There I was. Going about my day, taking one kid to camp and the other to his therapy appointments and I stopped for a minute to check my email. And there it was, right in the subject line:
"You're beautiful underneath it all."
The email is from Lolë, a Canadian lifestyle company that I quite like and whose products I buy regularly (and therefore why I get their emails). It is an ad for their new "delicate, feminine underpinnings" line of products and I assume they are trying to say that what you wear under your clothes can be beautiful too. The problem is, that is NOT really what they are saying.
They are saying that *YOU* are beautiful underneath *IT* all. And maybe I am overly sensitive to this kind of thinking/speaking/messaging, but then again, maybe I am not.
"There is a skinny person in there just trying to get out."
"You've got lots of muscle tone, it's just covered up with that extra layer."
"Once you lose X amount of weight, you'll look and feel so much better."
These are all things that have been said to me in my lifetime.
Women are bombarded every day with these kinds of messages and with clothing options to cover our flaws, that use "slimming" technologies and push up or pull in various parts of our bodies to fit the styles and trends of the times and the ever present single layer version of beauty. We have to worry about muffin top, back fat, waving underarms, and the dreaded thigh gap. We are told over and over to love ourselves, no matter what size, shape, or colour we are, and then companies fill magazines and commercials and store shelves full of products and messages that are meant to help us change all of those things.
Love your skin, but here, make sure you remove all that hair, cover up/lighten those spots, and please! do something to smooth over all that cellulite.
Love your face, but don't let it get all wrinkly and *gasp* OLD!
Love your hair, but maybe it should be shinier, fuller, longer, and have more volume.
Love your body and go on and wear that bathing suit, but make sure it pushes up the girls, slims out your belly and here's a great video with 77 ways to use a sarong cover up, because really, no one wants to actually see that.
But don't worry, because you are beautiful underneath it all.
And we buy it. I buy it. I wear clothes strategically to cover my "flaws". I have a drawer FULL of anti-aging products to reduce fine lines, not so fine ones and everything in-between. And I have a love/hate... mostly hate relationship with my bathroom scale and what I think it tells me about me and my body.
I love this line from John Legend's song, All of Me.
'Cause all of me Loves all of you Love your curves and all your edges All your perfect imperfections
I realize that this is a love song about and sung to someone else, but sometimes when I am alone in my car and it comes on the radio, I'll turn up the volume really loud and sing it TO MYSELF. To remind myself that I have curves and edges and a lot of perfect imperfections. And that I love ALL of me. That all of me, JUST AS I AM, is worthy of love and happiness and that I am beautiful.
Not underneath anything.
Not despite anything.
Not when I am tucked in, slimmed down, covered up and/or made up.
And the same goes for you too.
You are beautiful. FULL STOP.