Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. ~Confucious

Here I am. Truly me. Fresh from the shower, I brushed my hair until it was free from tangles and then let it air dry. I applied lotion to my face. Nothing more. This is me with no product, no makeup, and #nofilter.
As women, we have been told and have come to believe that this is not enough. That this is not okay. That this is not beautiful.

Worse, that this is not normal.

When we leave the house this way we get told we look "tired" and asked if we are feeling alright. We feel sub par and frumpy just by looking...well...like ourselves.

Products and makeup are fun and they certainly serve a purpose. Trust me, I have my own battery of beauty products filling bathroom drawers. I love them. People have been applying makeup for thousands and thousands of years. I'm not going to bring down a centuries-old tradition with one blog post. However, thousands of years ago, the cosmetic industry was not part of a profit-driven market bent on making some people rich by making the rest of us feel insecure.

I've read that women spend an incredible sum of money on beauty supplies. One article claims $15,000 in a lifetime, while another breaks it down to approximately $100 each month. That's a huge amount of cash. I could sponsor 3 children through World Vision or Compassion for that much  money. Or, if I only sponsored 2, I would still have enough left over at the end of the month to buy myself something to feel pretty.

I'm not trying to lay down some huge guilt trip on the way we spend our money. I'm just as guilty of self indulgence as the next gal. What I'm more concerned about is a culture that has us convinced that the bare minimum of how a woman ought to look when she wakes up in the morning is not even close to reality.
A society that fosters dissatisfaction in ourselves to the point of self loathing, eating disorders, and the belief that we shouldn't, couldn't be seen without our "faces" on. The false notion that there are women out there who have perfect bodies, perfect hair, and perfect complexions.

Let's get real with each other.

At least sometimes. I understand if you love the glamour, the fun, and even the art of makeup. Awesome. Rock it, my friend.

But, sometimes, let's put the brush down and take a deep breath.

Let's look at ourselves in the mirror and in our pictures and truly see ourselves. Let's show reality to one another. Let's not put that filter on our Instagram pics. You know the one. The one that smooths out the laugh lines and evens our skin tone. Let's get used to the way we actually look. Let's be okay with ourselves. And let's be okay with each other. Let's stop perpetuating the lie.

Do you know one of my favorite parts of getting used to the way I actually look? I don't have to do nearly as much to myself to feel like I've gotten all gussied up.

After a long day chasing rugrats, I felt like I needed to powder my nose before heading to the in-laws for the evening. I threw my hair in a clip, added a headband, used some chap stick and put one coat of mascara on my lashes.
Suddenly, I felt fancy. Yet I was still fresh-faced and fancy free.

Sure, I could stare at that picture and find many things "wrong" with the way I look. But who says that they are actually wrong? It's just the way I look. You look the way you look. It's different than me. Your skin, your eyes, your hair. They are different than mine. They are very likely different than the images we see on the screens and pages in front of us. That doesn't mean they are wrong, and it makes me sad that we think they are. And that we are, unintentionally, raising our children to believe these things are wrong, too.

I try very hard to make sure my boys see me at my worst the way I actually look. I guard my words around them. I make sure not to say things like, "I am going to go make myself pretty," then disappear into the bathroom only to come out with a different face. I want them to understand the way real women look. And to know that that is beautiful, too. Reality. It's pretty amazing.

I challenge you, ladies (and gentlemen), to learn to love yourself just the way you were created. And the way time has etched itself into you. Love that wrinkle, that mole, even that cellulite and those stretch marks. Learn to see yourself with #nofilter and not cringe...perhaps you will learn to like what you see.

In the doing so, the loving of ourselves, our children may learn to love themselves unfiltered, too, and to know that they are beautiful.

Things are beautiful if you love them. ~Jean Anouilh

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