- Beauty and My Journey With It
Today, I turn 32 years old. It is my tradition to have a bEarthday suit photo shoot every year. My Mom took these photos for me this year. I figure, I’ll look over them at age 50 and remark, “Wow! All the things my body has done for me. What a wonderful blessing, my body!” The photos here are in honor of my birth. My blessed existence on this magical earth. And my love for myself, now, just the way I am.
For as long as I can remember, beauty has been a part of my daily life. People started telling me how beautiful I was as a small child. I watched my mother apply makeup and mimicked her when I was a toddler. Hair and makeup artistry became my “thing” before I even had breasts or a period. Once I reached high school, I began freelancing as a makeup artist. Making myself and others “beautiful” has been my trade for my entire life. After years working behind every makeup counter you can imagine, being trained in over 200 brands, and owning my own business running a mini salon suite in Austin, Texas, I felt torn apart by the beauty industry!
Women would come to their appointments apologizing me for not getting ready before they came to see me, “I’m sorry! I look so bad, uggh!” They’d go on and on about their flaws, as if I was the “right audience” to support them in disliking themselves. It discouraged and saddened me every single day, as I attempted to convince women that they really didn’t actually need me, and that they were PERFECT AND BEAUTIFUL just the way they’d arrived. But they never believed me. Not one person said, “I know I am beautiful just the way I am. Thank you.” They would ALL go on and on about what they felt bad about in regards to their appearance. I wanted my guests to love their grey hair! To stick their finger in the air, and be unapologetically themselves! Dark circles, thin brows, regrowth, and all! It seemed no matter what I said, it didn’t make a lasting change on anyone. So I started digging deeper within myself. Why do we; women, men, the world, and myself, place so much value on changing our exterior to be accepted as “beautiful”?
The voice I have been given can only share my own experience, so here it is.
I have spent most of my life feeling personally victimized by the world. The first time I was molested, I was 5 years old. It was so terrifying! I froze while a boy, younger than I, fingered me, licked my neck all over, and whispered in my ear, “You like that? You like that?!” It is clear to me now that there was an energetic shift in my vibrational output at that moment. Thus began my life long battle with the fight-flight-freeze response to trauma. I, unfortunately, freeze. It was like I took the elevator to a place separate from and above my body, and disassociated from the experience. An older person, whom I knew well, walked into the bedroom in the basement during this initial traumatic event and said, “What the hell is going on here? Put your clothes on!” I felt like I was in trouble! Why didn’t he protect me? I thought. Why didn’t he get in trouble for this? I wondered. I threw on my clothing as quickly as I could, ran upstairs to where my mother was, and said nothing. It was never spoken about until I was 23 years old. And when it finally came up, it was ignored for a 3 hour car ride of silence. As if I was not believed.
Following that event, I attracted sexual abuse, molestation, and rape for the rest of my childhood, teenage years, and well into my 20’s. Nearly every single man I have ever been intimate with has treated me like an object for his pleasure. Almost all of my male partners have done things that I have felt uncomfortable with, or worse, physically hurt by. But my “freeze” response has been winning over defending myself, for years. I’ve spent a long time being mad at the world, and mad at men, for this treatment. Yet, I now feel like I was attracting it because it was all I’ve ever felt I was worth. I was branded “sex object” at age 5. I grew up to wear fake hair, pounds of makeup, high heels, and dressed up like a “porn star” for most of my life. All while wondering, “Why don’t I attract nice men?” True respectful love had never come my way. It would have been like hearing a foreign language to me. At some point in my 20’s, I fully stepped into my sexuality and believed that it was all I had to offer. I had accepted the treatment of my entire life as “normal.” I didn’t know anything different.
During the last two years of my beauty practice, I slowly stopped wearing makeup. Stopped wearing extensions. And stopped relying on my exterior physical appearance to attract people. It was NOT EASY! It took hours of convincing myself that I looked ok enough to go grocery shopping to leave the house, at times. I felt like nobody wanted me physically. It was like I was losing my power of attraction. The first thing I noticed was this NIGHT AND DAY difference in how men looked at and treated me in public. I went from getting stared at, helped out, given free stuff, phone numbers, dates, and sexual attention, to nothing. NO attention. Which to me translated as, ‘You are worthless now. Go home and eat ice cream and cry, because no one will ever “love you” again’. Meanwhile, the women in the world were also giving me more feedback if I was “done up” than if I wore no makeup and a more natural look. It felt like, regardless of gender, I was not valuable to the outside world if my outsides weren’t valuable to them. I oscillated between believing that I would only be liked if I “looked hot” and believing that I could like myself for myself, and that would be enough. The struggle left me sobbing in pain and despair many times. Loneliness and lack of self worth led me to a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms as I battled to break free from the cage I had built myself.
THE BEAUTY TRAP!
First, lip gloss. Then, mascara.Next, extensions to look like a model. Then, botox, heaven forbid I have fine lines for my makeup to settle in. Or look like a real human with facial expressions. Next up, Lip injections. Liposuction! Finally, who do I look like now? Is it even still me?
I allowed my body hair to grow, honoring and respecting my body. I spent years telling myself “I LOVE
YOU!” in the mirror, in the nude. Pointing at those spots I’d always hated on my body and telling them why I loved them. I got much pushback for my natural state. During a filming project for a friend, a woman asked if I wanted to wear makeup. “No, I don’t wear makeup.” With a shocked look, she replied, “What if you need it?” To which I asked, “What does that mean?” What does it mean to NEED makeup? Have we ever looked at a man and told him he needed makeup? Even if I have a pimple or dark circles, do I need makeup? Makeup is not a NEED!
It became clear to me in September 2017 that I could no longer be a part of the beauty industry. It had been a mask I’d chosen to wear in my youth, to hide myself, and receive the only feedback I had ever really known as love. I closed my business.
During this time, I fully stepped into Reiki, sound healings, card readings, leading ceremonies, rituals, and more. On the Gemini full moon in Sagittarius on December 3, 2017, I cut off all the remnants of chemical color from my hair. I FELT SO FREE TO BE ME! For the next few months, I stuck my fingers in the air, basically shouting with my appearance, “I am what I am! Take it or leave it. Either way, I don’t care. I am all I need!”
Over my life of growing up Mormon, then leaving the church, I have always chosen a more extreme path. If I’m all in spiritually, I am 110% perfect. If I’m in rebellion mode, watch out. I’ll do what I want rain or shine. These extremes have always led to lessons, some filled with light, some filled with pain. I have finally, finally come to a new space of understanding. It’s been as though I’ve been making everyone elses journey invalid by forcing my experience on the world around me. There were times I thought, “Poor sister. She mustn’t love herself if she’s hiding behind all of that fake stuff!” My own choices blinded me to the fact every human is on their own journey. Ten years ago, if you’d told me I’d have armpit hair, no makeup, and a bald head, I’d have laughed in your face. If you’d have told me I would judge other women for coloring their hair or wearing makeup, I would have literally thought you were a lunatic. Extremes teach valuable lessons, but for me, they are not the final answer.
The Middle Way.
The Balance Between.
The Allowing Yourself to Actually BE SEEN!
Almost exactly 6 months after cutting off my hair during winter solstice, I am stepping back onto a more balanced path. I needed to step completely away to allow my shadow to fully be seen by me. I needed that space for understanding and healing. Tomorrow, as the first day of Summer arrives, I find myself feeling grateful for a whole new perspective. Standing where I never thought I’d land. Grateful for the time to let myself be. Grateful for the experience of seeing the hidden parts of me. Grateful to now see that whatever ANYONE wants to do to feel good about themselves is THEIR CHOICE! You are beautiful NO MATTER WHAT you do! If you want to make a change, go for it! If makeup makes you happy, follow your bliss, sis! And if you, like me, need to peel back every single layer to uncover a deep down beauty you’ve never seen before, than trust you will find yourself there. Remember, no matter your outward expression, your beauty begins within <3 Your path is leading you into the unknown, if you will let it. You may find yourself in places your former self would never believe you could be! Trust your journey. Everything is ALWAYS working out for you. There is healing in every step. There are answers all around you. Allow yourself to discover the spaces you’ve never looked before. There may be treasures untold awaiting you.
Wishing you self love, abundance, and more 🙂
- About Me
I’m Belle.I Am a born creative. At the age of 3, my earliest makeover was documented, my little friend Joy being the subject. I’ve basically been beauty minded since birth, but the obsession became real during my teenage years. At 14, I made friends with Beth at the MAC counter in Salt Lake City. She fostered my talent, told me to charge for my services, and make it a business. It was during these teen years that I named my business; Belle’s Beauty Box was born. Beth became my makeup mentor for a few years. She convinced me that being a professional makeup artist was a real possibility, and she saw a light in me that nobody else was noticing. At 18, I took my four years of experience to Los Angeles and went to makeup school at MUD, Make Up Designory, while hoping to “make it big” in the music industry. I learned how to hustle during that time period and was booked assisting a key makeup artist on a World War II era film the day after I graduated makeup school. I did film after film for the next year and started free lancing for MAC while doing bridal makeup a few weekends a month. I quickly learned that adding hair services to my skills would be extremely helpful in the beauty industry, so I started Cosmetology school at a small place in Los Angeles in 2004. Shortly after, I got sick and Dr’s discovered a cyst on my adenoids. I couldn’t sing, and had to move home to Idaho. After my adenoidectomy and tonsilectomy became infected, I was silenced for one month. It was during that time that I decided to serve a LDS mission, but I had to wait a year to turn 21, so I went back to school. I managed the Clinique counter while studying Vocal Performance at Idaho State University. For the next few years, I traveled around doing makeup as much as I could. It became clear that helping women better express their beauty through hair and makeup was more fulfilling than any other beauty work I had done.So I went back to hair school, this time in Salt Lake City. I worked at Sephora through hair school and stayed employed there for three years, while beginning a hair career at beautiful Array Salon, downtown SLC. Sephora really gave me the opportunity to teach hundreds of women per week, how to achieve their beauty goals. It was the best hands on experience for me at that time. ?Being the Gemini-soul-searcher that I am, Salt Lake City became boring. It’s GORGEOUS, but too cold for me. Los Angeles was calling me home. Big cities have always been so romantic to me due to the infinite perspectives that reside in them. In 2013, I moved back to Los Angeles. It was one of the best years of my life! I was self employed as a promotional model/brand ambassador while pursuing music full time in my band Belle and the Cardinals. I did some hair and makeup, but mostly, I felt I needed to get away from the beauty industry. I had been consistently dissatisfied with the energy and vibe of it. The gossipy, self-conscious, party environment just wasn’t fulfilling. At that point, I was unsure if beauty would ever excite me the way music does. 2013 ended with my diagnosis of vocal nodes, and I left LA for Idaho, again. The Dr prescribed one month of silence. Who do you know that has practiced 2 months of silence in their life before 30? Try it. It’ll blow your mind! That month was one of the most introspective moments of my life. Much became clear. I began meditating regularly, and practicing yoga. I sought the expertise of reiki healer’s and astrologers. I read chakra healing books and searched for deeper meaning everywhere. I was introduced to crystal healing. Soon there after, I fell in love. The two of us moved to Austin, and my desire to get back into the beauty industry was very strong. But this time, I wanted to bring the universal and spiritual truths I had grown to love so deeply, into my practice. My own journey has impressed strongly upon me that every path is different. The only truth is found in doing exactly what works for YOU. “Do you” became my motto and to this day, my greatest joy is found in convincing women to do and be EXACTLY their own version of beauty. I’ve always known that my beauty box was like my own little stash of magic. I can’t wait until YOU see!