"I'd date Belle because she saw the beauty within the beast. She knows it's what's inside that counts." - Phil Lester
I've been thinking a lot about beauty, lately. And no, not just because my "pictures" file on my laptop is steadily filling up with Phil Lester's face (although also very much because of that).
What set it off was stumbling across a photo on Facebook, which featured my former real-life crush. I looked at him and realised that - and bear with me here, because this may sound like one major backhanded compliment - his looks weren't necessarily what mainstream media likes to tell us is stereotypically attractive, but that I found him utterly gorgeous, based on who he was as a person.
I'm not saying he wasn't physically appealing. He had (and I'm assuming still has) beautiful, big blue eyes and a very sweet smile. But his real beauty, as with all of us, came from within. I thought his smile was cute, but I thought the love he had for his family and friends was beautiful. I thought his eyes were lovely, but I thought his cheeky sense of humour was even lovelier.
It's become something of a cliche to say that beauty comes from within, but it's absolutely true. Only the most shallow of people could see a gorgeous person acting cruelly and still prioritise their looks over their behaviour. The most stunningly beautiful exterior is useless if it's hiding an ugly soul.
So, it stands to reason that the opposite is true. A person who we might think of as average-looking can quickly become almost perfect in our eyes, if they're kind, funny and caring. The inside of a person starts to shine out and we see them for them, rather than as merely their face and body.
That's actually what happened in the case of my number one celebrity crush (Phil Lester; come on guys, where have you been the last few months?!). At first, he was just "the darker haired one" from Dan & Phil. Then, he was the "funny, really sweet one." Then he was the "funny, really sweet and incredibly thoughtful one." Only after I discovered more about him and learned what sort of a person he is (or at least, what his Internet persona is), did he go from being "the darker haired one," to being "the most gorgeous human being on the planet." Don't get me wrong, Phil was gorgeous to begin with, but I didn't see it properly until I realised that he was also a sensitive soul, a creative force and a total and utter weirdo (I say that with love and as a fellow weirdo, so it's cool).
MOOSE HAT. Your argument is invalid.
Of course, I say all of this as someone whose own looks have never been anything close to being stereotypically beautiful. My nose is too big, my chin is too pointy, I have ridiculously curly hair, I'm incredibly short and my belly sticks out at the moment, because I recently discovered "Golden Oreos."
And I do awkward rock-horns in photos with alarming regularity.
The thing is, the older I get, the more I'm starting to realise that literally none of that matters. Would I like my hair to be manageable and for all the Oreos I consume to be entirely fat-free? Yes. But would I change who I actually am inside? No. Because, without getting all Christina Aguilera on your asses, I am beautiful, no matter what they say.
It's absolutely fine to worry about things like doing our hair and make up nicely, or wearing a really good outfit if we're going somewhere special. But it's also absolutely fine to not care a jot about any of that stuff, if you don't want to. Equally, it's fine to acknowledge someone's good looks and find yourself attracted to a person based on their physical appearance. We just all need to be better at remembering that the outer shell is just that; the outside packaging. And the packaging only goes so far. Eventually, we have to realise that a person isn't just their eye colour, hair style or bra size. It's about their humour, their warmth, their empathy and their ideas. Looks fade over time, but a beautiful soul will stay that way forever.
And if you're sitting there, thinking "this is all well and good, but I'm ugly, so nobody's going to bother getting to know my beautiful soul," then let me stop you right there.
You might think you're ugly, but I can absolutely guarantee you that there are plenty of people in the world who don't. How do I know? Because for years (and I mean years), I thought I was the ugliest girl on the planet. Nowadays, whilst I don't look in the mirror and see a total stunner, I don't see someone hideous, either. I see someone who tries to be kind to others. I see a weirdo with a strange sense of humour (and I like that about myself!). I see someone who will always be there for her loved ones. Those are the things that make me beautiful, regardless of whether anyone else can see it.
SELF CONFIDENCE CONFETTI PARADE!
It makes sense to me to end this blog with a quote that is often attributed to Audrey Hepburn, but which I think I'm right in saying she actually borrowed from a poem/letter and used in a speech, hence everyone thinking it was hers in the first place. Regardless of whoever came up with it, this pretty much perfectly sums up my belief that real beauty will always come from within, no matter what we look like on the outside:
"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others.
For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness.
And for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."
Beauty is more than just skin deep.
Beauty comes from the soul.