Sunday, October 13, 2013

Healthier Inner Dialogue - Beauty

I've started this post about beauty in so many different ways, but I can't get it right.  I can't get started, I think because I don't understand it. This obsession we have with beauty.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that I am unaffected by this quest to be pretty, because I'm not.  I pluck and tweeze and exfoliate and moisturize and condition.  I know which side of my face takes a better picture.  I know that if I give a full toothy grin my jowls will disappear.  I know that good posture makes me look significantly thinner.  I know that a smile will always make me look more attractive. I dye my hair and whiten my teeth (but not too much) and wear eyeshadow that makes my blue eyes pop.

I'm not immune to the pressure to look good, but I wholeheartedly believe it is silly. We are too incredibly focused on our beauty.

We are not living in the 1800s anymore where fair young ladies hold tight to their maidenhood and focus all of their time and attention to fluttering lashes and embroidery in the hopes of latching onto a man who will take care of them for the rest of their days.

We are so much more than our outer appearance.  We are fierce and independent and intelligent and interesting.  We are funny and compassionate and complex and simple.  We are mothers and daughters, sisters, aunts, and friends.  We are authors and engineers, nurses and politicians.  We are so incredibly many things that have nothing to do with the cuteness of our nose or the curve of our hips.

Yes, shave your legs, change your underwear, shower, wear clean clothes. Fine. But focus also on your real beauty:

The beauty in how your kids can rely on you - anytime - for the rest of time.
The beauty in how your partner looks into your eyes and feels loved and cared for, part of a team.
The beauty in how you made that overwhelmed new mom laugh and feel supported when she needed it most.
The beauty in nurturing others and providing examples.

Even as I've gotten started talking about beauty, I don't know where to go.  I find my thoughts about it all a muddle. I know in my mind that appearance is a silly measure of a person's worth, but when I contemplated chopping my long hair off, I hesitated. I knew that a shorter cut would appear more as sassy or cute, and not as much pretty. And I hesitated.


When I had a bad summer of allergies that showed up as bright red rashes on my eyelids and cheeks, and I couldn't wear any makeup over them, I wanted to tell everyone my story,..."I'm not normally this unattractive. Usually I'm pretty average-looking. It's just these allergies wreaking havoc with my complexion." I didn't actually do that, but why in the world would I feel like I wanted to?


Why oh why? I don't have an answer. I wish I did. I wish I didn't care a bit about how others might view me, how pretty or not they might think me to be. But I do. And it seems silly.

I'm going to revisit this topic at the end to see if I can come up with anything more than questions. Please feel free to offer up any wisdom you might have.  :)


Tina Bradley said...

I like to say, "Beauty is an inside job." Hugs to you this lovely fall morning! T.

Kei said...

Reading your post, I was going 'YES THIS IS SO TRUE.'
I did the same that you did when you had allergies, when I had a burst blood vessel in my eye and couldn't wear eye makeup, I explained it to people! (And everyone I met that I knew got treated to me pulling my eyelid up and looking down to show them the bunny-shaped red splodge across my eyeball, because I found that funny)
It's almost as if we feel we have to justify ourselves for not looking our best! I wonder if that's due to being fed the idea of always looking amazing, or if it comes from our own self-standards to look good, or a desire for people to think well of us, or something else!

Magic Love Crow said...

Everything you wrote is so true. But, you know what, I don't think it's wrong to tweeze or put a little makeup on. If it makes you feel good, that's good ;o) As long as you are being you and not trying to be someone else. You know what I mean? When people go in for face lifts, botox, boob implants, to me that is crazy! If putting a little eye liner on, makes you happy inside, then do it ;o) I hate to tell you Terry, but you are pretty! I don't die my hair and I have some grays coming in. Oh well, I hope it comes in one straight line down my hair, that would be cool, like a skunk! LOL! Big Hugs ;o)
P.S. You wouldn't want to see me, if I didn't tweeze! I could poke your eye out! LOL!

Magic Love Crow said...

I forgot, to tell you a funny story! I went to Canadian Tire at the end of the summer, to the garden center. I pretty much know the "kids" in there, they are great! I was all yucky looking! Just had been gardening. Dirty jeans, long t-shirt, even had my hat on,(hair was dirty, not washed)! I went with my sister-in-law, needed some rocks. One of the young guys was on, about 25, and two other girls. I started flirting with him! He was laughing his head off and so were the other girls. My sister-in-law was embarresed! By the middle of the conversation, I say to him, I feel like a cougar, I am surprised you are not walking away from me. He says right into my eyes, I am not going anywhere! I was blushing! LOL! He carried my rocks out for me and I swear, I could have had a hot date that night! LOL! My sister-in-law said she is never going to Canadian Tire with me again! LOL! So, I think there is a point to this story!!! Don't you??? ;o)) Unless he thought I was really easy! LOL!!!!!

Kara @ Petals to Picots Crochet said...

Beautifully said! I am going to read this to my daughters too.

Mindy said...

Having kids has changed me in this department, I think. I show up at school in the mornings and afternoons, unshowered, frumpy, and honestly, lookin' like a torn up mess. When I shower, put on makeup, and get dressed, I get comments left and right. I think "covering up" with the unkempt look makes me feel less self-conscious, if that makes any sense at all. When I "get ready", I wonder if I'm wearing the right thing, if people are looking at me, if my hair looks okay, blah, blah, blah. I've never been a big clothes shopper, or makeup buyer, or trendy, or any of that, but I feel like people see me completely different than I see myself. COMPLETELY. Being female kinda sucks.

Tara @ Suburble said...

Beauty is tough to talk about, because I know some truly beautiful people - but they're beautiful for different reasons.

It's much like how we can immediately be physically attracted to someone (of either sex), but then a miserable personality will change how you see them.

I, too, find myself making excuses for a less-than-awesome appearance. I will totally admit that I have to wear mascara, even when I go camping. It's such a crutch, I know. But at the same time, it's also a way of arming myself for the day (does that make sense?).

I'm rambling, but I just wanted to say - great post, lady!