Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What makes me so pretty?

Synchronicity. This evening is that girl scout meeting I'm still feeling so conflicted about, and today is the CHBM carnival topic: Favorite Beauty Secret/Product.

So what's my secret? My favorite product?

I walk at least 30 minutes every day. I wash my face with Arbonne RE9 cleanser twice a day, every day, no matter what. I moisturize, use sunscreen, and mineral powder foundation. That's it. Oh, except the lipstick. I really almost never leave the house without lipstick. And it's mostly reddish-brown.

Oh, and I also use a ceramic straightening iron to straighten my hair and I use glossing serum. Because I like shining.

That being said, however, I think I need to write more. Because I'm much more beautiful than my skin or my hair.

What I'm going to tell the girls this evening, and what I truly, truly believe, is that beauty comes from the inside. There's a magic to girls on the brink of womanhood that is easy to spot, even through the pimples and the awkwardness and the strangely-proportioned adolescent bodies. Girls that age (and I'm referring to late elementary school age, so ten and eleven years old) have not become inhibited by self-consciousness. They're smart enough to carry on interesting conversations, they're clever enough to understand and make good jokes, and they're confident enough to speak up. They're at the top of their game. You see the sparkle in their eyes because they'll look you in the eye. They're comfortable in their bodies and love to run and skip and jump.

But we (and I mean society, the media, etc.) do something to make them stop. We show them images of supermodels whose bodies don't look remotely like their own. Those supermodels don't have pimples or hair under their arms or stringy hair or spaces between their teeth. Those supermodels aren't real. But the little girls don't understand that.

I look around at this group of girls and sometimes I feel sad and scared. Sad and scared because the awesomeness of who and what they are today is so fleeting. In just a year or two, one or two of them might be fighting an eating disorder. Or, less seriously, might just really not like what she sees in the mirror. Their posture will change, and that wonderful, confident eye contact will be gone.

We all do it, right ladies? We look in the mirror and find that thing (or those things) that we hate. Thighs, hips, butt. Or that one scar from chicken pox or picking at a pimple.

So, do you want to know my real beauty secret? The honest-to-goodness one?

I know I'm prettier than those supermodels. Sure, I have my moments of wishing I looked different - taller, thinner, whatever. But I'm not going to model that attitude to my daughter. No. She looks too much like me. If I look in the mirror and say that my _____ is so awful, she's going to start hating hers, too. So I choose to be happy inside my own skin and enjoy the body I've got, imperfections and all. I smile a lot. Even though I didn't wear my retainer long enough and I don't have perfect teeth. I wear the makeup that makes me feel pretty even if it's not the "perfect" color. And I wear clothes that make the most of my good points.

Because life doesn't have an airbrush.


Mom said...

My father often said that his mother (that makes it Susie's great-great-grandmother) said "pretty is as pretty does." I see you iterating words from generations of your ancestors! Good job! Carry on the tradition!

Heather said...

I used to be self conscious of my birthmark but as I got older I came to terms and embrace the fact that is very unique. Some people ask why I don't cover it with makeup and I always respond with a wise-ass comment like well it would be like wearing a paper-bag over my head!

visiting form CHBM

Pam said...

What an AWESOME post and GREAT advice!!

I find that I am pretty much happy with the way I look, after 38 years on this earth and two kids. I coudla used half of this confidence in my teens and early 20s though.

Supermodels looked starved and devoid of personality. Who would want that?

DSB said...

You make some very good points, as beauty does come from the inside! I've been hearing the Arbonne name a lot here lately, but really don't know anything about the company itself.

Exercise is definitely important, too. I try so hard to incorporate aerobic activity into my schedule daily. I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

Here via CHBM.

Drama Mama said...

So true. Great post.

Damselfly said...

Nice "inner beauty" preaching! hee hee Thanks for the mineral powder link; I'm checking it out!

Kirdy said...

What a great reminder of the example we set without always realizing it. Thanks for that....I needed it.

amaras_mom said...

This is exactly what I try to tell my Girl Scouts. I'm so glad to see leaders who can truly teach girls what's really important in life!

uuMomma said...

This is exactly the kind of post that made me nominate you as a Thinking Blog.