This beautiful Sunday morning, I woke up like any other. As the sun peeked through the blinds of my window, I blindly fumbled for my phone over on the window sill. Call me a millennial (I'm not), but I always check my phone for new messages, emails, etc. before I even get out of bed. It's kind of my routine wake-up procedure. Like clockwork, Kayla has to check for messages.
Photo by The 2654 Project
Today was a little different as I began scrolling through Facebook, something I try not to do because I'll easily get sucked into the memes, dog videos, and occasionally, a dark emotional rabbit hole. Today's rabbit hole was a beauty advertisement for a natural skincare company. Doesn't sound so bad, right? It caught my eye because there was a beautifully tan, fit girl frolicking on a beautiful beach with blue waters and my first thought was, "Man I'd like to be at a beach like that!" My second thought was, "Woah she's pretty." No big deal.
I was actually slightly interested in the product so I clicked on the comment section to see if anyone had any insight. What I saw instead brought me to tears and horrified me just minutes after waking up.
"She looks great now but just wait till she is older, wrinkled and has to see a dermatologist"
"Heard of Melanoma ??"
"The product seems ok I guess, I wouldn't use it. But perhaps in the future, you could use a model with a more realistic and natural body type? This is not the representation of an average nor HEALTHY body."
"Wow. Will it also give me that ZERO BMI look as well?"
"She needs to eat"
"Damn she needs to gain some weight!"
And the worst of all, that I just couldn't ignore:
And so on and so forth. My heart broke into a million pieces for this poor girl. The beauty company tried to kindly reply to some comments and explain that she was Maorian, hence her dark skin tone. (I swear I don't understand the idiocracy of skintone shaming- those who do it can't get it into their thick heads that skintones aren't just brown and white, that there's hundreds and hundreds of varying colors in between yet *gasp* we are all human!)
Next up, her weight. She had abs. She had healthy, strong looking arms. You could see a little of her breastplate but some bodies are naturally designed that way no matter how much the person weighs. So why were people tearing her down? I creeped on some of the nay-sayers. The women were often fuller-figured and some wore a lot of makeup.
Then it hit me, hard. Insecurity. When a woman feels insecure in her own skin, she is so quick to judge others aloud. We've all participated in this seamlessly harmless game. "Look what this girl is wearing!" we whisper to our friends, all the while thinking how you wish you looked like her. Giving a girl at a bar, whom you don't even know, a dirty look because she's smiling and laughing and flirting with some guys, dressed in a cute little mini dress and heels with long flowing hair and tan skin. She's confident and couldn't care less about your judgy eyes and it makes you angrier because you wish you had her confidence. We feel the need to tear others down when we ourselves feel less than good enough.
I started circa1910 because I loved making jewelry and loved the idea of the potential platform it could give me to speak out about self-confidence. I jumped full force into that mission when I saw how my mom's confidence was left crippled after a mastectomy for Stage 2 breast cancer. It broke my heart and allowed me to see the world through a different lens. I saw how plummeting confidence didn't just affect those with obvious physical inconveniences, but rather every single person I had ever known struggled in one way or another. I began picking up on the small comments I had never noticed before. Suddenly, "I need to lose 10 pounds" looked more like:
"I don't like my body."
"I notice thin women everywhere I go. I wonder if my husband wished I looked like that."
"Maybe I should do a liquid diet for a few days."
"I'm dreading summer because I don't want to wear a swimsuit."
circa1910 continues to spread love and body positivity because as women, the odds are against us. We buy expensive makeup to cover our skin instead of loving it. The media and clever marketing make us feel like we need this or that to be better. We buy nice clothing and namebrand everything because it makes us feel good, when in reality, you yourself are enough.
A little tough love: If you are not happy with your body, join the club. Most of us aren't. But don't you DARE be one of those people who makes someone feel bad about themselves so that you can feel better. That's not how it works. Be a good person, genuine, kind, intelligent, funny. Be YOU naturally, and confidence is sure to follow.