The Price of Beauty

I am a tomboy; always have been, always will be.  I have never been one for designer clothes, shoes, bags, hair products or make up.  My wedding dress was a white cotton dress that was $15 at Ross.  For every expensive, unnecessary “beauty” item, I can think of a thousand other things I could want or do with that money.  Why is all that considered beauty?  When did our society become so wrapped up in outward appearance?  Even if you can afford it, why?  Why is our self-image a thing? I won’t even go into how magazines and starving, airbrushed, inch-thick-make-up models continue to make us feel worthless.  I am not even talking about it in the sense of an art form.  Our self-worth somehow rides on what we look like, men and women alike. There are people that genuinely like make-up and clothes and it is a fun, artsy thing.  They just like coloring their hair, cutting it different ways, wearing different colors of make-up.   Then there are some that think, “I can’t leave the house unless I look like a million bucks.”  The word “make-up” is taken as that; making up for something.  No thanks. Thrifty shopping and homemade “beauty” products are my thing. Coconut oil is all I need!  I am not worried about gray hair or wrinkles, because guess what?  We all get old, we all wither and die.  A sad part of life, but life all the same.  No one cheats it.  I wear dresses…but only when someone gets married or dies.  Wait I lied, I do love a nice sun dress over a bathing suit for the beach or pool, but because it is comfortableComfort is key for me. I do not like nice dresses, and the second I put one on, I am counting down the minutes to when I get to change.  Give me yoga pants and Yankees shirts all day.  In heels, I am a baby giraffe learning to walk, so I don’t own any.  I absolutely hate tweezing my eyebrows and will let them get to the point right before a unibrow is visible before tweezing them.  I wear a little make up; concealer, eye liner and mascara, because I like the way it looks, and maybe foundation and eye shadow, again, if someone gets married or dies.  I leave the house all the time without make up and even the times we go out for family time or a date night, it doesn’t take me very long at all to get ready.  For a few years now, my hair curls naturally so I haven’t straightened it in years.  My hubby is a lucky guy, huh?  🙂

However, just liking the way something looked wasn’t always the reason.  I thought I looked bad.  Every time I looked in the mirror, it was all critical, and sometimes still is.  It is a constant struggle, but not so much with my face or hair, just the rest.  I started out growing up with self-esteem issues, and it morphed into self-image problems.  I am pretty confident in who I am as me, and also as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and so on.  We won’t even talk about the time in my life where the two overlapped.  However, the self-image started when I gained weight.  I was always athletic and active, but during that “I hate myself and don’t know who I am,” phase, I let that go.  I have never been obese, but overweight nonetheless.  I’ll take a cannoli over a carrot any day.  I have gotten A LOT better, though.  I started caring more right before my hubby and I got together, and although I never got back to the almighty “high school weight,” I was active and started feeling better about myself.

Then I got pregnant.  Which was crazy and awesome all rolled together.  The greatest thing I’ve done to date.  Having a baby is the single greatest and most bad ass thing the human body can do. Thanks to not-so-good genes, I earned my tiger stripes and even if I get in the best shape of my life, I will have a little pooch forever, and that is okay! I had a ways to go losing weight post pardum, even though I ate super healthy while pregnant, breastfed and lived on the third floor of an apartment her first year with no elevator (great workout). Then I started criticizing myself again.  The best thing is that I have a hubby who is crazy about me and compliments me all the time, but it makes it harder because he is still super attracted to me.  So yes, pass the cookie…he loves it so who cares, right?  Then I started really changing my perspective.  It isn’t about looks, it is about health.  It is about being there for my daughter and the next (and last) child.  It is about actually growing old with my husband and being able to enjoy retirement, not live it in pain and misery because I didn’t take care of my body now.  It is about feeling good, feeling healthy, feeling alive.  Then I thought about this the other day and it brought me to tears.  My daughter hears everything now.  She may not be able to say it all, but it is safe to say she understands the English language pretty well and has moved to mimicking EVERYTHING.  I will make jokes about being a “fat kid” or make a comment about myself that really is a joke and has no bearing on how I view myself, but she hears it and doesn’t understand other than I am saying something negative about myself.  I never want her to feel that way.  EVER.  Her Daddy compliments me all the time, in front of her, why would I counterattack that with insults, jokes or not?  It is bad enough society will break her, why should I not be her source of strength and a great example?  It isn’t even a woman thing, although we may take advantage of it more because we tend to be more emotional.  Every magazine, every commercial, bullies, the lot, constantly make us feel like we aren’t good enough.  Your hair isn’t good enough, you don’t smell good enough, your workout routine or diet isn’t complete without X, Y and Z products, your apparel isn’t good enough, your sex life isn’t good enough, etcetera, etcetera.  Screw that!  WE need to change.  WE are society.  Let’s get rid of this awful plague that we aren’t good enough for ourselves or someone else.  Your weight is a measurement of gravity, nothing more. Male body sprays smell AWFUL.  Too much make-up looks fake and bad most times unless you are really good at it.  Have a cookie once in a while as long as you are making the norm a healthy lifestyle, a cookie won’t kill you…we do only live once, so moderation of health and splurging is key. 

To the moms who think their body was “ruined” by having babies…STOP.  We did something so amazing and wonderful that we should think of the visible reminder as battle scars, tiger stripes, morphing from girl to woman.  We are women, hear us roar!  If someone isn’t attracted to you physically, it is okay.  Remember, there are 7 billion people in the world…kick ’em to the curb, on to the next one!  Everyone deserves to be with someone that wants to be with them and that appreciates who you are. 

Yes, be healthy, set a good example for your kids, teach them to take care of what they have, including their body, but for the right reasons.  Change your perspective.  It is about health, not beauty.