So one usual evening, I am sitting in front of the mirror, looking at myself, busy applying my mascara and flicking my hair as I comb through it. My dad walks past me, notices me there and then decides to come back into my room.
Dad: Did you read the news today?
Me: No, haven’t had the chance. What is in it? Any big breaking news?
Dad: No, just wondering if you are keeping up with what is happening around the world.
This leaves me a little confused because I don’t quite understand what he is trying to get at. Then my Dad being my Dad, throws this huge punch line at me, which kind of leaves me thinking for a long time. That kind of struck me so much that I was compelled to write on it. So here it is.
That evening my Dad gave me the biggest piece of advice – if you can call it an advice – that anyone has ever given me. This is what he said, “Don’t waste too much of your time working on your exterior. No matter how much you invest on it right now, your skin will eventually start to wrinkle, your hair will start growing grey at some point of your life and you cannot stop yourself from looking old as you get on in years, no matter how hard you try. But remember, one thing that will stay with you forever and grow finer with your age is your mind. Make time to learn something new every other day, travel, watch the news, read articles, keep feeding your mind the knowledge that it needs rather than feeding your body the ego that is bound to dwindle sooner or later. I know you are young and full of life and there is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice but just make sure that you are not wasting a lot of time prioritizing the wrong things.”
For an instant I tried to ward off because I felt like it was directly pointed at me and it did put me off a bit. Also, my dad has this habit of commenting and making fun of me every time I put some make up on or get dressed up and I felt like it was one of those attempts. As a defense to my Dad’s bantering, I have always used these magical words “This is trending Dad, you just don’t know about it.” However, this time it was different. I didn’t want to get back at him because what he said made so much sense and had an undeniable weight. Stream of questions started to float in my mind and I found myself wondering what does being beautiful actually mean to me?
I know this sounds too outright and harsh but let’s just face it, we all have been a little maneuvered and our notion of beauty a little distorted. We have somehow come to believe that beauty comes layered in a MAC foundation, shimmered by expensive eye shadow and covered in a designer wear. Our elegance is associated with branded shoes and bags. And yes of course, Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie is a must to feel good from within. Stand tall and high has literally translated to meaning you got to have that perfect height and perfect curves to go get it and BEAUTY is the perfection they display on magazine covers. We work hard on maintaining the right weight, depriving ourselves of a lot of goodness. Perfection could now almost directly translate to a perfectly contoured face with just the right bend and twisted at a perfect angle. No matter how hard we try to be comfortable in our skin, there is still something that tells us that we are not enough. Sometimes not tall enough, sometimes not fair enough and sometimes not skinny enough; we are scared to be different and sometimes too reluctant to be ourselves. There is such unreal standards set on beauty; so much that even Google has a very narrow idea of what beauty is about. Just try to Google the word ‘beauty’ and all you end up with is endless pictures of pretty faces with a lot of make up on.
But ‘beauty’ in itself is a very beautiful word and it would be totally unfair if anyone restricted its meaning to what is just visible to the naked eyes. This is for all those girls, who have ever, even if it is for a split second questioned their beauty. This is just a reminder that beauty is not about your face or your body. You are beautiful because of the stories that have made you who you are, the places that are etched in your heart and the charming smile the memories of this place brings to your face. Beauty is all the people you have met and memories that you have weaved. Beauty is who you are and the audacity with which you embrace yourself. So many of us are so lost in looking good on the outside, relentlessly trying to live up to the beauty standards this society has created for us, that we sometimes forget to keep in touch with our inner self. Take a moment to ask yourself, do you really feel beautiful from the inside?
For me, I have always felt the most beautiful when I do something I love the most. I feel that a different charm takes me over when I travel to new places, meet new people, hear different stories or just write and that for sure radiates on my outside. Every time I take off from one place and land to another, I feel the adrenaline rush in my veins and I bet that’s the moment I look my prettiest. My catch here is, we need to feel beautiful in the inside to look so on the outside. And as my Dad said, when we focus on enriching our experience and work on making ourselves a better person, an eternal beauty naturally comes to us. That being said, let us also not discount the fact that it is almost impossible for one to stay upbeat and happy all the time but it is important to understand that beauty does not necessarily come in happy and vibrant forms. Because if it did, no sad stories would ever be called beautiful and many old and rusted sculptures would never have made it to the list of the most beautiful places in the world. So sometimes your tears and vulnerabilities also make you the most beautiful person because they are real and unadulterated, they are pure and plain beautiful. The scars you have tells the tale of all the struggles you have seen and the person it has shaped you into. Nothing can beat a beautiful mind; a mind that has learnt to open itself up to new experiences, learnt to be compassionate and to find joy in smaller things. True they say “Beauty comes from within”