A Cure for the
There isn’t another proverbial stone left to be uncovered when it comes to the subject of “Females and the Relationship with their Appearance.” Scores of articles, books, and films have portrayed women and their inner battles with self-esteem and perceived beauty.
As I’ve mentioned in October’s Book Review (“Beauty Pageants” by Libba Bray—please click on the “BEAUTY” label below to view it), “it’s obvious that I am neither the first nor the last to blather about this subject. In fact, as many of you know, this particular feminine issue has been to driven to the ground, beaten to the pulp, and then boomeranged itself back to earth.”
Yet, I still choose to mention this, because a month ago, I fell prey to this very bait: that antagonizing voice that persisted I was “unattractive.” That voice…that accursed voice…it trickled through the hills and valleys of my brain and echoed with every quiver of my insecure heart.
PAUL STAHR (American, 1883-1953). Girl in Red Beret Looking into Compact Mirror, Saturday Evening Post cover
It began with a couple of innocent photo shots of me. A relative of mine stood there poised and proud with her new Cannon. She excitedly snapped pictures of me flipping my hair a la Pantene commercial, taking a sip of tea, twirling my flared skirt and then losing my balance, blinking at her uncertainly.
She e-mailed me the album and when I clicked to download it, I began to feel that rather odd mixture of dread and anticipation. The photos popped on screen. I quickly felt my spine collapse and my lips folding against each other in despair. There they were. Those pictures.
I was left to ponder “is it possible for a nose to gain weight?” and “why do my cheeks look like they’re hiding a family of small kittens?” Surely, this was not me. That girl you see in those photos. Yeah, she’s the alternate me that exists somewhere exotic, like say, Jupiter. But she is not me.
After a couple of seconds, my ridiculous, delusional “she is not me” mantra exploded and revealed a wide-nosed, “healthycheeked" reality. I became a disheartened mess over the next few days. In fact, I was suffering from an acute case of the “FeelingUgly-itis."
Painting by Lisa Falzon
When I walked from the bathroom to my bedroom and from the kitchen to the den, I would pause by the nearest mirror without fail. My daily schedule seemed to be “pray, mirror, breakfast, mirror, laundry, mirror, shopping in Rite Aid, mirror…”
This devious spell had to be broken. I had to resist in examining my every flaw and subsequently melting into a freshly self-conscious puddle each time.
The day arrived for me to type up a few motivational truths regarding WOMEN AND SELF-PERCEPTION/ BEAUTY. Ready? Okay, here goes:
#1 STOP allowing your mind to deceive you and concoct all kinds of lies until you’re convinced that THIS is what you look like:
Painting by Pablo Picasso
Of course it is extremely vital to prioritize your health and work out, but that’s where the buck stops. Right there. Avoid the temptation of standing in front of the mirror and criticizing yourself like so:
(C’mon! I just had to insert that Mean Girls reference)
AND even if you do have flaws (welcome to the human race!) attempt to discover the poetic beauty or humor in them.
For instance, got a schnozzle? Realize that the sense of scent is one of the most spiritual forces in Jewish teachings. G-d breathed life into Adam’s NOSTRILS. We part ways with our “Shabbat Soul” by smelling fragrance during Havdalah. The larger the nose, the larger the soul...eh? Interestingly, I once met an individual who was only attracted to people with big noses. She was a lovely young woman and she strongly stated “I LOVE big noses.” Realize that the feature you despise the most about yourself, can actually be the feature that gets your significant other’s heart pounding. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is an eye-rolling platitude for a darn good reason. It’s oozing with truth.
You already know that I’m an avid J. Crew devotee and if I could afford to, I would pack up my purse and relocate there. Yet, what I truly admire about this brand is that they often scorn perfection. If you skim through their catalogs, then you’ll soon realize that the model’s hair can be playfully tousled, a blouse sloppily tucked into a skirt, or that her belt is skewed. I began to get into the habit of tilting my belt off center by the way, because perfection is becoming…well…so passé.
#3 "NOTHING MAKES A WOMAN MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN THE BELIEF THAT SHE IS BEAUTIFUL."
- Sophia Loren
Document this in your journal, print it in CAPS LOCK and hang it on your wall, record this line on your cell phone and press play about twenty times...Do what you gotta do to drill this into your head.
#4 Ah, Diana Vreeland! Along with the revered J.K. Rowling, she is my heroine. Due to her joie de vivre, sheer innovation, and astuteness, she was able to proclaim many brilliant maxims throughout her life. This is one of them:
"You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female"."
Now, take THAT society!
# 5 “Do NOT Read Beauty Magazines—They Will Only Make You Feel Ugly.”
- Baz Luhrmann, “The Sunscreen Song”
Painting by Norman Rockwell, 1954
Okay, I know this may appear hypocritical being that I’m a Fashion blogger and what-not—BUT I try my best to only pay attention to the clothes—not the Gisele Bundchens of the world who are wearing them. At any rate, the more one endeavors to avoid run-of-the mill “5”10, buff, half-naked, tanned people” ads, the healthier his/her self-image will be.
MY PARTING WORDS ON THIS MATTER?
AND SO ARE YOU, AND YOU, AND YOU. Now don't roll eyes at me dear...You know it's true.
UNTIL NEXT TIME!
UNTIL NEXT TIME!