Sometimes in life, you have to get angry enough for things to change in your life and I’ve been angry a lot lately. Initially it was at myself but now the fury is directing outwards.
Always feeling like a square peg in a round hole (Which, as I know now, is not as unusual as it seems. A lot of people feel this way) Growing up in a mixed race family in different countries, in the 70s and 80s. Not many positive role models in the media. Dreaming of finding a place where I ‘belonged’ and where I would be accepted for just being me.
It’s only now, approaching my half century, realising that this magical place does not exist and thank god that I am different.
I look around and see all around me, people busting a gut, trying to mould themselves into what society considers perfect, more desirable, more successful, more beautiful. Some use these efforts to make themselves somehow superior to others. I have been guilty of all that myself, I’m ashamed to say. Now, honestly, I am so tired of it.
They are, however, not the real demons. The real baddies of this tale are the companies that make billions upon billions out of us with our fashion, hair, cosmetics, toiletries, magazines, diets, fitness, etc. They sell us a picture of what perfection should be, tell us repeatedly that we are definitely not up to scratch but the product that they are selling will achieve it.
To think, I have spent so many decades trying to fit into an artificial mould, ending up with very low self confidence. When in reality, just as I am, with no makeup and crazy curly hair, I look half decent, kind of average and, I like to think, a pretty alright human being. Despite being average, my life is still very special. So I haven’t done too badly for someone who is a square peg.
I find it funny that to be an ‘individual’ you need this product that everyone else is buying. Following the same trends and changing your wardrobe every season. What a strain on the environment and your pocket. Make up and toiletries that are loaded with toxins that block pores and nasties that end up in your bloodstream. But your looking great eh?!
Look out of the window at your average high street. I bet you will not see one example of ‘perfection’. Maybe one that comes close but look again, something will always be off. That thing will be the one thing that is truly us, part of our character and it should be celebrated not hidden. People are made up of millions of differences, does it make sense that we should all look like one ideal?
I understand that the pursuit of perfection is probably a caveman instinct. The more symmetrical you are, the more perfect your genes are supposed to be and you have the capability to produce super babies with strong genes (Please do not quote me on that) I am not sure if that rule still applies today when you don’t have to leave the weakest behind the group in the search for the next meal.
Did you know that the average woman in the UK spends £140,000 on their hair and cosmetics in their lifetime (Bionsen). Someone’s winning somewhere and it’s not the average woman. You would have to ask, would that same woman have been just as happy if she loved herself as herself more and spent two thirds less on the same stuff?
We take the bait everytime we open up a new magazine or watch the Kardashians. We know that the images they are selling are unrealistic but to attain this will give us satisfaction and success, even if it goes against your instinct of what is really attractive and healthy for us.
In 2011 a British survey showed that 12% of the participants would give up on average, 2-10 years of their lives to be their ideal weight. This breaks my heart. This precious life, with friends, family, love and laughter, given away if they could fit into the ‘perfect dress size’
29% of men think about their appearance 5 times a day on average.
A study at the Newcastle University Institute of Neuroscience shows that even how much television we watch has a huge effect on what we think attractiveness is and what our body shape should be. The more television a person watches, the thinner they want their potential partner to be.
Studies have shown also that the average BMI (Body Mass Index) of models has gone down over the decades but the BMI of ordinary women has gone up. Children are growing taller and bigger than the generations before due to different nutrition and environment etc and yet our role models are getting smaller?!? I am sure you can find a pill to solve that one and whoever is making it is making a huge profit from it.
I am not saying that you shouldn’t make the best of yourselves. Of course you want to look your best for that date, job interview, and life in general, or want to get fitter to live a better quality of life. Don’t try to mould yourself into what society is telling you is perfection. Don’t let that makeup mask who you really are and hide the imperfections that truly make you individual. It will only make you unhappy, trying to be something that you are not. Believe me someone is out there that will want to make a profit out of your unhappiness.
Be conscious about the impact of what you are buying is on the environment and do your research. What exactly are the ingredients? Are they good for you? Do they harm other living things to make them? There are so many ethical companies that are doing the right thing. Recycling clothes and materials, non toxic ingredients, that do not harm animals or people or create waste. So make a stand with your money and choose them instead.
A vow to myself. From now on I have spent the last pound, spent the last thought and the last amount of effort trying to be something I am not. I want to invest in my happiness now and start accentuating the best of me, faults and all.
Now that’s all out, I’m going for a lie down. Its your turn now Buttoneers. Let me know what you’re thinking below.