Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The pursuit of beauty
Don't you ever wish you were beautiful? I mean, seriously, like "knock out" beautiful? I remember a friend of mine from high school telling me that very thing once. She lamented, "I don't just want to be cute or pretty, I want to be a knock out!". I feel ya Lindsay! Well, my friends, this a desire so deeply set in the core of our hearts that it never fades away. Now, before I get started on my story, I know our friends and family all think we're all beautiful and we feel the same way about them. But, lets be honest, do we really believe them? When your family tells you you're handsome or beautiful, you're probably thinking "Yeah, yeah, you're just saying that because you have to". Why is it so hard for us to believe good things about ourselves? Why do we go through great measures to get noticed?
As I write this, I dealing with a case of the "un-pretties" today. I forgot to put on mascara this morning while I was getting ready for work. I felt so "blah" without it, that I actually drove back to my house real quick to swipe some on. (I only live 2 blocks from my office). Yes, I couldn't believe I did that either. Today, I don't like my hair, and I haven't liked it for 3 days already. I feel like chopping it off! And, I've been looking in the mirror telling myself its time to carve some abs into this muffin top! Man, I really beat myself up. So what does this have to do with anything, you ask?
My younger brother Marcus got married this past July. It was a beautiful wedding and words cannot convey the deep joy I feel for my brother and my new sister! I'm overcome with joy! In the weeks before the wedding, I decided that I was going to look my best at this wedding! I was going to lose some weight and rock my dress, my hair was going to be awesome and by golly, I was going to turn heads!!! Well, my plans didn't go quite as well as I thought.
When I got my bridesmaid dress in, I couldn't zip my dress all the way. I literally felt like the seams were going to bust if I sneezed! So, I got up at 5:30 a.m. everyday for a month and a half and walked two miles. Wedding day: the dress zipped with room to breathe!!
I decided that I wanted to have the smoothest skin ever, so, I waxed....yeah, it didn't work out so great. The wax strips wouldn't come off of my skin right. I had bruises all over my body where the strips were pulling my skin. The worst part is,a few days before, a friend of mine was going on and on about how she finally removed the hair from her arms and how great it felt. She was like "Steph, you need to try this! Its the best feeling ever!". I've always been self conscious about my arm hair, so I thought, why not. So, during my waxing "escapade", I decided to wax my arms. Bad idea. It literally ripped off patches of my skin. I was pink, red, purple, bruised and in agony. I threw the wax away and I have since vowed to never wax again!! Its just me and a razor from now on!
As I looked at my skin, I realized, I need a tan! If you know me, you know I'm pasty pale. I mean, I'm fish belly white! So, the next day, I get my happy self over to the tanning salon and get my first spray tan. Now, I've learned to accept the fact that I'm pale and that "regular" tanning is not good for me. So, I do my best to embrace my paleness. But, remember, I want to look my best. So, here I go, I'm spray tanning. I get out, and yeah, I'm liking it...alot! That is until I look at my arms. Remember how the whole "waxing" thing didn't work out so well and it ripped off patches of my skin? Well, I looked like I had a skin disease! I had white blotches on my arms where the tanning stuff did not adhere to my freshly exposed skin...and there was nothing I could do but eventually let it fade away. Talk about EMBARRASSING!
Then, I decided that I was bored with my mousy brown hair. I wanted something different. Not funky, but classy. So, I decided to dye my hair black! And, to save some cash, I asked my aunt if she would color my hair at home. I go to rinse the color and I have dye running into my eyes and it burns so bad. My hands were gray for two days from rinsing my hair. And, I had some black patches of skin on my forehead that I had to cover with my hair until it wore off. Lesson learned: Vaseline the heck out of your skin before you dye your hair and use some gloves!!! But, all in all, I like my black hair.
So, the big day arrives. Everybody, especially the bride, looked stunning. All eyes were on Gabby and Marcus, as they should have been. They had my undivided attention and I was raptured in their joy! But, at the end of the day, I remained the same. After all the "preparation", I didn't feel any different. I thought "What was all of that for?" Who was it for? Me?
You know, sometimes we don't think anybody sees us. I mean they "see" us, but not really. God reminded me that He sees me. When nobody seems to notice, He gives me His special attention. Undivided attention. He calls me His own. He calls me the apple of his eye. And I believe Him! He loves me despite my flaws and faults. He just...sees me. So, today I'm reminded that I have a God who doesn't care about my appearance. He doesn't care about my hair or makeup, clothes or weight, race or social status. He sees my heart. He sees my soul. And he still loves me. I belong to Him and He belongs to me. And when I think about his love, I don't just feel beautiful, I feel free!