Beauty and the beholder.

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I’ve long struggled with body (and facial) image issues. I’ve always wished I looked like someone else. Anyone else really. I compare myself to other people ALL THE TIME. I analyse why they are so much prettier than me. I find myself staring at people in the street who have clothes that fit and flatter them. (On that note, when will someone make skinny jeans that fit me? Soon please?) I am envious of people who are naturally beautiful. Only in the last few years have I gained the confidence to *occasionally* go out of the house without make up on. Not too often mind. Wouldn’t want to scare the neighbours.
So imagine my dismay when I finally came to the realisation last week that I am not going to magically morph into a nymph-like beauty in time for the wedding. Worryingly, I think somewhere deep down I thought that I would.
That’s the only explanation I can find for the niggling feeling of disappointment over my hair and make-up trials, and even with my dress fittings.
I want to clarify out right that the dress itself is beautiful. Stunning. Everything I wanted. 
Katy who did the make-up? Super talented. No really. She came on my hen do and beautified every one of us, and I was floored by how wonderful she made my already drop dead stunning girls look. 
Hair – again – T.A.L.E.N.T.E.D. I’ve seen her work on other people. She does just the type of style I was looking for, and just…gets it.
Yet why was I not bubbling with excitement when looking in the mirror after each appointment? Why do I not *love* my dress? Why did I not feel beautiful after having my hair and make-up done? For a tiny second I had doubts. Had I chosen the wrong dress or the wrong people? 
And then it hit me. The reason I was disappointed was because it had not turned me into the picture of prettiness that I wanted to see. And you know why that is?
Because I still looked like me. 
I think deep down I’d been thinking that a good make up artist and hair dresser and a beautiful dress were going to somehow transform me into some one else. Someone who liked their nose. Who had cheek bones. Who didn’t have rubbish hair. And who had my ever-dreamed-of, hour glass shape.
I am here to tell you that they can’t do that. But then you probably already knew that because you’re all smart and cool and self confident. 
What they can do is enhance everything that you’ve already got. And I am SO up for some of that. And all the people that I’ve chosen to help me do that, I now know are the right people. They are not only  uber-talented, they are good people to have around, and that sounds like something I’d like for the morning of the wedding please.
It seems that the only person who can make me pretty is me. By thinking that I might actually be pretty, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able radiate some of that inner goodness on to the outside. 
I’ll let you know how that goes.
Fliss xx
 
Categories: Body Image, Wedding Planning
11 interesting thoughts on this

10 Comments

  1. Posted October 8, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    You're right beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You will look perfectly beautiful on your wedding day, you just need to believe it. Self confidence is one of those things I don't have a lot of and everytime I go for my dress fitting the lady tells me off for being so critical of myself.
    So actually as I write this I am kind of being a hypocrite because clearly I need to take some of my own advice on board too.
    Thing is all brides exude beauty and perfection on their wedding day because the love and happiness they feel shines very brightly and it is a sight to behold.
    We just need to believe xx

  2. Posted October 8, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I know exactly how you feel, Fliss. I've struggled with self-image issues for the whole of my life – namely that I was never going to be as slim as my friends, or a sexy brunette. (I've always wanted to be that way!)

    It's such a shame that women feel this way as there's a huge pressure on them to always look magazine perfect. On the wedding day, there's even more added pressure. You read all those magazines and glossies and conveniently forget that they've been airbrushed to within a death of themselves, and that they've had perfect lighting etc to help them through. Reality isn't that perfect – everyone has their flaws, and it's actually the flaws that makes people beautiful.

    Again, I'm being a hypocrite. On my big day, I wasn't freaking out about getting married, or about being tied down. I was freaking out about not looking perfect, or beautiful. I was worried my dress wasn't stunning enough, or that my make-up and hair weren't flawless. In fact, I'm still panicking now that I didn't look beautiful. Isn't that ridiculous?!

    I know without even seeing your dress that you will look absolutely stunning, Fliss. Every bride looks beautiful because you just glow with love and happiness (hyprocrite again!) – cheesy, but so true! Your husband will think you look more beautiful than he's ever seen you – you'll take his breath away, and that's a promise.

    Don't do what I did – just enjoy yourself, and embrace the way you look.

    x

  3. Anonymous
    Posted October 8, 2010 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    God, I think you have just given me one of those 'click' moments when you realise what you have been thinking/feeling but you couldn't before put your finger on what it was.
    I always felt a little deflated when I had my trials. Thinking that maybe I hadn't explained what I wanted properly or the ladies weren't as good as those that made up/styled the real brides on the blog etc. I guess really, like you, I was expecting some kind of magical transformation.
    But I am pleased to tell you that on our wedding day, I felt amazing. Everything just came together. Despite my major 'dress wobbles' and a mad rush to get ready in a hurry as we were moving far too leasurly in the morning. Something magical happened and I think & hope that I looked like an actual bride.
    Ahh, bliss.

  4. Posted October 9, 2010 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    sweet, fliss. i came to this realization as well. and i decided a little bit before the wedding that i am happiest when i can let all of those insecurities glow. i also relied heavily on the fact that brides are glowing and bursting with joy and that makes us beautiful. sure, i didn't feel drop dead gorgeous, but i felt like me and i felt special. i truly feel like the goodness radiates outward. sometimes it is mind over matter. the thing is to focus on what you do like. i like my eyes, so i tried my best to play that up. i like my tattoos so i chose a dress that showed off my favorite ones. and i'm 100% positive the people you see and think are beautiful have their own flaws and insecurities.

    beauty is all relative and we are always our most difficult critic.

    and as far as skinny jeans go. honey, i'm a size 12/14 and i wear jeggings from NY&Co.; they're not leggings and they feel like denim. i live in them. they're also less than 30USD.

  5. Posted October 9, 2010 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    @Angie

    This – "i also relied heavily on the fact that brides are glowing and bursting with joy and that makes us beautiful. sure, i didn't feel drop dead gorgeous, but i felt like me and i felt special." sums it up just perfectly for me!

  6. Anonymous
    Posted October 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Fliss – you are not alone!

    When I was preparing for my wedding, I did a trial two weeks before and cried. My skin wasn't how I thought it should look on a girl's wedding day. It just looked exactly the same as normal. In fact I thought it looked worse than normal. Im not a beauty artist but I know my own face and thought I would do the best job. I also planned to do my hair down, I wanted to look like me.

    I know it sounds ridiculous, but I still thought until that trial that a magic wedding fairy was going to transform me even though I had wanted to look like me. What was I on?! Especially as I was doing my own make up using products I already used and not doing anything different with my hair – out of choice. Earth to lucy!!

    Weddings do strange things to sane and intelligent women don't they?!

    Anyway, on the day, the make up went on like a dream and my hair looked fine. I have a photo from the wedding where I even, dare I say it, look glowing. (Then again I had just walked up a big hill to the church, so maybe it was down to that?)

    Either way, I can relate to what you are feeling and although nobody is going to change us for our wedding days, it is going to be a very real and joyful moment in your real life and why would you want to look or feel like anyone but yourself for that?

    Lucy xx

  7. Anna K
    Posted October 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Fliss, honestly, if I could give you one piece of advice from the saner world of post-wedding, it would be to try not to worry about this. I didn't have the best prep for my wedding in the morning because all i could think was "does my hair look bridal enough"? "why aren't I looking more beautiful???" "I still LOOK LIKE ME, where's the wedding fairy?" and that is so not my nature. I think half the battle is ignoring it all and going for "you, but more polished" on W-day. A bride with a big effing village-idiot grin on her face all day will trump a pouty nymph-like beauty any day of the week.

    Work on that radiating! I promise you you'll have a better time for it.

  8. Posted October 10, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Another person from the other side of the wedding day… you will glow and radiate the love and joy of saying 'I do' of being surrounded by love, laughter and friendship. On a superficial side do enjoy being able to splurge on make up and any other relaxing lovely things you may want to buy. Wearing them after the wedding is another way of prolonging the memories.

  9. Posted October 10, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    This is besides the point, but you're so beautiful Miss. So so lovely.
    And as the ever-wise MrsHunterDunn says-it's all in the glow. Whatever super-duper endorphins and happiness-beans there are inside of a couple on their wedding day…they create awesome pictures and an aura of spectacular joy.
    And on that superficial side-a womans wedding pictures are one of the greatest gifts she can ever receive…look forward to them and savour them!
    Be happy and comfortable my lovely (and lovelies) you have NO reason not to.

    x

  10. Posted October 11, 2010 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    What can I say?

    I feel exactly the same. I was hoping for something magical too. Unfortunately this is not going to happen, for me. The thought of the photographs makes me nauseated.

    However, as much as I am trying to fight it, with make up, a beautiful dress, etc. I can only be me and maybe that's not such a bad thing?

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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image by Lucy Stendall Photography

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