Here's the thing: this particular wording feels a bit weird for me to use. I'm not typically a very loud person (in fact, as introverted as I am, I'm far more likely to hear comments about how I should speak up and make myself heard... which is a whole separate thing that we won't be getting into in this particular post). All through high school, I barely spoke at all. And even now, I tend to find myself thinking about if it's really necessary to talk in a lot of conversations. I don't prefer to be the "loud" one. But it seems like there is an unfortunate lack of people getting "loud" about moving beyond beauty, so now you have to hear about it from me. Aren't you lucky?
So, I have to begin this conversation by acknowledging that I think there has been some positive movement in regards to the conversation around beauty. People have been making the effort to encourage seeing beauty in all types of people and recognizing that there is no particular body type, skin color, or set of features that has the monopoly on beauty. Which, don't get me wrong, is an amazing thing. We absolutely should recognize beauty in all kinds of things. To recognize beauty in any creation is to recognize the artistry of the Creator, and God undoubtedly deserves that recognition.
The focus is still on being beautiful in the eyes of others, which so easily leads to issues. Speaking from experience, when your focus is on physical beauty, whether or not you acknowledge that it can come in all shapes and sizes, it is so easy to find yourself in a pattern of habits and behaviors that leaves you dependent on others' opinions of you. And that is a dangerous place to be because 1) both opinions and appearances change, and 2) there is always someone who is going to not like something about you or not find you beautiful. And when the majority of the focus is on seeing yourself as beautiful, it becomes more likely that you are pursuing fickle opinions (maybe it's your own fickle opinions) rather than things that are truly important.
And I guess that's what is at the heart of this thought that I'm trying to articulate. There are so many things we can be. And yet, so often the focus or the "loudest" idea is the idea of being beautiful. It's disproportionate. Yes, beauty is a great thing. No, it is not inherently bad to want to see yourself as beautiful and want others to also recognize your beauty. But there is so much noise around the pursuit of beauty that, in many cases, other traits and qualities that are more important are forgotten about in the constant struggle of figuring out how to feel and be beautiful.
I wanted the women in my Beyond Beauty series to be different. I wanted their romances to be different. Because there is so much more to their character than being beautiful- there is strength and kindness and perseverance and bravery. So when there is a confession of love, there is no reason to state that they are beautiful because that was never the goal. They are not moving through their lives and the events of the story just hoping someone will come along and recognize their beauty. They are seeking out their own adventures and passions and trying to grow stronger and achieve new things, so they're not going to fall in love with someone who sees all of that and then the best adjective they can think of is beautiful.
That's the kind of characters I want to read about, and really, my writing has always been what excites and interests me. But with this series, it's also about the messages and stories that I would have loved to read during times in my life when I was a little more vulnerable and a lot less confident. So I guess that's the being "loud" part. I am certainly not a best-selling author by any means, but I am putting these stories out there, which means I know there is at least something sending the message that there is a whole lot more to life and people than being "beautiful."
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