If we dig a little bit into American history only about a century ago, you will find that beauty was perceived quite differently. More unrefined. Makes me think of nature in a sense, because when dealing with oils, unrefined is a key factor in the extraction process, communicating to us as the consumers that it’s in the purest state possible…unaltered.
So what changed? What happened over the last hundred years that altered our perspective?
About a month ago I found myself intrigued by a podcast that portrayed the tragic story of our first American beauty icon. I am fascinated by all things related, as it has been my area of expertise for over a decade and is an industry in constant motion. I always need to be current, educated, and open to find new ways to provide for my clients and evolve the Elyse Marie brand.
The feeling I had after listening to this particular podcast was something far beyond informative. It triggered a profound resonation within me to reflect on the topic.
I started with my husband. I asked what he thought of the first beauty icon in America. He replied in the same way as I did when I first googled the name Audrey Munson. She didn’t seem to be anything special. I then shared her story with my clients, curious to know what beauty was in their eyes, and in the eyes of their daughters, sisters, mothers.
Audrey Munson, Americas first super model still lives today spread out amongst the sculptures that shape many of our cities. She was first recognized by a photographer while she was window shopping on 5th Avenue in New York City with her mother. Many sculptors and artists during this time had named her “The most perfectly formed woman in the world”. She is not by any means the modern image of a perfect feminine form. She was though in fact a tangible beauty. She had curves, wavy wild hair, and prominent features. You may now find yourself googling her name only to find yourself saying, wait this is what ICONIC BEAUTY looked like?
I will honestly admit my first reaction was similar.
It made me sad to think that I could judge another woman who clearly had something magical and charismatic during those years.
Then I started to think about the modern pressures of adolescent girls, women in their 20s etc. who are surrounded by social media imagery and the pressures of their peers. So many seem to suffer within their insecurities, anxieties, and depressions. It made me think of comparisons I found myself in younger years doing. I wish I had dark shiny hair, or longer legs, maybe a less pointy chin. All things I laugh at now because I have fully embraced myself. Not that I don’t care about my image, I openly do in fact. But my image of beauty is far deeper than the surface of my vessel. It’s about portraying my authentic truth with no filter. When my patience is low and I scold my 2 year old, when I don’t believe I deserve the life I have built, when I criticize my intelligence because I’m a terrible speller, or when I judge my body because I’m out of shape. These are all things that do not reflect my authenticity. They are actually things that lower my vibration and energy all together. I get into these emotions in my brain and literally talk myself off the ledge. “Elyse, this is not you. This is your ego trying to take over and either you let it or you say F*** off.” How I do that?
I give myself TIME alone when I can. I get real with myself. Where is this really coming from, and is it a place of authenticity? Then I get proactive. I do a guided meditation with insight timer app. I listen to a really inspiring podcast (Oprah’s super soul conversations usually puts things into perspective real quick!) Perspective is always key. Clarity. Truth.
Then I speak authentic truth to other women. I share positivity! Whether it’s a client, a friend, family, or a stranger, my objective is always to uplift. It took me years to get to a place of peace and by no means did I accomplish this goal without asking for HELP, without listening to advice, without being open to go against the grain of what we are told we need to be. I let my soul free and now my greatest gift is helping others do the same.
So F*** YOU to anything and anyone who tells you that you are not pretty enough, smart enough, strong enough, thin enough, or wise enough to accomplish whatever it is your heart desires.
I realized after listening to that podcast that it resonated with me because it was not just some story about some woman of the past. It was the marking of the beginning of an era that forced women to look at themselves in judgment for all that they are not, rather than in awe for all they are.