A story of acceptance

Once apon a time a little Elle worked at @countryroad , @myer and @davidjonesstore . All places where aesthetic is everything. I bought into it. I wore make up everyday, went out of my way to buy lots of products and most regrettably, wasted so much of my TIME doing it. While wearing the newest or ‘nicest’ clothes never really bothered me, walking into a workplace where polished faces and hairdos frowned down upon the lesser tended to or vain folk; one truth resounded. This is a TOXIC expectation. On a day when I was running late, my bare face was ashamed to look at customers. How did I get here?! I was embarrassed to show people my face. My real face. Not the one under the bullshit facade.

Wow.

So, I embarked on a month completely make-up free. I embraced the purge, both mentally and physically with my skin adjusting. I discarded the self-conscious talk and stood up straight, confident in not giving a fuck what the people looking at me thought. I’ve genuinely never looked back or felt as confident as I do now.

But you know the worst part and the reason that I’ve tagged these businesses? It was (and I would bet still is) A PART OF THE CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION TO WEAR MAKE UP TO WORK!!! How insane is that?! I fully understand one must present themselves to a certain standard. However, how damaging and twisted is that focus on ‘beauty’ that is being spoonfed to the people that not only work for these groups (and many others) but also the people who stream through their doors!

I genuinely believe this is completely unnecessary. It doesn’t impede one’s ability to sell a product. Unless you’re shit at actually selling stuff, which is pretty hard. This post is intended to urge those of you who feel any form of attachment, reliance or comfort in make-up/cosmetics/the aesthetic world to recognize, detatch and reflect on the deep-seated reasons as to WHY. None of those things are YOU. They mask you. Maybe sometimes they enhance you. Either way, they’re impermanent. Is it truly contributing to your positive sense of self, after your ego defends it as harmless, because you’re scared of the true reason why you do these things?

I’ve been 99% cosmetic free for years now, only wearing it for special occasions. My hair might get coloured every now and again (which I’m keen to stop) but it rests in its state upon awakening. Toward the path of radical acceptance. My skin isn’t perfect, my eyes are always red (to the point where I’ve lost count how many times people have asked me if I’m wearing red eyeliner) and a myriad of other bits and bobs that we all identify about ourselves that somehow isn’t enough. We must choose to nourish and worship the body that we have and the garden of the mind that needs equal tending. I only hope for everyone reading this to muster enough unconditional love for self to do the same. 

Love, a younger Elle that believes you are beautiful – exactly. as. you. are.

the saplings of forgiveness

I restlessly throw my body around in bed while candles flicker and frogs croak. Camomile and honey trickle down my throat. Lavender floats around me in a cloud. It feels like even the frogs have more conviction than I do. I can barely muster a squeak. 

There is an aching in my soul that I’m unsure of how to soothe. A hurt that this time, I do not know how to mend. I’m good at this, I think. I can step back and assess myself, criticize the reason for my emotions and analyse my motives. Stab and slice away at my ego, threatening it to stir and face me. 

Most of the time, I can strategize a way out. A way up. Not this time. I’m snowed under with a weight it feels I cannot bear. In this place, it feels like there are no hands to help me. I’m not sure I’ll reach for any either. 

I remind myself; my needs are met. In fact, they are beyond met in many ways. Mostly, I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want. A true luxury that I try not to undervalue. How dare I feel anxious or depressed?!

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is something that I often draw back to. It resonates with me that a human has a myriad of elements to keep in fine balance before one can feel self-fulfilling (which ironically coalesces, or more accurately, actually depends on the intimate support network around the individual). 

Tonight the acknowledgement of these base needs being met are not serving to comfort me. 

  • Insert reality check: they are NOT a given and should be ALWAYS appreciated as a comfort – perspective is key.
  • Insert secondary reality check: the vicious ‘how dare you’ mindset is reinforced – stay wary of negative self-talk masquerading as the helpful critic.

I am deeply grateful to have loved and been loved by some special souls in my life. In the occasional absence of this loving presence, I am sometimes unexpectedly cast into a chasm of emotion with myself playing damsel and hero simultaneously. Usually I’m not shy of this confrontation of self, but this seemingly unending emotional fragility has me trading faces.

I fumble around with this uncomfortability, trying to understand it in any way I can. Feel it wash through my body and take root in the centre of my torso. Find consciousness in my breath and attempt to loosen the knots in my chest. 

Thus far, uncomfortability has been my most brutal, but honest teacher. Oh, and maybe heartbreak. At this point I’d label them interchangeably. I’m not sure I’ll ever revel in uncomfortability but my appreciation for what is unveiled in its wake is constantly multiplying.

In the midst of this inner turmoil, a gentle voice enters and begs for both time and space for forgiveness. The harsh critic is silenced. I’ve visited this place before. In it is a garden. A sacred garden with a plethora of possibilities. Here, the seeds are most difficult to sow. Upon discovery, the landscape is barren and the soil unrelenting. Weeds entrenched and overgrown. Colours mute. With diligence and mindful care, slowly the soil softens. Richness re-enters to allow small, hopeful sprouts. With further tending, these saplings will flower, but their flowers are stubborn and slow to bloom. They demand boundless amounts of conscientious tenderness. However, once given their fill and in full spectrum light; this garden and its flowers provide the deepest healing.

Tend relentlessly to your garden.