I had to publicly apologize to my Mom and sisters recently, as it dawned on me just how intolerable I was as a teenage ego maniac. Of course, we aren't quite aware of how we are behaving in those turbulent, hormone bathed years of me-ness, but eventually, our self awareness grows and the dark truth comes into the light. The hair had to be just right, the clothes had to be brand named (borrowed form sister-thanks Trace) and the clock had to wait for these vital signs to stabilize before we presented ourselves to our audience...who wasn't paying that much attention to us in the first place. Our poor bus driver waited EVERY day, with a honk of the horn as I put the last hair in it's place. He even overlooked the assigned bus stop and waited right outside our house, so I didn't have to walk those grueling few feet and brave the weather in my so carefully put together attire. My sweet, blond and beautiful sisters, with their much more relaxed personalities, tolerated my demands for the bathroom mirror and my Mom just snickered...she really knows how to handle me.
OF COURSE I'm not like that anymore!!!! Although, I think it lasted a lot longer than I thought because my husband remembers me taking much time taken to get ready for outings...in front of the mirror. Eventually, I gave up. I have accepted that God made my hair curly and trying to straighten it is futile...that Calvin's name on my jeans doesn't make me sweeter...that laugh lines are actually quite attractive...that if you have a great smile, no one notices the Mount Everest pimple on your face and that Mom was right all along...beautiful is not seen on the surface.
Another freedom for women everywhere is in this...that wading in the shallows of vanity is a prison. Brave the waves and wade out a little deeper. Throw off the Vogue brainwashing and think truthfully and real. Enjoy beautiful clothes, fun hairstyles and love your shoes, but once they are on, forget about them! Change your focus to those around you and on what you can learn and do.
Disclaimer: Now that those wise words are out there, it must be said that four children, pets, house cleaning, church ministries, minor health issues and...age...kind of speed the enlightenment along.
I've been having this conversation with my daughter...we call her the Fashion Flaky. She is indeed very pretty and has a love of clothes...sparkly, multicolored, trendy clothes that need changing about every 40 minutes or so. She also has an extremely messy room and too many hand-me-downs. After she has dressed herself and done her hair in a reasonable amount of time, I say to her, "Ok, now that that's done, come away from the mirror and forget about what you look like." Fortunately, she has much more confidence than I did and doesn't really worry about it...did I mention that she is only seven? Ya...mostly playing, but now is the time to start the training so that the teen years are not such a Diva war.
It amazes me how many older women appear to still be caught in the beauty/confidence lie. You would think that they would get it by now, but apparently not. Hair color, weight perfection and anti aging creams are still at the end of the yellow brick road. Remember the teeter todder...balance the weight of value we put on beautiful things or we'll get a painful bump on the rear from the harsh, dirty reality of life.
The breathtaking colors of the fall leaves is a reminder to us of what true beauty is. The leaves are giving up all of their life giving chemicals to the tree..so it can live through the winter. The sacrifice causes them to lose their lush green and turn other colors. The beauty of the leaves' death is a natural wonder that causes people to travel from afar, in busloads, to behold.
Matthew 6:28-30 "And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith?"
Just as a side note, I wasn't all THAT bad a teenager. Aside from the hair thing, I don't think I was obsessive about much else...except Rob Lowe...and eating on time...and...never mind.