"Paint me pretty" is the concept that allows women to step outside their door each day, out into the world of opportunities.
When you buy into corporate America, beauty standards and media, you feel you are not "enough" just naturally showing up to parties, to work, to family events, and out with friends or partners.
And the only thing that will fix that for you is by buying into hundreds of dollars of services, products, and chemicals to alter you into looking acceptable or attractive.
When you have anxiety from experienced trauma from a partner, friend or parent, these ideals can cripple you.
Feeling unworthy turns into suicidal thoughts. Convincing yourself that you are not beautiful or handsome enough, not thin or fit enough, or that you are too "poor" or "incapable" to fix your looks to suit the times are all common symptoms.
And the consequences can be fatal.
In fact, I hated how I looked all the time so I was more prone to believe bullies in school because they said what my own mother was saying at home.
This led to enduring emotional abuse with more than one romantic partner. So much that I acted out like a chameleon trying to please everyone.
And still I was hurt, cheated on, lied to, and neglected.
It is NOT obvious when you are being abused by someone while you are enduring it.
For a long time, you are just in a fog trying to endure everything and get through the day.
For me, waking up was a slow process.
And being bullied to be the right kind of beautiful for my exs' and parent turned into me being insecure at school and work.
I hated photos of myself, hated seeing myself in the mirror, and focused on finding temporary solutions.
Cover ups. Under eye concealers. Green powder. Contour. Toners for my freckles. Nair for any body hair. Or shaving like crazy. Plucking and pulling eyebrows. Putting on tons of makeup.
I wanted to control my body type and how it looked in fashion, but I was too busy to focus on doing it in a healthy way. So I fell right into having an eating disorder. This was all before turning 16.
I got pregnant with my boyfriend after my 16th birthday. I was a size 00 and felt super insecure about myself in all ways. So those 9 months of growing, widening, pains, and skin changes really added to my anxiety and shame.
On top of that, I was pregnant as a teenager, with someone who ditched me, and parents who were no longer in the picture.
It took me many years to outgrow my chameleon-like personality.
To start figuring out who I was and what I wanted to be.
Who I wanted to be.
I was in sweat pants.
Hair tied up.
I decided that night I was going to meet the partner I REALLY LIKED while completely bare with all my insecurities out and proud.
I've told him since how that night was really important for me.
In my healing from trauma and abuse from exs, I decided I would no longer paint or peel to please anyone.
I wanted to be me for me.
We have been together almost 5 years now.
And never ever tolerate the bullshit abusers fling at you, nor to try and cure them of their thinking.
You will never be able to convince an abusive and toxic person that they are wrong.
"All you can do is show up every day dressed as yourself, and hold no space for anyone who has a problem with it." ♡ - J.S. , Jaded Savior
Published by Jean Soto JS Jaded Savior blog: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Soto, mother of 3 and wife, is a writer + artist in the Hudson Valley, NY community.
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: email@example.com
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