It’s Time to Feel Beautiful Again

Fashion and beauty were once very important to me. My personal style was a significant part of my personal identity. It thrilled me when my mother referred to me as a fashionista or my friends called me for shopping advice. Once upon a time, I even had a shopping blog.

And then I got rid of all my shoes.

At the time, I saw my shoe shedding as proof of my enlightenment or evolution or something.

“It’s trite and silly and foolish, but having a perfect pair of red heels to ironically pair with jeans and a black t-shirt made me feel bold and strong.  Beautiful.  Having an impressive shoe collection has always been a distinguishable part of who I am.

Who I was.

Now I’m a girl who wants to be free of the burden of a closet full of shoes, purses and clothes.  Now I’m a girl who wants to be able to travel lightly and far.  Now I’m a girl who saves her money for doing rather than possessing and holds on only to what’s most precious.

Now I’m a girl who bought a pair of Crocs because they’re practical.”

I moved into the RV with a small wardrobe and a conviction that how I looked was irrelevant to who I was.

Within a couple of weeks, I stopped wearing makeup. What was the point when the only people who would see me were my husband, my kids and a bunch of strangers in a campground? After a few months, I decided to chop off my hair; I was going to save so much time and money. Then I had my hair dyed a color I immediately hated; I’ve been letting it just “grow out” because it’s “just hair” and I have better things to spend my money on.

And then we stopped traveling and started spending more time with familiar people. We went back to Florida and I was overcome by my beautiful friend Courtney and how lost I felt standing next to her in the mall. It wasn’t so much that I felt unattractive as I felt muddled and unsure of myself.

I tried not to think about it.

I told myself that vanity was a sign of screwed up priorities.

We moved to Pittsburgh and I began the business of making a home. I remembered how much happiness beauty had once brought me. I loosened my grip a little on the idea of Minimalism.

I’m ready to admit that I miss feeling beautiful.

I miss using fashion as a form of self expression, but I have since cultivated many means of expression. It’s the beauty that I miss.

It’s not that I spend my days feeling ugly or unattractive. Mostly, I just don’t think about how I look, and when I do I am overwhelmed with conflicting emotions about how I should feel and how I think I do feel. I’ve forgotten – and don’t really want to remember – how to throw myself into creating a beautiful exterior. I’ve been overrun by the notions of practical, utility and sparse.

Living without a focus on external beauty has helped me to break the connection between image and self worth. My weight doesn’t impact my mood and the clarity of my skin is not a measure of my value as a person. I am grateful for this separation of soul and surface.

And I’m ready to move on.

It’s time to learn how to embrace both my inner and outer beauty and stop living in fear that one will diminish the other.

It’s time to feel beautiful again.

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  1. Megan says:

    This reshifting of your perspective will serve you well later, when your looks begin to change. It’s something I’ve had to adjust to – and really hadn’t expected for some reason. Denial?
    Megan’s most recent post: 25 Things I Miss

  2. i just don’t know how to reply to this. party because i am blown away that you don’t easily see that you are beautiful. (i see it so clearly every time i look at you. but to me it isn’t the clothes you wear that make you beautiful, it is the smile and intelligence in your eyes; it is the laughter that is quick to escape and wonderfully loudly take over a room.) and party because i really don’t get the minimalism thing. (we all know i am one box away from being a hoarder so the concept is foreign to me, but also because i know how much you enjoyed fashion and girlie type things. i remember your joy at finding flat boots to walk around nyc and couldn’t grasp how you were selling them for like five bucks at a garage sale when they were comfortable, cute, AND made you smile.)

    so yeah…i support you in whatever you want to do and however you want to live your life, even if i don’t get it. and you are so very beautiful. even if you are drunk with a camera over your head while in a bathroom…that beauty comes from within. don’t be afraid of it.
    hello haha narf’s most recent post: Adventure in Tahn

  3. I really like this. It’s easy not to think about it, but it feels good to look good. And there is nothing wrong with that.
    Sherry Carr-Smith’s most recent post: Pinned and Done: Andes Mint Cupcakes

  4. Carly says:

    Awesomeness, right there! I love that photo too :)

    I always feel guilty about it in a way, but I think it’s nice to let yourself enjoy your appearance. I mean, I just spent the first half of the year growing out my leg and armpit hair, just to see what I look like in my natural state. It was unexpectedly enlightening, and now I’m happy to wax that ish to oblivion for the rest of my life. ;D
    Carly’s most recent post: Music, these days.

  5. Darla says:

    Ok good, I was so afraid to ask you this – (because it’s all about me you know) – now that we’re discussing hair again, do you still use Aveda Be Curly?

  6. Renae says:

    Is it wrong that my first thought as I read this was, “Ooooh. Yes. I need red heels now.”

    My heels with jeans, many years ago, were pink. I loved them. I think I’ve matured into red though.
    Renae’s most recent post: The ghost from room 107.

  7. Liz says:

    I bought a scarf for the first time last week — and it wasn’t a winter scarf. It’s completely changed how I feel about putting together outfits.

    I don’t think expressing yourself aesthetically cheapens the morals you have. There’s a difference between confusing the two and owning a good balance. I think you’ve learned a lot in the last year and have grown a lot, so like you said, you’re ready to rock that balance.

    Be fierce, in both your self and your style.
    Liz’s most recent post: Why You Should Edit Your Own Work

  8. Crystal says:

    Gosh did this post hit home for me. Nine months ago, when my baby girl was born, I lost some of me. I no longer get dressed up. I hardly have time to take a shower. Never do my hair. I get a little sad when we are out and I see other women completely made up. Then I look down at the little package in my arms and say, “Screw it.” It’s her time to shine. There will be time for me to recapture some of the things I used to do when she is a bit older. :)
    Crystal’s most recent post: And the world’s largest penis award goes to?

  9. I so relate to this Miss Britt! I’ve been embracing the beauty side to me lately.

    I never put focus on it and I understand what you mean when you say “It’s time to learn how to embrace both my inner and outer beauty and stop living in fear that one will diminish the other.”
    I think we have to embrace all parts to us as being important.
    Caz Makepeace’s most recent post: Top 5 Wildlife Photos on Pinterest

  10. vicki says:

    You are a knockout. It’s your inner strength that makes you beautiful Britt. Seriously, I admire you so much. Your trials, your honesty, your willingness to share your stories good and bad. you are beautiful and deserve to feel that way.

  11. Naomi says:

    Yep. I am with you on this one … except I’m on the flip side of where you are (I think?) … I’ve finally figured out my curls (thanks to Deva Curl) and it is no longer a struggle to have THAT part of my outward appearance tamed. Strange though because since I get to reinvent myself in new places, I am moving away from my skirts/dresses and jewelry everyday (Delhi style) to shorts and tanks (no jewelry) (Singapore style). Interesting.
    Naomi’s most recent post: Box 53b

  12. Faiqa says:

    The idea that there’s a strong connection between what you are inside and what you are outside is an old one. I’m excited for you as you navigate the balance of it.
    Faiqa’s most recent post: I’ve Been Writing. Just Not Here.

  13. You’re a beauty and we all know it. But there is something to be said for feeling beautiful on the outside. Showing the world what we know is inside of us through physical beauty. On my worst days, the days I want to cry at the thought of getting up to go to work, I try extra hard to look good. Eventually my attitude catches up to what I’ve put on my face, hair, and body. It makes a difference. That said….you are truly beautiful. Fashionista or not!
    Carrie Monroe O’Keefe’s most recent post: Fool. Me. Twice. Shame. On. Me.

  14. I know I’ve gone through the “who’s going to see me” attitude when I don’t care what I’m wearing or even brush my hair! Luckily it swings back toward me taking better care of me, like it did with you. Maybe we can’t appreciate the the taking good care unless we have the who cares attitude at times? Thanks for helping me sort through this!

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