…who I was meant to be! And if you give a damn, take me baby, or leave me. -Maureen Johnson, RENT.
Must be stuck in my head, because I was watching Idina Menzel star as the coach of rival glee club, Vocal Adrenaline on Hulu episodes of Glee.
But I’ve also been thinking along the same lines for a few weeks now. The message behind those lyrics is what pretty much catapulted this blog. I am who I am. Beauty is being yourself. I’ve already touched on who I am in my opening post, but I’ve been feeling like talking more specifically about my reflection in the mirror—flaws and all. The definition of The Body Logic is: “Beauty is being yourself.” But ever since I can remember, I’ve been interested in altering my appearance. Not to the extent of plastic surgery. Lipstick? I got teased for being among the first to swipe on a brown-ish hue circa 1996 in junior high. Extreme dieting? In high school, I bought a bottle of “Metabo-Less” (because as desperate as I was to shed pounds at the speed of light, I apparently decided to pinch pennies and go for the generic stuff). Loads of foundation, concealer, mascara? One particular night in college, my face resembled that of a drag queen’s.
Daughters usually learn to/how to “beautify” from mothers. In my case, my mom taught me how to pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs and wear figure-flattering patterns/materials/cuts. But my semi-hoarder-like behavior with Sephora stock? Yeah, that may have developed as a rebellion against my mom. My hippie-ish mother is pretty much the Anti-Drag Queen, haha. My memories of her wearing makeup are scant. Through the latter half of the ’60s, her beauty routine was likely limited to ironing her long black tresses. When I was a tyke in the ’80s, she’d swiped on some blue shadow and a coat or two of mascara. In many ways, she was the opposite of my padded bra-wearing, gold lipstick-coveting, cotton candy perfume-spraying tween self. She’d probably shrug and laugh at this notion, but I really do think she’s totally comfortable with herself sans makeup. Maybe it’s one part that, and two parts that au naturel was the way to go when she was coming of age. (It doesn’t hurt that she has killer green eyes and thick lashes to boot.) I’m lucky that she passed a portion of that laissez-faire approach (it’s not Maybelline) to me.
An everyday heroine, Dr. Lissa Rankin wrote,“When we OWN all the disparate parts of ourselves, we tap into the divine spark within us, allowing us to release limiting fears and enjoy our lives more fully.”
I aspire to this. At 26, I’m finally beginning to own my cellulite-riddled thighs, genetically gifted from my paternal grandmother who is also 4’11”. I actually bought and wore shorts last summer for the first time since I was 10 years old… And every day, I get a little more OK with my disparate parts. But that doesn’t mean I’m really ever going to stop plucking, shaving, dabbing on concealer or adding product to my hair after a shower. These rituals enhance…not mask or infringe on…my appearance.
I’ll never forget something my best friend, Colleen and I saw at a kitschy little store in Union Pier, Michigan: A gift book emblazoned with a cartoon of a woman and the caption read, “Slap on a little lipstick, and you’ll be fine!” Haha, and it’s true. Not because the lipstick makes me look like someone I’m not. It’s actually just a part of who I am. And you can take me, baby.
What’s the ritual that enhances who you are?
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