Light Bright Beauty

This post has been eating at me to be written for some time now, but it wasn't until my recent travels to Nigeria, that the overwhelming urge became unbearable. I bumped into an old friend, and she was unrecognisable. In place of her beautiful ebony skin was this patchy caramel mess. I was stunned! Here was a young girl I had once idolised for her courage and confidence, and instead, before me stood a woman who was unsure of who she was and clearly still fighting beauty battles of esteem.
Dress : BIY (Ankara Tie-Dye) | Belt : Thrifted (London)
I am no angel. There are still days that I wake up pining after the curvaceous hourglass figures of friends or my feed on social media, but the days of wanting to alter it drastically are long gone. There's no trick. No two people are the same, and the need to be will only leave you discontent with your reflection. It aint magic. You just have to learn to accept the skin you're in & work with what you've got. Following the aftermath of a prominent youtuber/vlogger undergoing cosmetic surgery, I began to question why women (most especially) are still struggling to accept the skin they're in, well past their 20's.
Liz Earle 'Botanical Beauty' Event at John Lewis' Rooftop Garden
As I walked to my Aunt's house in Lagos, I was approached by an independent beauty vendor and urged to come into her store. Based on the area, I felt safe to enter & see what she was droning on about (plus, she had addressed me as "beautiful", so it was the least I could do, as I still struggle to respond to compliments). This lady quickly reached for her "top selling product" on her shelf, which she assured me was all I needed now to tip the scale from beautiful to...wait...whats more than beautiful? You see, she had faltered there and then, and I finally got the answer I had been looking for; our plight for beauty is endless! I have touched on this a few times before, shedding light on the trend-like nature of beauty. So there I stood, with jar of skin-lightening cream in my hand, sure that society had lost the plot. What would possess me to damage my skin for the sake of contemporary beauty?
Burt's Bee's 'Bee Natural' Event in Seven Dials, Covent Garden
Caudalie Event in Seven Dials, Covent Garden
And here I am again, in the present, amidst the drama surrounding cosmetic surgery, struggling to understand the means and ends of feminine beauty. Rooted in the words of this youtubers' stans is a clear acknowledgment that decisions to alter one's image should be autonomous & private. Yet, if it were a friend or family, one would no doubt question the lengths and motives behind such a decision. What makes a boob job ok, but the decision to alter one's skin tone still socially unacceptable?
I remember waking up and dreading it. I remember not wanting to look at the mirror. I remember not liking what I saw. I remember praying, wishing, hoping...for change. And then, one day, I woke up content. Beautiful.