*This post is sponsored by SAYA Designs, a brand inspiring women to turn heads. For the right reasons. All opinions and creative direction are my own.*
Beauty has always been a fluid concept to me. I believe beauty can be found in nearly every situation. Maybe I just prefer to see the good, rather than the bad, but when it comes to my own beauty, I (like most women) can be far more critical.
I'd more readily compliment a woman I sit next to in a coffee shop than accept the same compliment from my husband or, worse yet, a stranger. The line between objectification and appreciation is a fine one, and at times, I'd rather not be "seen" or "appreciated" than risk being "too much".
I remember the first time I felt "beautiful".
I was in 4th grade. And a girl, (her name was Caitlin, and she was a grade older than me,) gave me a compliment. I don't remember what she said, or why she said it, but in that moment, I felt like I was "pretty". And I liked the feeling.
I grew up in a safe, loving, secure home. Both my parents told me I was smart, beautiful, kind. But, for some reason, it took the validation of someone else- a stranger, essentially- for me to internalize what my family had tried to instill in me (that I was enough. That I was beautiful).
Why is that?
Why do we, even as young girls, require the validation of someone else to confirm what we already know? That we are worthy. That we are enough. That we are imperfectly lovely.
It's something I'm keenly aware of, now, as the mother of two little girls. How can I prepare them for a culture that will try to make them feel "less than"? How can I give them security in their own unique, genuine beauty?
Of course, some things must be learned through life's unpredictable teaching, no matter how "instilled" it is in your heart. I can only hope that my girls appreciate raw, unedited, diverse beauty, in all its facets, as they grow up.
Beauty can be raw. Beauty can be "low maintenance". Beauty can change from day to day.
Normally, the phrase "turning heads," in my head, is objectifying. It's physical. It lacks depth.
But, much like beauty itself, women can turn heads for all of the right reasons. I choose to see the beauty in the elderly woman, who insists on doing things herself, even though accepting help would be faster. I see beauty in the toddler, who much to her mother's dismay, insists on asking the same elderly woman if she is one of Santa's elves because she is short. I choose to embrace my own beauty, even on days when I feel less than.
Beauty isn't merely in the eye of the beholder, it can be in the eye of the "beheld", too. A beautiful mind. A beautiful soul. Something as simple as a beautifully crafted piece of art.
All of these things, even to my eternally optimistic (and naive 4th grade) self, are beautiful.
About our sponsor: SAYA Designs is a beautiful (in all senses of the word) and sustainable brand selling hair pins crafted out of root wood, salvaged from plantations in Bali. True works of art, each piece is hand carved, sanded, stained, and naturally oiled to maintain it's quality and not damage hair of any length or type. True beauty, versatility, and craftsmanship melded together to create a product that is as good for the planet (my pin alone helped plant 6 new trees), as it is for hair.
Shop the Taro Hair Stick here.