I consider myself pretty low maintenance. I don't shower everyday. For makeup my minimum is concealer and powder, my maximum is eyeshadow and mascara. Maybe, just maybe, a little lipstick on date night. Some days I'll do my hair, most days I won't. Even though I don't feel the need to be all dolled up everyday, I still feel the pressure to look a certain way. We all know what that way is...flawless skin, tiny waist, tight abs, sparkling white teeth, long & lean legs, etc. In short, everything I'm not. My Guatemalan genes decided long ago how tall (or not tall) I would be. They decided I would never look like a runway model. I know that. So why am I frustrated when I look in the mirror?
The pressure to look a certain way is strong in our society. I don't own a television, yet I feel it. I see the airbrushed perfection on magazine covers while I'm grocery shopping and cringe at my meager appearance in comparison. I know that the cover is airbrushed. That doesn't help. I can rationalize all I want....I am still unsatisfied with my appearance more often than I am content.
I'm trying to figure out that balance. Where I'm not so focused on my appearance that it's distracting, but I still care enough to look nice. How much is too much? How little is too little? How will the way I approach physical beauty and appearance effect the way my daughters feel about themselves?
I want to save them from the obsessive focus on your body's flaws with which I was plagued in middle/high school. I know that this means I must be extremely mindful of how I look at myself in the mirror when they are present, and even when they are not. They must see in me that beauty does not come in a mineral foundation or a new dress. While those things can help boost your confidence, they must place their worth in something more permanent, more eternal.
That is a tall order to fill, and I'm not sure that I'm up for the job. I am worried that my example will not be strong enough to outweigh the assaults the media will lob at my daughters. I know that a campaign like Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty is taking steps in the right direction. But, they are still trying to sell you something. I don't want my girls to buy into the thought that they must purchase items in order to be beautiful.
Ultimately, we all know that outer beauty fades. I want my girls to be beautiful, I want to be beautiful, when physical appearance wastes away. My friend posted this video on her blog awhile back. It conveys what I want to teach my girls, what I want to feel myself. Watch it.
p.s. there is one f-word in this video....you have been forewarned.