October 13, 2016

Women, Don’t Let your Age Determine your Beauty.

I recently came across a picture of myself from my senior year in high school—I had soft flowing hair, smooth skin, and a dreamer’s view of the world.

My 17-year-old self was beautiful, life had not touched me then. It hadn’t left its marks internally or externally. As much as I thought life was hard, I was an idiot, all teenagers are. My eyes were clear and pure, awaiting the adventures that I longed to find.

For most women, we are our own worst critics when it comes to our looks. Forever comparing ourselves to the airbrushed, photoshopped, and liposuctioned images around us on television and in magazines. We buy foundations, powders, liners, mascaras, lipsticks, bronzers, waist trainers, high heels, variations of body girdles to suck in and mold the less-than-perfect areas—all in an attempt to become the beautiful person we think we need to be. I’m the first to admit that my eyeliner makes me feel 10 times more beautiful with than I feel without. It’s a vanity I am not proud of but have accepted.

Tonight as I stood in front of my bathroom mirror after washing my face clear of the colors from the day, I compared myself now, at 36, to my 17-year-old self. It was just me in the mirror. All of me—naked and raw. I learned something truly monumental through it all. I am more beautiful now than I ever was at 17, and this is something all women, regardless of shape, size, age, or race should remember.

Our imperfections and uniqueness are what make us beautiful. I have a good 30 pounds on that young 17-year-old, but I am stronger now than I was back then. Then I had endurance because I was young, now I have endurance because I train hard. Laugh lines around my mouth show my life has been full of joy and laughter. Creases in my forehead show I cared or had concern for myself and for others.

Life caused me pain, worry, and stress, but my experiences were beautiful life lessons.

My uneven skin tone shows I have enjoyed times in the sun, water, or snow and ventured in the outdoors. My eyes are not as clear because of what they have seen or cried over through my life. Sadness and happiness have left their mark. My wider hips and thighs are from experiencing childbirth—twice. My scars show I have taken chances, conquered medical obstacles, won, and kept moving forward. My freckles, moles, and birthmarks are not imperfections, they make me unique.

We are not beautiful because of camera filters, lighting or because we are young; we are beautiful because we love 100 percent or not at all. We are beautiful because we can find the silver lining to anything—even if it is made out of duct tape and tin foil. We are beautiful because we are animal whisperers. We are beautiful because of our sense of humor. We are beautiful because we have a kind heart that will help anyone in need. We are beautiful because of our differences and our similarities.

Don’t let your age determine your beauty, find your beauty in your experiences and in being your true self.


Author: Jennifer Janoss

Image: Elephant Journal on Instagram

Editor: Katarina Tavčar

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