I’ve shared this in my IG stories twice now and realized I should put it here in a blog post because I it’s something that is that important! When I read Beyond Beautiful by Anuschka Rees last year, I thought I was already very self- aware about this BUT reading this still absolutely blew my mind.
This book is a must-read; for women, for moms especially ones who are raising girls and for everyone really because it affects us all at the end of the day. I’ve mentioned this before how the way we were raised by my mama, we didn’t learn to place too much importance on the way we looked but despite that I still absorbed messages about how a certain body type was more desirable, how body hair was shameful and so much more.. Becoming a photographer and taking photos of moms opened my eye even more to how critical we as women are of the way that we look and it honestly makes me sad. We can change this. We can love ourselves the way we are. We can stop making this such a sad place for women to be and the first step is awareness.
I’m just sharing a few things from the book that really make you think but I’d love for you to buy/borrow a copy if you can and read it yourself because there is so so much more in there. I really wanted to share this for those who might not be able to get their hands on their book.
Linking the book under this post and also sharing 3 personal takeaways that have stayed with me.
Anuschka Rees talks about beauty standards (even the fascination with fairness in South Asia), cosmetic surgery, health/fitness industry, clothing, makeup and more. Being aware of what’s going on, and questioning things we have always considered normal is vital in feeling more comfortable in our bodies and skins.
I love that she leaves us with actionable items, little questions we can ask ourselves, changes we can make that can make a huge difference in loving ourselves and that can change help change the narrative.
That last screenshot (scroll down for it) on asking ourselves where we are coming from is my favorite and what has stayed with me the most!
+ 3 personal takeaways +
I mentioned how I considered myself on this journey of awareness and self acceptance already but the book still helped me look at a few things differently.
1: You might know that I love having white nailcolor on. And I am going to admit something ; I don’t like how my hands look without nail polish, I think they don’t look feminine enough .. and I would say this aloud too how I just HAVE to always have nailcolor on (somehow I’m okay with chipped nails but having bare nails is something I really struggle with) but after reading this book I am pushing myself to be okay with having no nailcolor on (even come on my IG stories without it – not easy for me) I even tried to go a whole week without it last month and after a few days I actually felt myself accepting myself more.
2: I’m also one of those people who loves her makeup. I don’t put on a lot and am a proud 10-min makeup person. BUT I need to have my makeup on to feel put together.. I love the way putting on a foundation makes me feel, I love my brow filler and especially having a bright lipstick on. BUT now every once in a while, I’ll push myself to go without it for a day and focus on loving and accepting myself the way I am. I’ll skip the foundation and be happy with just a bright lipstick or sometimes even skip the lipstick and just go about with a moisturizer.
3: This was happening already but reading this has made me obsess less about eyebrows and staying on top of threading all the time, and even body hair in general. Hygiene is something that is important to me but the shame about body hair in our desi culture is something I have definitely become more aware about.
I have to say I’m so far from feeling comfortable in my skin without my nailcolor, without a little bit of makeup or when my face, arms or legs aren’t completely hair-free but just that I’m learning I’m still whole and me without/with these things too.