I kind-of liked the title of my previous post and I might even turn this into a mini-series of things that ''matter not much'' in my miskin opinion.
One of the top things I despise about our modern world is its fixation on appearances and the pressure to always look 'on point', 'on fleek', 'on check'.. whatever the slang you want to use.
Why do we always have to look hot? Can't we sometimes, for the love of God, look cold? (#deadjoke)
This fixation on the physical body is actually laughable. Don't you think it's ridiculous that some people spend so much money, time and effort to look 'hot' yet sometimes the opposite effect is achieved? To think that people are working hard to maintain a body that will tomorrow be turned into particles of dust seems a little ironic to me. I'm not saying that we shouldn't take care of our bodies, but to turn them into obsessions like many people have, is not cool. I am not talking in this post about the normal taking care of oneself (with products or cosmetics) or keeping in shape (going to gym or exercising), I am talking about the obsessive ''looking good is my only aim in life'' type of mentality.
I hate how physical beauty is given so much interest and importance. We must look beautiful and if we aren't naturally gifted with beauty, then we much fake 'gorgeous' features with make-up, push-up bras, push-up undies, high heels, waist clingers, whitening products, fake lashes, long nails, high heeled shoes and the list is indeed endless.
From a young age, girls particularly are given a a 'beauty template' through direct or indirect means. We, as women, are told what the criteria for beauty is and (because these criteria are usually idealistic and not realistic in totality), we become self-conscious and develop insecurities about our bodies.
When I was younger, as a teen, I remember having some insecurities about certain things that I had or didn't have but as the years have passed, I grew more comfortable in my skin and even learnt to love this flesh and the appearance that I was bestowed with. This does not mean that I don't have days where I critically analyse myself in front of the mirror but I've understood that no matter what everyone else thinks is beautiful, my body is also beautiful under all its various ups and downs.
The other day, a young lady asked me 'hey dude, what do you find attractive?' This was after she gave me a list of the physical attributes she admired and found beautiful. I just didn't know what to tell her and I just said something like 'oh, I'm not much into the whole physique'. Yeah, she was impressed.
This is one of the things I've differed from compared to the large majority of the girls that I know. Often times, girls (and guys) have this clear cut vision of what they find physically attractive in the other gender and they usually try to marry a person who fits this vision as best as possible. However, I don't know... I am just not interested by that at all. And, I would hate to think that anyone would befriend me or be interested in me because of my appearance or my looks. How belittling?
Of course, I am not saying that I am insensitive towards gorgeous creatures or that a beautiful visage and a facially deformed person have the same appeal to me. The point I am making is that I find beauty so superficial, so fleeting, so unreliable, so temporary that it doesn't make sense for me to give it ''that much'' importance.
I have lost count of how many times I would talk or befriend someone whom society wouldn't typically consider as 'gorgeous' or 'hot' but after spending time with them or conversing together, I would find beauty in them that wasn't present before that. Not only that, but usually they also become more and more beautiful the more time we spend together. It amazes me every single time!
Of course, the opposite is also true. A physically beautiful person who appears more and more awful and ugly the more time you spend in their presence.
The unfortunate thing is that because society places such great emphasis on physical beauty, many of us grow up thinking that this is the only beauty that exists. But what about the inner beauty? The one that you cannot see? The one that cannot be categorized? The one that actually matters much more?
You know, I was thinking last evening of death and the grave (I know, morbid *snif*) and I kept thinking about Uthman ibn Affan radhiyAllahu 'anh because the grave was the one thing that would make him weep so much. When asked about this, he said that the grave is the first abode after death and if it goes well, then all that follows will go (& the opposite works too).
We have graves awaiting for us all and our naked bodies will be entered in those holes. This body that we strive to beautify will turn to dust, the flesh will be eaten up by worms, every beautiful curve or softness will disappear. So, why should I give my body more than it'll do for me? Or why should I then, base my beauty judgement on something so temporary?
At the end of the day, I'm a girl and I love looking good but for sure, I do not give my beauty precedence nor do I base someone's attractiveness on their outside appearance. When I see girls who work so hard to look a certain way or spend crazy money on cosmetics, I feel sorry.
I know it's not always easy to find yourself beautiful, but within each one of us is beauty. We must grow to look past the flesh. Love yourself for who you are. Your imperfections and insecurities are what make you, YOU. Think about it, would it really be you if you didn't have those imperfections? As Muslims, we should have a bigger concern than our temporary bodies: our souls and our hearts.
This topic also reminds me of something my teacher told us once. He said ''never feel proud about something over which you have no control over''. I found this simple sentence so powerful that it's always at the back of my mind. Do I have a say in how my body was created? Nope. Therefore, I shouldn't feel 'proud' to have such-such feature that society dictated as 'mamamia hot hot' and likewise, I shouldn't feel disappointed in the opposite scenario.
Let me share with you one of my biggest pet peeve ever. It is related to this whole beauty topic. I'm sure you all know about the hype over beards and bearded men right? Yes, we get it beards are beautiful (& Muslim beards are awesome) but I can't with these sisters who salivate over beards. I just can't deal!
''His beard *insert love eyes emoji''
Beard this, beard that...
Sister, why aren't you lowering your gaze? *tears*
I don't understand since when has it been acceptable for us to fantasize over a random man's beard. SubhanAllah, we have taken on the behavior of non-Muslims in doing so. We should be above such shallowness.. :-/