The year is 2012 and I will celebrate my 63rd birthday before this year ends. My days of being beautiful on the outside, if they ever existed, are most certainly over; my days of inner beauty have only just begun.
It is difficult not to notice how each generation of women especially, but some men also, become more and more obsessed with their physical appearance. I’m not saying my generation wasn’t interested in looking good or being cool or sexy, I’m just saying it didn’t consume our lives. We wanted the latest hairstyle and the latest clothes, if we could afford them, but it didn’t cause us to like someone more or less if they didn’t have it all, maybe it was just my group of friends. In my teen years and even my early adult years, I don’t remember being a slave to make-up or ever freaking out about what I would wear to something. I do remember back-combing my hair into oblivion to get the perfectly round helmet hair and then spraying it with Aqua Net so it couldn’t move…EVER.
Today’s girls I see spending an inordinate amount of time and money on make-up, hair coloring, and clothes and being incapable of NOT looking in a mirror if one is in the room. Studying, making faces, turning, posing; what’s that about? How did we raise these people? Nothing inside matters nearly as much as what is outside? This makes me very sad. Truly heartbreakingly sad.
I spent many years applying make-up every single day, working or not, because I needed to look my ‘best’ or so I thought. I was a hairdresser. I needed to look like my clients wanted to look or so I thought. If I wore the cool cuts, the cool colors and my make-up was just right, people would feel confident sitting in my chair or so I was told and I, in turn, told many young hairdressers. In hindsight, there is some truth to that. To succeed you must look like you already have. To be the most requested hairdresser in the salon, you must look like you already are. I believe that and I believe if you are in the beauty business, as I was, you do need to wear make-up and have your hair done nicely every day. What I am not so sure about is whether your clients really care about that as much as they care that you give a killer haircut that they can style when they get home. The ‘package’ only sells you one time. The work sells you repeatedly. Treating every single client like your favorite one, sells you forever.
Isn’t life the same? Don’t we make acquaintances because of where we are more than how we look? First impressions may be based solely on how we present ourselves to the world, but is it really about make-up and hairstyle? Is it really about whether or not you are wearing this year’s outfit?
I hope not. I hope it’s much more about what you said. How you said it and to whom you paid attention I hope, matters more in the long run. Are you sincere and do you engage people or just talk at them? Do you listen? Do you HEAR? This has to be more important, otherwise this old gal is lost. And so are many other people I am very fond of.
I have heard our generation being called the invisible generation. No one notices us anymore. Our hair is just hair. Our faces are lined and forgettable. Our clothes are probably 20 years old or older and our shoes are just for comfort. Make-up, if used at all, is expected to be over-used since we can’t see anymore. Yet, we have real friends. We have people who actually care whether we live or die and in fact, care HOW we are. Why is that if it’s all about how we look?
Is it really about how much you weigh? Nope. Your health may be or may not be about the number on your scale, but your friends don’t care. You are equally loveable at 250 pounds, 150 pounds or 95 pounds. Because your belly and your butt are not the reasons people do or don’t like you. Your heart is. Your personality is what attracts or repels people, not your fat or your bones. Just like the hairstyle and the make-up, they are not who you are, they are what you do; being heavy or too thin, being too short or too tall is not who you are, but rather how you are built.
I know I have rambled on here and I know that I have not really addressed beauty, but I have addressed my irritation about a world of women growing into their invisible years with zero chance of being happy because they are obsessed with not looking like they did when they were 20. Of course, when they were 20 they thought they were fat and had a big nose or some other unforgivable flaw. They didn’t then and they don’t now, but they will never believe that because they have never developed the beautiful personality. The giving, the sharing, the hugging, the loving personality that would always make them friends wherever they go, was never nurtured into fruition. It doesn’t leave anything for the golden years, but sadness and grief over the lost physical beauty and nothing to replace it.
My face is far less than pretty. At one time, I guess it was okay, but never pretty to me. I never felt as desirable as I knew some of my friends were, but I always managed to be happy enough with my appearance. I had a great deal of confidence and I believed I was a good person, even as a teenager. I knew I had good friends and I knew my family thought highly of me. I assumed from all of that, I must be a good person. My teenage years were happy and social and I would dare to say, though my memory is vague about a lot of things, I am quite certain I made some lifelong friends back then and I am still very blessed to have many of them in my life again. It had nothing to do with my looks or theirs, then or now, it has to do with who we are inside. The kind of people we have become and the kind of people we were back in the day. We are and we were good people with good hearts and a decent set of morals. That has served us well into our 6th decade of life.
I no longer wear make-up every day. I put on a little mascara and lipstick and out the door I go. I comb my hair, but it’s not a 20 minute style, it’s very simple and neat. I dress to be comfortable and try not to wear anything too wrinkled or stained. If I like it, I wear it. I care much more about who I am and who I am with than I do about how I look. I think I care more about being clean and being kind than I do about being gorgeous. That’s a good thing or I could never leave the house!
I can’t change the world away from all the emphasis on physical beauty, but I can change one thing. I can stop judging other women based on their looks or their weight or their outfit. I can stop judging everyone by what I see and decide instead who I like based on who they are and how they live their life. I choose this one.
I choose to find the beauty within the people in my life and oddly or maybe not so oddly, they are all positively beautiful people. Yes, if you live a good life, if you care about other people and their needs and their lives, if you are a giving human with empathy, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.