The Importance of Healing Beauty Narratives
My 10 year old self
It was 1987 and I was exiting the bathroom at my elementary school deep in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, when my 3 best friends were coming in. I stopped to say hello, and the leader of our pack, and most popular girl in school, said “Nicole, you don’t match.” As she brushed past me, I remember looking down at my neon pink and green jams and t-shirt, in complete confusion. It was clear I had done something wrong, and I had no idea what that was. Up to that point, my 10 year old self was happy to have wardrobe autonomy from my parents. But I didn’t know there were rules about how I should look to stay in the tribe of girls I had belonged to. And nothing is worse to a 6th grader than to be ousted by the group.
This is the earliest place I can remember a distinct shift happening in how I made choices about my appearance. I adopted the story that in order to belong, I needed to ”match”. That experience in my elementary school bathroom imprinted a belief in me that followed me for many years. That belief caused a narrative or story to play out in my head every single day after that, when I choose the clothing I would put on. And while it doesn’t hold me hostage like it used to, it’s still there and still creeps up every now and again.
In our culture you don’t need your own elementary school bully to imprint a negative beauty narrative, because they’re everywhere. From advertising messages, to television, to passed down generational narratives and narratives that come from your culture. No matter your race, sex, gender identity, or socio-economic status you are not exempt. These narratives can cause violence, prejudice, and hatred that runs deep. Negative narratives are oppressive, they create dis-ease, and will limit you from reaching your potential.
The Road to Healing
The Embeautyment Method practice of Beauty Narratives will help you begin to release your internalized negative narratives and build more empowering stories about beauty. It is the foundation that Embeautyment is built on. This practice will wake you up to your innate beauty. And if you work with clients in the beauty industry it will help you empower them and even potentially help them heal their negative beauty narratives.
My narratives continue to be a work in progress, and I’m in acceptance that they may be that way until I die. There are good days and bad days and that’s ok. With years of they practice under my belt, I continue to love and appreciate myself more each day. I recognize my beauty isn’t dependent on anything other than the thinking that goes on in-between my ears, and that’s the only thing that needs shifting.