It’s a new month, which means it is time for our next Redefining Beauty to make her debut. This month, Jessica Lewis graces Set Your Beauty Standard with her beauty story. I virtually met Jessica after following her on Instagram and since then we have each found ways to connect with each other. I thought Jessica would be a great feature as she already continuously shares parts of her story on her blog and her Instagram.
Jessica resides in Virginia and has been creating content about her life journey to self-awareness over the past year. Please take some time to enjoy her transparency in this March Redefining Beauty segment.
Hey Jessica! Thank you so much for choosing to redefine beauty with me this month! First things first, please introduce yourself to our audience!
I am a self-awareness and lifestyle blogger who just decided on that niche at the beginning of quarantine. I started my blog in 2017 but was not consistent until March of 2020. I realized my lane was more on the side of helping others as I help myself become more self-aware and emotionally equipped to handle life’s challenges. I believe that a lot of our most crippling issues come from the thoughts in our head and if we can just become more self-aware of our thought processes and behaviors then we can combat our struggles with anxiety, depression and seasonal sadness. On the side of “lifestyle” I couldn’t niche down more specifically because, as a single black woman, I dabble into a bit of everything. I just like to share so if there is a hair product I love, I will share. If there is a skin product that is simply amazing, I’ll share. And if there is a recipe I can’t live without, I’ll share that too. I prefer to share all the amazing sides of my life than to limit it to just 1 thing.
What is your definition of beauty? Has the way you defined beauty changed at all over the course of your life? If so how?
Beauty is the brightness of your soul being displayed on your outer layers. My definition of beauty has definitely changed over the course of my life with the most recent change being within the last year. This pandemic has caused a lot of changes and it has made me realize that I am not beautiful because someone tells me but because I tell myself. From the way I talk to myself to my thoughts about humanity, beauty now has a deeper meaning than just the surface of “acceptable features” placed on us by society.
Can we talk about self-awareness real quick? As a blogger, you often highlight your self-awareness journey. Do self-awareness and beauty correlate in your life? If so, how?
Yes they do correlate. Before, I would always avoid confrontation of any kind. I was a people pleaser and confrontation to me meant that someone was not pleased and I couldn’t handle that. As I became more self-aware of myself and realized how damaging my self-pleasing trait was, I started to like myself more. I started to see myself glow differently because it was coming from within. I was no longer holding back, holding my tongue, or not presenting my true self out of fear of not pleasing people. Instead, I embraced my true self and felt more beautiful than ever before.
We all have moments when we feel EXTRA beautiful. Tell us about a time when you felt this way.
One moment that has me smiling at my own beauty is after my nighttime skincare routine. It’s about 7-10 steps depending on what I’m treating but it’s me in my bathroom playing my feel-good music and just taking care of myself. I feel beautiful when I do something nice for myself and for me that is skincare.
Another moment as of late is when I get dressed to go outside lol. Since the pandemic, I would go to the grocery store in sweats and a t-shirt not putting in any type of effort because “who’s gonna even know it’s me, I have a mask on anyway”. But along my journey of self-awareness, I started to get dressed for me, so I would put on a pair of jeans and a fitted top and style my hair for me because even though no one knows who I am with my mask on, I know who I am and getting dressed gives me an extra boost of confidence.
I’ve been creeping on your blog/website, and I must say I am so amazed at how authentic and transparent your content is. In your blog post titled “Failing and Finding Yourself”, you touch on topics of physical and emotional and your journey to a better, healthier, and happier you. Was your view of beauty changed or affected at all during this season? If so, how?
Thank you so much! As an introvert, it’s still nerve-wracking when I put content out. A lot has changed for me mentally and physically during this season. I celebrated my 31st birthday in October 2020 during this pandemic and it was a real shift. My body has been an issue all my life and each day I am re-training myself to be more accepting of what I was blessed with. My weight has always fluctuated but I am embracing that maintaining a healthy body looks different now at 30+ than it did in my 20s. Instead of being hard on myself, I’m giving myself grace and taking my time with finding what works best for my body now.
I’ve seen you talk about your natural hair journey a few times on Instagram. How do you embrace your natural 4C hair day-to-day?
In 2010 when I decided to stop perming, I had a male friend tell me “you not gon’ look right with your hair all wild” and at that point, I was never more sure of a decision I had to make. I love my hair in all its thickness and shrinkage. It took me a while to get here though because that TWA phase was rough lol but as my hair grew naturally without any manipulation, I started to admire it for its raw beauty. Whether my curls are “defined”, my afro picked out or my hair stretched out to show its length, I walk with my head high to support this crown I was born with. I’m also a self-proclaimed minimalist when it comes to my hair. Which is part of the reason I haven’t defined my niche as natural hair because I just like to keep it simple and go and majority of the time I don’t like to play in my hair lol.
You’ve mentioned your Caribbean culture and your American upbringing. How have these different cultures influenced how you view beauty standards? Are they different?
The Caribbean and American culture in regards to beauty standards are similar when discussing body type and weight. In my adolescence, I was teased in both cultures about my weight, I think women struggle with this standard being placed on us in most parts of the world (not all). The other parts of my blackness are heavily celebrated in the Caribbean, I’m talking about natural hair, brown skin, and prominent facial features. I love that about my culture.
If you could only use one beauty product every day, what would you choose and why?
It would definitely be sunscreen. Since hyperpigmentation tried to ruin my life in early 2015, I haven’t used anything that treats and helps prevent hyperpigmentation as well as sunscreen. Hyperpigmentation is my one skin concern that makes it hard for me to feel beautiful so I will forever wear SPF and be an advocate for the need of it in our beauty routines.
Lastly, what words of encouragement would you like to leave our readers?
Love yourself daily. Give yourself the love you deserve in every corner of your life. Take care of yourself and do the things that make you happy. From tweezing your eyebrows to a fresh manicure and maybe even a pint of ice-cream. Don’t allow anyone or anything to stop you from doing the things that are meant to be enjoyed in life. We only get one so make the most of it.
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I hope you enjoyed reading Jessica’s story as much as I did! Follow her on social media and visit her blog! She is always creating and sharing some great content.