Be Kind to Yourself – You ARE Beautiful
Anyone’s upbringing can really alter the way life plays out. But Isela didn’t choose to let her childhood change the way she matured.
At a young age, Isela was taught that having her “virtue” was what made her truly beautiful. According to her mother, once she lost that, she would no longer be beautiful.
That’s when Isela began to look to men, clothes, and makeup to make her feel better.
As time went on, Isela realized that her definition of beauty did not line up with her mother’s. Her definition of beauty went beyond “virtue” and beyond physical characteristics. She learned to accept herself for who she was and embrace all the imperfections that she had.
Now, she wants all other women to be kind to themselves, like she learnt to do for herself. And she has no problem making that abundantly clear in our interview.
Maggie: There’s no one feature that makes us women beautiful; there are many features that make us beautiful. But for some reason, when we’re growing up, we’re taught that beauty ties into one specific trait or feature. What were you told when you were young? Did one person sway your definition of beauty?
Isela: Yes. As a girl, my mother would always tell me that a girl’s beauty was in her virtue.
[Because of what she instilled in me], I was at a loss to identify anything beautiful about myself once I lost my “virtue.”
I spent years seeking my own beauty in the admiration of men, in the clothes that I wore, and in the makeup that I applied.
Finally, at the ripe age of 42, I have defined my beauty in my natural features, like my wild, grating hair, my soft stomach, and my uneven breasts.
M: It seems as though you learnt your own definition of beauty through personal life experiences – after losing your virtue, seeking admiration from men, and going through other things, beauty meant more to you. Beauty didn’t mean what your mother taught you anymore.
Are there any other life experiences that made you change your definition of beauty? Or, are there any other life experiences that made you who you are today?
I: I grew up as a first generation, only daughter to catholic immigrants from Mexico. I had no idea the odds were stacked against me.
It actually wasn’t until my transition from high school to living at home, to community college and living on my own, that I realized I was at a disadvantage. A disadvantage of connections, experience, and role models that looked like me.
I struggled through navigating college, financial aid, and the transition into a career. But I had determination, the same determination as it had taken my parents to get us to America.
I’m by no means as financially successful as I’d hoped I’d be, but I measure my own success now in the quality of relationships I have, my ability to help my loved ones, and the impact that my work has on people.
M: You’ve grown into a beautiful woman with a beautiful mindset. Can you tell me a more detailed definition of what beauty means to you today?
I: True beauty goes beyond the visual. True beauty is something that can be felt from a person, a person who is kind, sympathetic, engaged. True beauty is found in the eyes – as they say, the eyes are the windows to the soul.
M: You have such wisdom, based on all the personal experiences you’ve been through and shared with me. Is there anything you’d like to share with others so that they, too, can see a truer definition of beauty?
I: Absolutely. I’d advise them to be kind to themselves, to look at the path that got them where they are, and to acknowledge that that path is their unique beauty.
And, it’s not up to others to define us, it’s up to us to define ourselves.
M: You’re confident and powerful. I can see that, which means everyone around you must see that. Does that confidence give you a sense of uniqueness?
I: [Yes, because] I am self confident, which took me a long time to achieve. Now, I’m unapologetic about it.
Unapologetic, as Isela should be.
Isela grew up learning that things like her “virtue” defined her beauty. But she chose to go against those teachings. She chose to go down her own, unique path. She chose to acknowledge that that path made her into a truly beautiful woman, who can now showcase her confidence, care for her loved ones, and allow her work to impact others in a positive way.
You, too, can choose your own path and grow into a unique and beautiful woman – on your own terms.
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