Thomas: Why don’t you feel it’s okay to be beautiful?
Me: Because of the acne and skin problems that make me feel -
Thomas: (laughing) You don’t have skin problems, you have entitlement problems.
Me: What! You have to explain that.
Thomas: You don’t feel entitled to be beautiful and powerful. So you use this (points to skin) as a way to hold back and we need to eliminate the fear of power that makes you feel like you need it (again, points to skin).
My conversations with Thomas have been shifting and changing the way I understand the world and how things work, especially in the realms of beauty and power. For so many years I never felt beautiful. I could always make myself look beautiful with good makeup and a nice outfit. But I never felt steady and confident in my own beauty that exudes from those who are truly confident in their own skin. So of course, because I never felt that, I was mesmerized by it.
When my skin started breaking out in 2012, a year after I left the fashion industry and got into wellness, I felt even farther away from beauty. I tried every diet, every cream, ever facial. I read every book on healing and wellness and followed every blog that promised me if I did XYZ I would once again see clear skin. I knew that it was showing up to teach me something about learning how to love myself but the reality was it just made me more depressed, insecure, and self-conscious to the point that I gave up. I stopped dressing up. I stopped caring about how I looked. I spent all my time and energy trying to figure out what was wrong with me, which just sent me deeper down the rabbit hole of feeling like there was actually something wrong with me.
Last year when I was dating The Designer, he showed me the look book of the collection and lo and behold, one of the models had acne. Yes, acne. No makeup. Nothing. He was so unapologetically confident that I was mesmerized by it. A few days later at the after party for the presentation, the model was there and I was even more blown away by his presence. The way he held himself, the way he walked tall and oozed sex appeal regardless of the fact he had marks on his face, the way that anyone who came up to chat with him, he met them with a massive smile and engaging conversation, the way he spent the entire night lit up dancing, laughing, and enjoying himself rather than hiding from the world.
In that moment I realized I had committed the Einstein sin: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I looked at my life, how I had been trying to fix the acne and while yes, it would get a clearer here and there, ultimately it would come back, again and again. I knew that I wasn’t healing something on a deeper level. I took inventory of everything I had been doing and started to think about everything I wanted to do that I felt I could only do when it would clear up: I started dressing up again, I started going out more, I started going to more rap concerts because oh my god they made me feel so alive, I began to look to women like Jeanne Damas and Giorgia Tordini who embodied this vision of femininity I wanted to step into: beauty, power, grace, and subtle sexuality, which comes from being comfortable in your skin.
Most importantly I began to look towards European women and how they held themselves in beauty. For some reason, many American woman are afraid to beautiful and not only are they afraid to be beautiful but they are afraid to outshine one another, as if one person’s beauty will dim another’s. When I look to women of French and Italian and Spanish cultures, these women are so unapologetically beautiful because they feel entitled to being beautiful. They feel allowed to be beautiful, as beauty had been passed down generation to generation. Within their coding they know that radiance is not something that can outshine one another because women by the nature of their femininity, which is strength, power, and beauty, every women can be, should be, and is allowed to be as absolutely beautiful, powerful, graceful, and elegant as they want to be.
It's time for us to drop the fears of being beautiful, to drop the insecurity of being absolutely stunning, to drop the fears of what people will think of us when we step into our power. Because, after all, we are absolutely entitled to it.