For centuries women have been told that we must bend, shift, and change for everyone in society. We have to dress a certain way, walk a certain way, talk a certain way. We've changed so much that a large amount of us don't even recognize ourselves anymore. Often told we complain too much, are too sensitive, we're too needy. So we look at those things as bad characteristics about ourselves and try to, once again, change. When we handle things on our own we're "too independent". When we remove some of our intense emotions that portray us as too sensitive, we're "heartless".
We're forced to change our outer beauty as well as our inner. If we wear makeup we're "cat fishing" and we must have low self esteem. If we walk out of the house barefaced with natural hair, we're ridiculed for our flaws and imperfections. So many women are altering their bodies. Nose job, boob job, ass shots; to look like something that isn't real. Something that was never real. I am, by no means, judging anyone or saying I am against surgery. Do whatever makes you happy! It seems like some women are never happy though. They do all of this changing to still feel the same way, unappreciated and devalued.
It's a continuous cycle that never ends. I think it's gotten worse over the years now that social media is involved. It's constantly thrown in our face that we should "look like this or act like that." Tracee Ellis Ross said something that really stuck with me...
"I wonder what it would be like if each of us expanded our idea and our definition of what beauty is. The hope and the goal is that each of us find it within..."
That is exactly what I want for everyone including myself. Each day I am finding new ways to value and love myself. It didn't register to me that I had low self esteem when I was younger but now looking in the mirror, I can honestly say I have never fully valued myself. I was always trying to "change" something about myself. I was always trying to adapt to other people. Be the girlfriend my man wanted me to be, the daughter my mother wanted me to be, etc. I wasn't being who "I" wanted to be.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, your 20's are hard. You're still trying to figure out who you are and what you're all about. It's probably your most vulnerable decade. Everything that you do, make sure it is for you! Make sure you are growing into the person YOU want to be, not the person that others want you to be. Accept yourself. Accept your beauty, your flaws, your beliefs, your opinions, your feelings...
Being a woman, you hold so much power and value. Lets agree to not let society enforce its opinions, limits, and stereotypes on us. Lets agree to be unapologetic, confident, limitless, and free.
***All photos are by Pierre Jean-Louis. After discovering his work on Pinterest, I fell in love! Check out more of his amazing art work on his Instagram @pierre_artista