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Beauty has defined me. It has been my shadow, lurking, waiting to hold up a mirror and whisper, “You’re not as beautiful as that woman in the magazine…or as young. You are nothing”. I have manipulated my looks to satisfy the shadow, but that is impossible. It’s always there, comparing, whispering my failures. The question for me becomes, is my shadow destroying me?

When I was young, I never spoke of how ugly I felt. I couldn’t speak of it because I had to keep alive the possibility that being beautiful to the world was within my grasp. I lived in hope that I would someday satisfy the shadow, opening the door to a wonderland of riches and self-esteem. I tried makeup, I tried hair styles, I tried surgery…anything to appease the shadow and become “beautiful”.

But nothing ever seemed to work or convince the shadow that I was “right” or “beautiful”. I remained me. Never pretty enough, never beautiful. As I got older the hope of someday satisfying the shadow was slipping through my hands. How could I ever be considered beautiful if I was old? After all, my beauty template was media images, and those images, for the most part, are of teenagers – girls, disguised as women. Clearly, the shadow was destroying me. At what point do I stop listening? If I stop, I give up the possibility of being beautiful. But if I don’t stop, my insecurities will become deafening. How do I strike a healthy balance?

This question has led me to create the series “Speaking of Beauty”. When I talk with my friends about beauty and aging, my heart aches as I listen to them speak of their fears, worries, insecurities, and of the pain they are going through. I will be interviewing real women, not celebrities, about beauty, aging, the media, cultural dictates, and the psychological effect this has on all of us.  What sort of transformation awaits us as we re-define beauty for ourselves, as these women have done?

I strongly believe that every woman deserves to feel as beautiful as she truly is.

As we begin to look honestly at these issues and begin to speak about them, we are  creating the consciousness around the media images that define us.

Please join us!  Watch the web-series when it launches in August, share it with women you know of all ages, leave comments and let’s change the beauty conversation by “Speaking of Beauty” in all it’s diverse creations.

With love to you and yours, Holly