertising elicits a response to buy, where this project elicits a response to do something. The attempt with You Are Beautiful is to create activism instead of consumerism. You Are Beautiful uses the medium of advertising and commercialization to spread a positive message. Projects like these make a difference in the world by catching us in the midst of daily life and creating moments of positive self realization.
As I read this I got struck by the ‘obviousness’ of it all. The guys at Inner City Ink in Jozi helped me with making small pins (or buttons) on which are printed: You are Beautiful. Just that.
These I have given out to a couple of girls, women, moms, spinsters. All of them were Beautiful. I could see the little spark of “someone noticed” came back. Putting confidence and a lot of teeth into the smile. Most of them ask – very dignified – that I must pin it on for them. Not one has said she doesn’t want to wear it immediately.
(Go to www.optimisticllama.tumblr.com to view pics!)
What’s a guy doing in these pics, right? He is Braam Joubert, South African Strongman. After he saw the pins & heard what it’s about, he also wanted one. Comes to show - the heart is also a muscle. And this is exactly what YAB is about - unveiling the hidden.
Those pretty faces I will not forget. And I will be giving them out until a thousand women believe they are beautiful…
Write her a note, sms her, email her, put a post-it on her computer screen. Tell the women in your life that they are beautiful. You will never have felt more beautiful yourself…
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