Alright so I thought I could start by acknowledging the fact that i have revamped my blog with a new name. I wanted something that was tailored, easy to remember and something that would compliment my content and the vibes going on in this space. So after brainstorming for a while I came up with ‘owls and olive branches’ which sounds random and a little odd, granted. But my Ancient Greek mythology honeys will know that Athena, Greek goddess of war and wisdom primarily (no pressure there Mum thanks) had two symbols, often depicted as an owl and an olive branch. The main symbol being the owl, a guardian of Acropolis and one which represented wisdom, knowledge and perspicacity. Legend has it that the owl sat on Athena’s blind side, enabling her to see the whole truth as opposed to only half truth, as well as giving her sight into the darkness. Pretty cool ay. The second symbol is the olive branch, representing the olive tree or ‘tree of wisdom’ as a gift from the gods to the people and as a sign of peace and serenity. Anyway I’m off on a tangent so i’ll end the Greek mythology lecture there. But if you were curious about the name change well now you know!
So I’m just streaming thoughts and ideas of what it means to be this thing, to be this social, theoretical construct that we as humans have created ourselves. What IS beauty?? Well the short answer, in the unlikely case that you didn’t know.. is that there’s no definitive answer. Therefore we can only ever really agree that beauty is synonymous, in the sense that it is subjective, that it is confidence, self-love and empathy towards others?
One of the major things that I’ve learnt on my personal journey through this endlessss cycle of unrealistic and preposterous expectations of beauty is that really, no one gives a shit about what you look like. And what a freeing discovery this was. And the same applies for what you’re wearing. No one cares. Honestly. Everyone is far too busy and far too wrapped up in their own lives to care for any longer than a couple of seconds. So just express yourself. COME AS YOU ARE. Always.
Would i be right in thinking that most of us, myself included, have wasted a considerable amount of time wishing to look a little bit less like this and a little bit more like that? Tricking ourselves into believing that if we achieve a certain look or a certain weight, we’ll somehow miraculously feel beautiful and great about ourselves. False. The biggest injustice we serve ourselves is putting our happiness into external and/or egotistical things. And that’s definitely something that I’m still working on. Seems like a life time ago now but I remember all the pretty girls at school, typically with light coloured eyes and fair hair and I remember how much I wished that I could’ve looked the same. To look beautiful or at least what was considered as beautiful. Instead I foolishly believed that it was me who was flawed because my features were dark, my skin a couple of shades darker and of course not forgetting my hairy arms and top lip #oliveskinprobs oh and “fish lips” a personal favourite nickname of mine, ha! But on a more serious note how worrying is it that even a child is able to carry the burden of the beauty industry. An industry built on the foundations of.. well.. nothing? Nothing but superficial, closed mindedness?? Looking back now I’m so mad at myself for entertaining, even for a split second, the thought that i was less-than because of my physical appearance. Fuck. Shouldn’t we be taught to celebrate our differences instead of how to pass judgment on ourselves or others for reasons way out of our control? Who is anybody to determine what beauty looks like, including you and I! It’s MADNESS.
Over the past few centuries beauty has been defined not just by health, youth and symmetry (which we’re biologically programmed to admire) but also by tall, slender figures, femininity and white skin. But our appearance is a case of a genetic lottery, so isn’t that the most ludicrous thing you’ve ever heard? And I’m sure every person reading this, and every other person on the face of this earth will agree with me when I say that my heart genuinely breaks for the beautiful POC who’ve been exposed to the relentless and disturbing reality of our so called ‘beauty’ standards in ways we can’t even begin to fathom.
Choosing to love and accept myself has been the best investment I’ve made in my life so far. I say choosing because you cannot wake up in a negative head space about yourself or your body and go on to have a great day. It’s an equation that doesn’t add up. So the choice is yours. Choosing to do so has not only allowed me to embrace my ethnic background and dark features (which I now love sooo much) but it has made me prioritise qualities such as integrity, kindness and honesty over boring aesthetically pleasing ones in every single person that I meet. I now also find the most beauty in things likely to be considered as odd or imperfect, contrary to research regarding the psychology of attraction. This entire ideology of perfection and imperfection is so frustratingly unnecessary. Imagine a world without diversity? I doubt it’s one that either of us would want to live in. We should all be free to look and express ourselves in whatever way we see fit. And if that means body art/modifications, surgical or non-surgical procedures then so be it! Let me reiterate the fact that I am ALL for people looking/feeling confident in their own skin and living their best fucking lives. And in the same respect.. I am OBSESSED with bomb ass, electric people who stick it to the media and the beauty standards of the 21st century. Ahh. In my eyes, confidence is beauty in its purest form. Confidence to be categorically and unapologetically you. Whatever tf that might look like.
Model by FENTY beauty
But of course beauty isn’t all appearances. In fact the external side of beauty is merely a drop in the ocean in terms of what makes someone a beautiful person. Speaking as a woman, and one which has looked to other women for guidance, advice and other motherly traits perhaps in the absence of my own, I can say with confidence that I have never felt more beautiful, more powerful or more capable of doing anything than I have following an inspiring conversation with another woman. And I wholeheartedly say that without any kind of gender prejudice or discrimination, just my experiences. That to me IS beauty. That is the answer that pops into my head first when asked the question of what it means to be beautiful. Beautiful people empowering one another! Building each other up instead of tearing each other down. Genuine happiness for others successes. Conversations that make you feel as if the world is at your feet, because it literally is. I don’t know, maybe the reason I like to write out my thoughts in these blog posts is because they are something that I would love to have read at a different stage in my life. The same concept just a different perspective. And if I can broaden someone’s idea of beauty, or boost someone’s confidence about their own even just a smidge, then it’s definitely worth my while!