At the young age of ten, my mom and dad first told me that beauty is more than skin deep. It was in the fifth grade that bullying baked me to a near crisp. A large group of girls (and boys) that were once my “friends” decided that I was no longer worthy of liking (kids can be so mean). Among the many things they said to me was, “You are ugly.”
So it was at a young age that I learned that true beauty comes from within. And as I am a “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” kinda gal, finding that inner beauty within myself, everyone and everywhere around me became a mission.
A few years after that defining experience in elementary school, I landed myself a summer job as a cook in a local healthfood store. My love for the culinary arts began at three years old. My parents bought me a wooden play kitchen and when my grandmother visited, we played restaurant — each time I meticulously prepared her a tuna sandwich on white bread with a pickle while she patiently waited. Needless to say, doing something I loved seemed to be a good way to earn my keep but little did I know what was in store.
Voraciously preparing food, tasting food, reading about food and examining food products, my diet quickly shifted from that of a typical 1980’s teenager to one of a stereotypical1960’s hippie. Eating a whole foods diet rich in grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds equalled “feel good, look good”. And eating junk (I still had my moments as I wasn’t yet a full convert) meant, “feel awful, look awful”.
Lucky for me, I got it at a very young age (though hard lessons learned). Sadly, too many people don’t get it. We are a nation obsessed with outer beauty. Whether skincare, bodycare, haircare or make-up—too many people believe that if you look good you feel good! There are even beauty drinks on the market nowadays—drink this and you will feel and look gorgeous! But the jury is still out here. How about leaving inner beauty to real food (and your own self discovery) and outer beauty to both food and the conscious selection of high quality skincare products (that actually use edibles for ingredients)?
I surely don’t have it all figured out. But one thing I am sure of is that true beauty shines from the inside out.
I never regained friendship with those girls and boys. Except for one who very secretly stood by my side through it all (and to this day she is not only my BFF but also the Godmother and guardian to my kids). Looking back, it was this experience that shaped my desire and motivation to be kind and non-judgemental (though highly opinionated)! And my quest to take care of me from the inside out.
The conversation continues this week on Stirring the Pot Radio on WPPB 88.3FM, with outside/inside beauty experts Barbara Close of Naturpothica and Barbara Layton of Babettes. Please feel free to share your experiences, thoughts or questions. We may include them on the show.