Embracing You

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It’s the first time ever that I have truly embraced my ‘natural’ self in the physical sense – hair colour and naked skin.

Growing up, we are presented with the idea that we are not enough in our natural state. This narrative is especially prevalent for girls and women. We spend endless amounts of money, time, and energy attempting to transform ourselves into an unattainable ideal of ‘perfection‘. However, arriving at this level of ‘perfect’ is never enough – the self-fulfilling prophecy to nowhere but torment and unhealthy self-critique. I acknowledge that approaching this topic is met with a double-edged sword. There are two sides – those who feel empowered and creative to experiment with physical modifications and those who oppose it as a revolt against societal conformity. The older I become, the more I identify with the latter.

As many of you know, I have a beauty YouTube channel – NakedWithoutMyLippy. The idea came from my mom, who never left the house without her lipstick on because she felt ‘naked’. I slowly became victim to this idea – I wasn’t ‘me’ without cosmetics that masked my natural self. Both men and women shame women for wearing either too much makeup or none at all. I used to be so embarrassed to leave the house without foundation on. My ability to look someone in the eyes, such as a supermarket cashier, was impossible. I knew this way of thinking was strange, but it’s all I ever learned from the adults around me and friends my own age. There was so much shame to embrace our natural state. The more conscious I become about this topic, the more toxic I see beauty bloggers, hence part of why I stepped back from the industry altogether. However, some incredible artists are producing very innovative work. Wayne Goss continues to be one of my favourites. He truly encourages women to still be themselves – don’t use makeup as a tool to hide. But I often hear others say, “excuse the state of me, I’ve no makeup on!” This comment is highly toxic and damaging to all women regardless of age, but it’s often unconscious. I look back today and feel sad. I escaped teenage acne, my skin was fresh and clear, but I only felt accepted and ‘me’ with layers of foundation!

Societal conditioning is impossible to escape – good and evil. We are influenced and often fall victim to harmful ideas that manifest into self-destructive behaviours. In a world where capitalism triumphs everything, we are presented with the idea that who we are physically isn’t enough. Sowing the seeds of insecurity starts from a young age, and consumerism presents you with a solution: buy this, and you can be perfect, belong and be accepted. But the reality is only until the next seed germinates, the new insecurity blossoms, and it’s harvest season – another short-term fix for a deeper issue. The French concept of beauty has been a refreshing new discovery for me. Can you believe that they dare to actually EMBRACE their imperfections? Wow – this opened up a new realm of self-acceptance and inspiration for me!

The explosion of the fillers and botox movement created new self-doubt in women – my lips aren’t big enough, my cheeks aren’t plump enough, my jaw isn’t chiselled enough. Nothing is ever enough! If I had a Euro for every time, I heard a girl say, “my small lips were always something I was insecure about,” I’d have enough money to purchase my own! I will admit that I, too, have been tempted to experiment with fillers. However, controlling my impulse for instant gratification has been a slow process. Systematically breaking down the reasons WHY I want it, there is usually a reason deeply rooted in my subconscious. Identifying these root causes throughout the many different facets of your life is life-changing. Influencers are here to influence but fail to admit that they too have been influenced, which is the ultimate contradiction. I don’t want to shame anyone for the decisions they ultimately make, but getting honest with yourself is the first step to embracing you.

Holly sunny

My hair is another part of my physical aspect that I have thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with. I have changed the colour and cut numerous times over the years. It would always reach a certain length, and whatever internal conflict I was dealing with would reflect on my hair. In August 2019, I decided to make one last dramatic hair change before I would finally stop and let nature take its course. Cutting off the broken ends and achieving a colour that matched my overall natural colour. Since then, I have been tempted to play around with my hair. However, I am now more self-aware of this pattern and the reason behind this desire for change.

Embracing you is an act of rebellion in this world. It is profound to tell society that you accept yourself in your natural state without shame. I will be honest and say that each day is a struggle when constantly bombarded with overt and covert messages. However, today I can leave my house without makeup and look someone in the eyes without an overwhelming feeling of discomfort. I have unfollowed so many influencers who fail to inspire me from the inside out and found new strong females with a powerful message. Serena F**KING Kerrigan is my latest inspiration – Empowering, motivated, independent, honest, vulnerable and absolutely witty as hell – you HAVE to follow her!

Working out has been another incredible addition to my life – I am fitter, mentally stronger, and my skin benefits from the natural glow. ‘Intention’ is a word gaining a lot of insight in my life lately. I am very passionate about living a naturally healthier life, but of course, I still do love to get dolled up and wear a fierce red lip!

Holly

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