There is an epidemic of shame. It needs to be broken.
The problem comes when we try to configure our "beauty" to meet our perceived understanding of someone else's cultural standards. We think, “Oh, he, she or they probably like…” and we become.
Jesus is beauty, when I have nothing to give. He is strength when I am weakened. He is perfection in all the ways that contouring and spandex can't be.
It's okay to be beautiful. It's okay to be stunning and put on gorgeous dress or not. It's okay to grow slowly. It's okay to learn quickly. It's okay to be strong, and intelligent, and wildly compassionate, or full of stillness and peace. It's okay to be full of joy. It's okay to be honest about pain. For the glory of God, it's okay to just be.
But even still, there has to be a truer, more sincere purpose to "being beautiful and authentic".
I wonder if the pursuit of beauty and authenticity has less to do with me and more to do with the ultimate standard of beauty--the glory and holiness of Jesus? Jesus, the one who died and came alive again to redeem our most authentic selves? I wonder if the sole purpose of being beautiful is to demonstrate the glory of God? True beauty is the glory of Jesus revealed. He is beautiful. He is true, he is strong, he is gentle, he is holy, he is good, he is sweet. And he is the one who has given me sensitive nerve endings and a strong heartbeat and cheeks that flush when I have no clue what I'm saying--and I have been ashamed of all of these things that he created about me. Why?
Because I aligned my identity to the ideas of my culture instead of aligning my identity to the beat of God's heart.
Lastly, beauty does not have to be this malleable, overly-controlled thing that we think too much of or don't think about at all. Isn't it really a state of being? A state of effortlessly revealing the glory of Jesus? That way if someone thinks that I am beautiful, I can just be okay to know that they admire my state of being, not that I've worn something immodest or that I've been too (insert word here). If I can think of it this way, maybe I can believe it.
This project is a three-part response to the fear of being beautiful and demonstrating the glory of God in the pursuit of true beauty.