One of the most fundamental journeys we can make towards Self-Love is through broadening our definition of beauty to encompass what Amant terms “True Beauty”; fully loving, accepting, and celebrating all that we are as women. When we cease to nitpick and focus on our flaws, and instead develop our capacity for loving and genuinely embracing ourselves, incredible things happen. Our shame, judgments, and fears start to melt away. We begin to see ourselves as we truly are — innately, irrevocably, and naturally beautiful.
As we allow our inner light to shine, so our unique outer beauty radiates and reflects this. In claiming our birthright of True Beauty, we simultaneously activate the sensual Lover who exists within each of us; that part of us which moves through life with grace, ease, and pleasure.
On this note we’re honored to introduce Amant’s first featured Muse, the amazing Jess Magic. She is an incredible artist, activist, and evolving Lover.
Jess Magic’s story is one of redemption. A highly creative artist and activist, Jess made a name for herself as a community leader and agent for positive change through Jeans 4 Justice, her non-profit organization, and more recently as a singer and story-teller, helping people around the world connect with their hearts and free their voices. However, below the confident, beautiful exterior, like so many of us Jess once held a quiet shame around her own physical beauty.
In this piece we’re given the gift of witnessing Jess’s transformation as she, and consequently we, walk away from the narrow confines of externally-defined beauty, reject shame and insecurity, and courageously embrace all that we are in our journeys to embodying the Lover within.
JESS MAGIC: True Beauty is naturalness. The closer we come to our true nature, the more beautiful and magnetic we become.
I believe that a part of True Beauty is complete self-acceptance, which sounds simple and basic, but is actually a birth place for so much magic. Its from this place that we can give ourselves permission to fully express who we are, let go of the fear of what others may think, and allow our[selves] to radiate from the inside out…
When I was younger I didn’t feel that I really stood out at anything. I was cute, but not beautiful. I was athletic, but never the first one picked for the team. I was smart and outspoken, but not the very top of my class. The one thing I stood out for was being skinny and a little weird. At age 9 I began to develop anorexia, which in those days was much less common for such a young girl than it is today.
I simultaneously became vegetarian, subscribed to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), started advocating for women’s rights, made a presentation on female genital mutilation, and began actually fighting boys at recess to “prove that women were equal to men”. I staged a boycott of our 4th grade frog dissection, to which I was the only one marching.
I began to develop a more true sense of confidence in high school, and because I had been so made fun of, and so teased for choosing to be different, it built some early muscles in not caring what people thought about me.
Although some of this came from insecurity and desire for recognition, I had in many ways given myself permission to speak out, to stand out, to be heard, to be rejected, and to be seen and not necessarily accepted. Those are powerful muscles when it comes to self-expression and being who you really are.
In my adult years I’ve become increasingly passionate about people embodying the truth of who they are. It’s been a huge part of my own personal journey…and it continues to inspire me to embody honesty, vulnerability, sincerity, and transparency.
“I laugh about all of this now, but I realize I was desperately wanting to stand out, to be known, and to feel special.”
JESS: I’ve always known that no matter what a person’s putting out there in the public eye, most of us have something we’re working on or becoming. I didn’t judge myself for this, but it was something that I recognized as not fully congruent. It was lessening the quality of my life.[I realized that] I had been reinforcing shame and a lack of self-acceptance around my hair for my whole life. I had always wanted it to be different. When I was little, I would pray that my hair would get thicker. I would spend valuable time asking the Divine about my hair!… It was painful, because my desire to live, love, and be fully available for all of life is so strong.My hope in terms of being a leader and putting myself out there is always to be authentic, vulnerable, and congruent. I feel like I’ve been able to be confident about what I talk about in public because I’ve never talked about something I didn’t embody.
When I was feeling insecure about my hair, I never talked about “loving your hair”. If I was talking publicly about loving my hair and being a Pantene model, and then going home and saying, “I hate my hair,” I would have felt extremely incongruent!
I used to have these ideas that anything that had to do with outer beauty was superficial, and I was above that. [I told myself] I didn’t care about outward beauty. And part of that was me disowning my beauty, because of my insecurity.
JESS: My life is precious. All of my energy, all the love I have to give; I wanted it to be flowing in directions of love and service. And I could feel this whole stream of energy that was going into the insecurity around my hair. I realized I was done with that, and I said, “NO MORE.”
From there, the question I asked myself was, “what’s the simplest, clearest path and [physical] reminder to claiming my value and my worth?” Shaving my head was a symbol of claiming my own self-worth.
Shaving my head has also been a representation of my life’s journey. I started getting into the nuances of what self-care means to me. Not just, “am I going to yoga, and am I eating healthy?”, but instead, [finding] where I was in any way still dishonoring myself, and therefore dishonoring life and all I’ve been given…
“I’m honestly blown away by what’s changed for me from an embodied confidence standpoint since I shaved my head. It’s amazing. I feel more radiant, I feel more beautiful. I feel more True.”
JESS: In terms of sensuality, I was rarely or never touching my head. That was even something Ariel suggested to me, before I talked about shaving my head. She asked, “what if you started giving it loving touch?”…
Even with Lovers, I was so insecure about my hair that I didn’t like it when Lovers would run their hands through it. It was deep for me. I wouldn’t let them touch my hair, and half the time I would sleep with my hair up in clips. There was no healthy touch going to my head for years, [including] when I would shampoo. I was fully disconnected from this entire part of my body…
Now, every day, I send love, appreciation, and gratitude to myself through my head, through my hair, through this choice to become more aligned with ME. I’m consistently reinforcing my self-love in a very tangible, sensual way. [This practice] has made me a far more sensual person, and has literally brought me to my sensuality.
“In terms of self-acceptance, and how it ties to feeling fully embodied and sexy, the simplest way to say it is that I feel HERE. I’m all the way here now.”
JESS: Quite simply, a Lover is one who loves. One whose actions, motivations, visions, and expressions stream from the vibration, the feeling, the deep knowing of love’s pure and potent power.
It means both having compassion and taking responsibility for all that does not come from love, and being fearlessly devoted to the journey back to love…
Being a Lover is being engaged with life, allowing oneself to be tickled and awe-struck and enchanted over and over again.
“For me being a Lover means being a Lover of myself, and embracing all of me; my flaws, my dreams, my gifts, [and even] my blind spots.”
JESS: The journey of becoming a Lover has been one of the richest and most rewarding parts of being alive for me. In many ways it matters more to me than anything else, because to me, being a Lover is becoming someone who loves fiercely and fully.
Every relationship I’ve had has helped me become a more sensitive, present, aware and embodied Lover, yet my romantic relationships have been particularly influential.
Some may jokingly refer to their “little black book”, or allude to their past relationships as a “slew of ex’s” or “series of failed relationships”, etc. [Like Amant], I refer to them as my “Lineage of Lovers,” instead.
I’ve experienced nearly every flavor of heartbreak imaginable, been at all ends, from the disappointment of looking back and recognizing that I didn’t give it my all, to the shame of not being honest to myself about my own needs, to the unwillingness to speak my own truth and give my partner the opportunity to show up fully for me. I’ve tricked myself, I’ve been unconsciously manipulative, …and I’ve experienced the pureness of my own love not being received by another. I’ve laid myself on the line for love and genuinely not asked for anything in return, and felt the beauty, loneliness, grace, and the sacredness all at once.
So many times, the challenges and the triumphs [of being a Lover] have been one and the same. The biggest triumphs have been the times where I’ve met the challenges of love head-on, and rather than contracting my heart, [have] opened it wider and fallen more deeply in love, embracing my heart’s resiliency to love again and again… knowing that it’s all that truly matters.
JESS: The practices that help me connect with my True Beauty are singing, dancing, praying, practicing gratitude, expressing love and appreciation for others, giving my gifts, and communing with nature.
In each of those practices I’m easily able to connect with my essence, or my true self. I’m reminded of the simple pleasure of being alive, I’m connected to my heart, my spirit, my body, and able to feel my connection to the larger body of life that I feel blessed to be a part of…
Whenever I forget or lose connection with my own version of Beauty, I go into these places and practices, and rediscover myself all over again.
Discover more Magic: www.JessMagic.com