Opposites attract; in more ways than one!
.“Beauty” can be somewhat of an obnoxious word sometimes. It’s overused in many things, underused in others, so where does the connection usually happen then? It can be this annoying word because people see billions of ways to “achieve” beauty, I think without realizing that most of the time, you’re already there! Growing up in Arkansas – for all the L.A people reading this, it’s is a small state about 1480 miles away – where beauty, health, and mindframes have just shifted! As a once self proclaimed southern girl myself, for nearly 25 years, it has been interesting to say the least, to peek inside how the “other side” lives since I’ve moved to Los Angeles… The standards for the beauty and health market between the two states is monumentally diverse!
The Healing Power of A Little Vitamin D
Not to be bias (okay maybe a little bit), but the perennial sunshine does yield great sun-kissed tans, awesome beach trips, beach wavy hair, and the perfect bronzed look. Pretty perfect for a night out. Here is where the “beauty standard’ can get a little tricky. Nobody is saying this is the perfect look, and that if you don’t achieve it, you’ll be looked at like gum on the sidewalk, but it’s hard to argue against it not feeling and looking beautiful! I do have to say this also, not all California girls are perfectly bronzed and blue eyed.. In fact, since moving here, I have come across ton more dark hair, sultry eyes, and natural skin. I’m definitely bias when I say, these women are beautiful! All of them!
You’re not alone!
I, just like the millions of girls, struggled tremendously with body shaming myself, insecurities, doubt that anybody would find me attractive. It felt easy to give up my fight to gain confidence. I had to look at who in my life truly mattered and do what was best for me. But it is very serious issues. The town that I grew up in Arkansas had tons of ‘overweight’ and unhealthy women and men. These were people who looked at health as something they could change when they get older. Maybe when it “effects them a little bit more” they would change. Ultimately, that leads to a whole culture of women who have “tried everything”, or are just plain tired of not seeing results, so they give up on investing time into fixing their health issues.
Something that I witnessed so very often where I grew up was the constant comparison to celebrity and media. Now am I naive enough to believe that same thing doesn’t go in in L.A? Hello, we’re talking about plastic surgery capitol. The media and celebrities are prevalent here. You don’t really compare yourself to somebody who is almost a neighbor, because it doesn’t feel as far fetched to achieve the body goals you have.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
I LOVE this quote, because it fits for like EVERY aspect in life, and makes you appreciate YOU! The comparison, especially of young girls, to health and beauty standards can be a dangerous line to cross. In fact, studies show that 80% of women say images of other women in the media make them feel insecure about their bodies. Even worse, 91% of women say they are unhappy with their bodies and will probably turn to overdieting. (Statisticbrain.com)
The thing I have most enjoyed witnessing about the differences in health and beauty standards between the two opposite coasts, is slowly but surely, they are being crossed and even influenced by the other. For instance in one hand, you have my southern home state of Arkansas, where most of your health and beauty standards are very old fashioned and established, and in the other hand, you have L.A, where there are hardly any standards to begin with. You can literally be, dress like, look like, even have your hair like however you please.
For me, coming to L.A opened my eyes! Not only to the spirit of people who embrace change, but to the uniqueness that you can represent within yourself. I do have to admit, I have felt my most beautiful self, after being here for 4 months. I started to take better care of me, for me. That doesn’t mean that trends are TOTALLY different between the two, it just meant for me, I didn’t have to fit in to a certain “look”. It also doesn’t mean I just went super “L.A” in all facets of my life, where I’m a born again vegetarian and live and sleep on the beach. But hey, it takes all kinds! Maybe it was just an individual feel, like a free-to-be-me type of culture!
Who Else Loves Traditions?
One beauty/health standard I think I will take with me, no matter where I go, is the idea of traditions. It’s hard to get out of them once you have them. I will tell you, southern women treat their beauty traditions like GOLD! To this day I still use things passed down to them from many generations. This doesn’t mean you should lie down on the bed with witch hazel soaked cotton balls on your eyelids to decrease puffiness… although, I’ve heard it works!!!!!! Certain beauty and health brands and practices that will stay tradition for a very long time! I strongly feel that there is no reason to have the age old fight of who wins most beautiful. I think you should represent health and beauty for yourself, however you see fit. But ironically enough, when you start to feel comfortable and good, your body will show it too. Even my skin started clearing up!! Hallelujah!!!!!!!!
For my health, mental included, moving to California has been one of the TOP 3 best decisions of my life. (Stay tuned in the future for the other 2). I’ve worked on my passion and realized so many of my buried dreams. I’ve developed so many new skills, and changed my hair – couldn’t help it! But in life, I feel like we navigate through so many turning points. We shouldn’t have to worry about the trivial things. Some of those being which side of the world holds more beautiful people, or the standard of beauty we are said to live up to. When you stop searching, you’ll find so much beauty was already in you. You’ll stop searching for ways your body should look, and start being damn proud of the things your body can do!!!
“Style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly, style is FOREVER.” – Ralph Lauren. My advice, for all women in all cities and states, go find your style and rock it! It can be life changing!