Some days, society makes me feel like my worth is only skin deep. Women are supposed to be beautiful, perfectly manicured, flawless makeup and not a hair out of place. Men are supposed to be masculine, ruggedly well groomed and athletic. Rumour has it, If things don’t work out on a date its because one of the parties involved wasn’t attractive enough. I’ve gotten to a place where I’m not sure I want to pay the premium society places on ‘pretty enough.’

In spite my dislike of ‘pretty enough;’ (or ‘handsome enough’ for the gentlemen) the power of being considered ‘pretty enough’ is seductive. As a child, I never felt like one of the pretty ones, I was picked on by other kids, cheap shots at my exterior were familiar. Imagine my shock as a older teen to find out, though the girls threw rocks at my appearance, the boys thought I looked better than just a little Ok. The boys liked me in my torn up jeans, unique accessories, lack of make up, disdain for hair styling and even the atrocious cashiers uniform.

During college I modelled for a couple photographers, was featured in a newspaper ad or two and generally was considered pretty. Along the way, I developed a skin condition which made me self conscious. Since then, I generally have hidden behind the camera instead of in front of it. By the standards we allow the entertainment industry to set, I will never be pretty enough, nor have I ever been.

The most physically attractive people in the world are scrutinized and found lacking by the entertainment standards.  Where do those standards leave the 99% of the population? Never to be attractive enough by societies standards? Wondering if the reason there wasn’t a second date was because physically things didn’t stack up? Perhaps paying for expensive cosmetic proceedures and products? Maybe it’s time for standards to change.

Being attractive is more than skin deep, there is soul underneath the skin, perhaps its time we each analysed what that really means. When making ‘beauty’ decisions perhaps we should decide our ‘beauty’ regime based on how it makes us feel not how it makes us look. If we are using a product to cover up an insecurity, maybe we should deal with the insecurity first, then decide if we need the product. Our fashion and grooming should be secondary to our conscious decisions and what impact they have on the people of the world we live in.

Maybe a conscious decision means buying products which are environmentally friendly; or donating what would be spent on extravagant personal care products to charity for people who can’t afford food let alone soap. Perhaps it means committing to a healthier lifestyle and sharing it with others. Or maybe taking time to build others up instead of giving in to insecurity. Find a groove and instead of following the entertainment industry standard start building a new standard: one that is not based in product sales and advertising but in a shared goal of making the world a better place.

Beauty is not found in the externals. The soul is found underneath the skin and only the soul remains beautiful when the exterior fades. Though I have my moments where I try to be perfect on the outside (and that’s ok sometimes) I hope those are far fewer than the moments I’m busy making the world better. I may never be ‘pretty enough’ but the light in my soul is bright and beautiful, I will not let that light be dimmed for the sake of a standard I cannot achieve. My greatest wish is the people around me do the same.

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