Beauty Looks Like—Tara Wood
Meet Tara Wood who shares her personal journey to discovering “Beauty looks like ME!”
Tell us your journey to seeing beauty within yourself: This was an extremely hard task to complete. Growing up, I never thought beauty was anything associated with me. I was that that awkward teenager, just trying to fit in socially.
As a teenager and most of my adult life, I disliked mirrors. I didn’t like looking into them due to what I saw staring back at me-I hated my skin, I hated my pointy nose and full lips, and to top it off I had a dislike for my body shape. I felt that mirrors magnified my flaws and insecurities. I created spaces of darkness-I didn’t like lights on much. I bathed in the dark, dressed in the dark and only turned on light when I would put make up on to hide the blemishes from my acne prone skin. I lived in a world of darkness for so long that is who I became-Dark.
My body insecurities started early in my teens. I loved dance and took classes from the time I was four years old. I was told in my teen years that I did not have a dancer’s body. My full hips were not the ideal for professional dance-so I was told. This was my passion! To hear that my body was not the ideal norm for a dancer crushed my dreams of ever becoming a professional one.
So you see, I didn’t look the part, I didn’t feel the part and it didn’t help that my circle made fun of my full hips and pointy nose all the time. I often questioned in my head why was I not normal looking like others? Why did I have to be the odd looking one?
As an adult, the teasing continued, the questions about my skin and why was I breaking out so much continued and I avoided mirrors and clothes that would show any trace of my shape-baggy and not fashionable. One day in 2017, yes just two short years ago, I woke up and did not want to feel dark anymore. I told myself you have to stop this or you will die, literally. I started going to therapy and it changed my life. One session, I was tasked to go home and look in the mirror. I was to look in the mirror long and hard and see what God sees when he looks at me. I avoided this for a couple days but as it got closer to me going back for another session, I had to complete the task. Now remember, I hadn’t really looked at myself in years, I stated out loud God sees you as beautifully and wonderfully made in his image. I repeated this until tears ran down my face. I had to do this several times for it to sink in. God made me in his image! I am an authentic beauty, inside and out. My full lips and hips are what ties me back to my ancestry. My nose is just a nose! My nose! My authentic nose! It was a freeing but definitely needed task and without instruction to do so, I would have probably kept living in darkness-blind to the authentic beauty that God created in love.
Writing this reminded me of a song Beyoncé Knowles penned called “Pretty Hurts”. In one of the verses she states “Pretty hurts. We shine the light on whatever's worst. Perfection is a disease of a nation…We shine the light on whatever's worst. You tryna fix something, but you can't fix what you can't see. It's the soul that needs a surgery.”
I am what Beauty looks like!
Join Hiz Temple throughout the month of February as we celebrate Black History Month by showcasing beauty through the faces, stories and backgrounds of beautiful African American women. Our goal is to empower and inspire young black and brown girls to have a healthy response to the question “what does beauty look like?”