Okay, so I know it has been a while since I posted and hopefully I will find the time to post about why at a later date, but right now I have a million thoughts running through my head as the countdown to 40 continues. In 24 days I will be 40. I am not afraid of it, in fact I am looking forward to it! My 20’s were better than my teens and my 30’s better than my 20’s, so I can only imagine how great my 40’s will be!
My age isn’t really the point of my thoughts though. I don’t think. Well, kind of I guess. The point of my thoughts is … ugh! There are too many thoughts to think clearly. Okay, bear with me as I try my best to make sense.
Beauty, make up, clothes, size, weight, hair, nails, all of those things. Growing up, I wasn’t taught to be natural. I am not sure many people were. Or maybe just my friends weren’t. Maybe I just gravitate to people who think it is normal and wonderful to spend time painting our faces, perfecting our hair, choosing the perfect clothing to accentuate and flatter our bodies, transforming ourselves into the vision of what we have in our heads as beautiful. Either way, natural does not seem to be common.
Now, don’t get me wrong, as a teenager, my mom told me I was beautiful without make up, I didn’t need make up, I looked good as I was and once I started wearing make up I wouldn’t be able to stop wearing it and all of the other things that mom’s tell their daughters in an effort to keep them looking young and to protect them from growing up too quickly because once we are mom’s and living on our own, we know just how hard that is and we want our kids to be as young and free for as long as they can. I never saw that modeled though. My mom wore make up, my grandmothers wore it, my aunts, my friends moms, grandmothers, and aunts, most of the women at church wore make up except for the home school mom’s who lived in this whole other world that was weird to me where they made their own clothes, made their own bread, and did weird things that I will never understand because that was not my world. Every girl in magazines was flawless with their make up and super cool LA Gear jeans and high tops. They had big hair and frosted pink lipstick and I wanted to be just like that!
As a kid I used to dream of running off to New York and working as a waitress to survive while daily stopping by Eileen Fords agency and dropping off my portfolio with the expectation of my big break so that I could be the next Brook Shields! I knew that I was created for greatness and that I was one day going to be famous! (Secret: I still think that I will one day be famous, maybe not as a model, but I still think I will be a household name. Ha ha ha don’t burst my bubble either. I like my imagination and I choose to keep this dream alive in my head.)
Okay so, all of a sudden in society there is this big push to be natural. Colbie Caillat put out the song Try and revealed her natural face without all of the make up and airbrushing that we normally see. She is beautiful. I have seen countless articles on women who stop wearing make up for a week just to try it out and see how people respond to them. Most of them are really beautiful without make up. We get so accustomed to this “fake” look and we think it is natural.
I stopped wearing make up. Not because I thought that I look better without it or because I was on some mission to show myself that I could do it and still be beautiful, but because my budget is not very forgiving these days and when I have to choose between replenishing my make up or feeding my kids, I chose to feed my kids. I am sure they are thrilled that I made that really hard decisions, because I considered telling them that in some countries kids would be ecstatic to have a slice of bread a day, so we were going to try to live like the hungry for a while to see if how it feels. Ultimately though, I decided that their whining over being hungry would be way more annoying than my plain make up free face. After all, I don’t have a mirror in my office, so if I use my imagination, I could imagine that I am walking around with all of my flaws covered way easier than convincing my kids to pretend that they have eaten for that day.
I have been on the hippy quest for a while now. I decided to grow my bangs out which was an insecurity I needed to get over because as a teenager I was told that my forehead was too big to not have bangs, so I had to replace that constant thought in my head with other thoughts. Now, I have decided to do this make up free things so that my kids can eat, but I am beginning to realize that it isn’t so bad and I don’t look hideous at all. I am a little more fluffy than I was a year ago, so my clothes don’t fit the way I want them to resulting in my feelings of looking like the michelin man or the pillsbury dough boy. I try to lose weight, but this whole creeping up on 40 thing is really no joke and this fluff is REALLY comfortable where it is at and has no desire to accept the eviction notice that I serve it monthly. I am too tired most nights to paint my nails, so they are natural with some longer than others or when I get really annoyed with the different lengths, I just cut them off and have super short boy nails. My toenails are a nail techs worst nightmare since they have not seen a pedicure in over a year. I make my own deodorant. Wash my hair every 3 days (I shower daily though, that is important to note), I started running again, so I wake up in the morning and walk like an 80 year old woman without her cane. It really is quite a beautiful picture isn’t it?
What in the world is my point? MY POINT IS … that I was cleaning the bathroom this morning and the mirror is right in front of me. I have yet to brush my hair, wash my face, or get dressed for the day. I am Natural without any fussing and you know what I saw? I saw a beautiful person in that mirror. I had to keep looking. I have not thought of myself as beautiful in years, so I pulled out my computer and I started looking at old pictures. Pictures that I have not looked at in years. I wanted to see if I had changed. How I had changed. What is it that was different. What is it that caused me to look in the mirror today and have a thought that was not one of disgust. One that did not send me running to the nearest make up brush or have me look away because I did not like what I saw. You know what happened when I looked at pictures from 8 years ago? I started crying.
I cried because the person that I looked at 8 years ago looked so sad. There wasn’t confidence, joy, contentment, acceptance, or the impression of being loved in those eyes. That person looked lost. I started looking farther back in the years and even up to a few years ago. I saw the same thing in almost all of them. The make up has served as a mask. A mask to hide the insecurities and the hurts. The abuse of the past done to me and by me. A mask to give the world the impression of who I wanted them to know I was and not who I truly was. I was afraid. Afraid for people to learn who I was and see the scars of life that have been tattoo’d on my heart. If anyone discovered who I was, then they would surely run from me. Those fears had been confirmed and etched into my being over the years as person after person would walk away from my life. As people who I needed to believe in me would shrug me off as insignificant and tell me that a tragedy that happened to me was my fault. During my divorce as I was told that nobody would ever love me because I was unlovable, and that was something that I had heard over the years. I wore every label that anyone had given me and when I looked in the mirror, that is who I saw. I saw a screw up. I saw an unlovable person. I saw an ugly person staring back at me for years! I turned to people and men to validate who I was and to tell me that I was worth loving, but I didn’t believe it, so I covered it up with make up and fashion. Looking back, I am afraid that I didn’t really fool anybody and if I did it is only because they weren’t really looking at me.
Today when I looked in the mirror, I saw somebody different. Today, I love myself and I have thrown away the labels that other people have given to me. I look in the mirror today and I see someone who knows who she is and what she was created for. I see a woman who has been to hell and back and has survived. I don’t need all of the things that I needed before because they don’t define me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love make up and fashion and when this budget challenge is corrected, I may very likely find my make up and fashion again, but I will not find it to cover up who I am. I will find it to reflect who I am. I am sad to look at the me of years ago and think that I had so much pain underneath that I didn’t feel like I could share with anybody for fear of, well… for fear of many things, but I rejoice in the the me of today and I am thankful that I am able to look in the mirror just as I am and know that I am enough.