By Devina Maurice, April 11, 2019

Read time: 3 Mins

Reflection Image

I often catch myself looking at my reflection whenever I walk past shop windows.

I then proceed to internally curse myself. Am I a narcissist? Self-absorbed? Self-conscious? Am I just obsessed with myself?

There’s a fine line between caring about how you look and caring too much about how you look to others. It becomes all-consuming. For me, the idea of being obsessed with beauty automatically makes me think back to the hours I’ve spent pulling clothes on and off in frustration, straightening every last natural wave out of my hair, meticulously dabbing concealer over pimples. One last check in the mirror before I leave, as though anything has changed since I checked a few minutes before.

And as much as I hate to admit it, I wasn’t doing these things for myself. I would do them for the boy I liked, for my friends who I thought would like me better if I was pretty, or for the photos that would be taken and plastered all over Instagram. It was an endless, fruitless search for validation. Because at the end of the night, I’d get into pyjamas, whip my hair into a bird-nest bun, and douse my face in micellar water. And then I’d get into bed and go sleep, and nothing would have changed. Still the same person with the same insecurities and no more fulfilled than before I’d left to go out.

Sometimes I catch myself falling back into these old patterns. I think too much about whether people will like me for the way I look, when really, the people worth keeping in my life are the ones who have seen me in every state, whether that be fully done up or barely holding it together. In certain moments, I forget the means by which I should be measuring my value and instead become obsessed with outer beauty, with maintaining some sort of façade that I remain desperate to portray.

Beauty is a difficult concept. I’m not going to condemn myself, or others, for wanting to feel beautiful. It’s the methods we employ in order to feel beautiful that truly matter. Did spending $70 on foundation or eating celery for every meal make me feel beautiful? Sure, for short bursts of time, it did. But the empty wallet and stomach pains and sleepless nights caught up to me in the end. It’s not always easy for obsession to be a beautiful thing.

Is it okay to be obsessed with beauty? There is no definite answer. It really depends on what beauty is. If beauty is an orange sunset sky or a really catchy electric guitar riff or the sound a puppy makes when it yawns, then yes, I think it’s perfectly okay to be obsessed with beauty. In that case, it’s a beautiful thing to be obsessed with the beauty that surrounds us: in words, in people, in nature. I think I’d like to spend more time finding beauty in my surroundings to obsess over.

Take that, self-obsession!

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