Hi guys! Back from my trip to Japan and back to blogging! I'd say it feels good to be back, but I'm battling some major jet lag, so not gonna lie, I'm basically forcing my eyes to stay open to get this post out.
Over the next couple weeks, I'll share some recap posts with all the delicious food (RAMEN!) and beautiful sights, but until then, I wanted to share a post inspired by something I learned on the trip.
While in Tokyo, we took a guided tour of the art museum led by an art professor (by Context Travel - highly recommend). She taught us about the history of Japanese art from ancient times on, including the Japanese aesthetic. The main concept is something called "wabi-sabi," an aesthetic based on Buddhist principles. It celebrates imperfection and impermanence. You can see wabi-sabi in the age-stained walls of a temple, a slightly cracked ceremonial tea cup, a wood surface left natural, or a tree gently falling over a pond garden. Wabi-sabi is an appreciation of flawed beauty - knowing that imperfections and evidence of aging makes something more beautiful and special as a whole.
Although wabi-sabi is an art concept, I couldn't help but make the jump into using it as a way to appreciate our beauty and foster self acceptance. Sometimes body positivity gets framed as loving your flaws. With the body positive social media bubble I've set up, I frequently see people sharing pictures of their stretch marks and cellulite and rolls accompanied by love letters to their imperfections. Don't get me wrong, I think that's great! But if we're being honest, I'm not there yet. I don't really think about my stretch marks or cellulite or rolls that often, but when I do, I'm not thinking about how awesome they are. And that's okay, because I think body positivity is more about accepting your "flaws" than loving them, and treating your body with kindness, regardless of what you think about it.
But I like the idea of wabi-sabi as a bridge to self acceptance, that maybe we don't have to necessarily love our flaws, but appreciate the fact that our flaws are part of a bigger package, made more beautiful and interesting because of their existence.
Our beauty standards celebrate perfection, but perfection is kind of....boring. We get US Weekly at our house (the result of a five-year inside joke between my stepmom and husband - don't judge!). Sometimes I like to skim through, because hey, occasionally I like celebrity trash. There's one column where they highlight a red carpet fashion trend by placing pictures of 10-ish celebrities wearing the same trend next to each other on a white background. Every time I see that page, I'm always struck by the fact that they all look EXACTLY THE SAME. When you see them photoshopped together, they blend into one chiseled, lipsticked and well manicured doppelgänger. It's like they came off an assembly line.
The idea of perfection may seem appealing, but I like the idea of my imperfections being a part of my overall package, not just my appearance but who I am as a person. What if I popped out looking like a Victoria's Secret model? Would I still be a nice person? Would I still have the same incredible group of friends? Would I still be in a loving marriage based on mutual respect? Would I still run a business inspiring people to discover self acceptance and their happiest, healthiest selves...or would I just post bikini selfies?
I may not like my nose or the bags under my eyes or my frizzy hair that's slowly greying, but I like me, and if my nose and my dark eyes and my unmanageable hair make me, me - then so be it.