Friday, November 13, 2015

Do the Mashed Potato

My mom took me to see Mean Girls in theaters when it came out in 2004. "This, THIS," she said, "is what high school is really like." As a 13 year old homeschooler, I believed her, but I didn't really believe her, you know? (It would be the first of many life lessons on the topic of "Your Mother Was Right & You Should Have Listened, You Buffoon!")

Hence, it took quite a while for me to find out "Plastics" are a real phenomenon. I didn't meet one in real life until I was almost 16. I remember taking it all in - perfect hair, trendy clothes (spaghetti straps! the HORROR!), massive amounts of glittery sparkly makeup - and being struck with the overwhelming feeling that I was somehow less than her. I felt like I had missed out on something realllllly important somewhere - some sort of magical "done girl" knowledge my strict Christian upbringing had omitted in favor of memorizing Bible verses and obsessing over modesty.

Seriously, though, HOW?

I couldn't understand it. And truthfully, I still don't really get it. I do know it requires a ton of energy (seriously, huge kudos to ladies who have the patience to apply false eyelashes every damn day), lots of money, lots of narcissism, and LOTS of Instagram filters.

Unfortunately, it took me almost five years to realize just how much of a process it is, which means I wasted almost five years of my life being a horrible narcissistic obsessive idiot, filled to the brim with self hate and on a desperate crusade to "level up" my appearance. (Sans money. And surgeons.)

If I could go back in time, I'd slap myself.

I might have never figured it out if not for motherhood, that beautiful, amazing stage of life when you only have time to shower once every three days (maybe), your makeup goes unused for so long it turns the wrong color, and heels are a terrible idea because you can't catch a fleeing toddler without breaking an ankle. Thankfully, kids don't give a shit how you look as long as you feed them regularly.

It was one of the best things about becoming a mom - finally being forced to give up my impossible, stupid (SO. STUPID.) obsession with appearance. Unfortunately, the self esteem problem at the center of the mess didn't magically disappear along with it. Boo.

I'm working on it, and I know there's a balance between looking like I'm a zombie extra for the Walking Dead (#currentlifegoal) and spending three hours on my hair every day. There's just a lot more bumps on the road to self acceptance than I anticipated. I thought once I realized perfection was A) impossible and B) a giant scam perpetuated by the multi-billion dollar media/cosmetics/plastic surgery industries, I'd magically feel all better. But every time someone tells me I look OMGsoexhausted! or starts talking about how kids "ruined their bodies" and all the work they've had done to "fix it", I feel exactly like the sad little 15-year-old kid who bought into the lie in the first place.

Luckily, I have an excellent reason to figure it out because I am determined not to pass this mindset along to the littles. I don't want them to think appearance is THE THING. I want them to know that taking care of yourself is important, but also that devoting massive amounts of time, money and energy to your external appearance is pointless. Being able to accept yourself, however, is priceless. Maybe in my quest to teach them, I'll finally be able to learn it, too. 

So I've made a resolution. The next time a perfectly coiffed, tarantula eyelashed, perky boobed, fit-to-impress-the-hell-out-of-some-lettuce Plastic tottles by me at the grocery store and remarks about my overly full hands or the spit up in my hair, I'm just going to think of her as a reminder. 

A very heavily perfumed reminder.

She's beautiful, and so am I, and so are you.

Just ignore the mashed potato toddler hand prints on my butt, mmkay?

Pin It!

No comments:

Post a Comment

What say ye?