Mar 20, 2014

Beauty: What and Why?

Yesterday after church, I put on my Shopper Hat and went to the grocery store. I was still dressed in slacks and a nice sweater. My hair was done and my face was well covered in makeup. Yet, despite looking my "Sunday best," a lady approached  me in the fruit/veggie section to give me a advertisement for her business, which involves botanical wraps of some sort that magically--err...naturally--reduce cellulite and surface fat. When she'd walked away, I asked the air, "Do you look like I need this?"

My prompt book is starting to be a staple for this blog. I found the following question intriguing: Would you rather be less attractive and extremely intelligent or extremely attractive and less intelligent? This, plus my Sunday afternoon encounter, motivated me to put on my Research (Google) Hat and search for how the definition of beauty has changed.

For one thing, being voluptuous used to be an attractive quality. Nowadays, a mere inch of excess fat is forbidden. Makeup, which was once a product exclusively for prostitutes and showgirls, is now a daily obligation. Nothing less than perfection is acceptable. Models that have obtained this "perfection" are a tiny percentage of the female population, yet we see them EVERYWHERE. Oh, and if their flaws are showing, there's always Photoshop.

I've often said that I'd like to hurt the person who decided women should have to shave. Apparently I need to injure the whole razor industry. The razor manufacturers pushed the idea through ads beginning in 1915 (armpits first, then legs later) until women were sufficiently brainwashed. Now it's practically a rite of passage. What exactly is wrong with hair? The stuff grows for a reason!

I'm such a hypocrite. Even as I write these words, I plan to shave during today's shower.

Paleness used to be a sign of the elite. The rich stayed inside while the working class baked in the sun. Soon enough, the roles were reversed. The wealthy could sit out and enjoy the sun while the poor were stuck inside factories and the like. With all the warnings of skin cancer, you'd think paleness would be popular again. But no, we now have chemicals that temporarily change our skin tone. I've tried them...and I prefer white over orange.

Here's a question with no easy answer: What's the point of beauty? Being beautiful is useful in gaining a husband. God used Esther's beauty to put her in the right place at the right time to save her people. To a point, beauty is used to gain employment. A good first impression can go far. There's value in professionalism (which includes clean clothes, tamed hair, and often times makeup). A certain amount of personal care is expected in the workplace.

But why should I attempt to retain my beauty? According to Proverbs 31:30, it won't last anyway. I'm married, and I work at home, so can I just let myself go? I mean, unless an event calls for a little dolling up, why should I bother? I know I still need to be healthy. Therefore exercising is still a must. Likewise, I can't go crazy with junk food. This prompt question challenged me to look deep within and ask myself, "How enslaved to society's opinion and my own insecurities have I allowed myself to become?"

So, would I rather have extreme beauty or intelligence? My answer is no to both. Either usually leads to a over-sized ego, and some of the smartest people are the dumbest. Average is best, I think, so I'll stay the way I am. I might, however, consider wearing makeup less often as a way to fight against my insecurities. What do you think? Which would you choose? Let me know by commenting below.

Hats off to you, my friend. I will write again, but until then...
hang on to your hat! ;-)

Mar 6, 2014

Who Would You Be For a Day?

My mom and I didn’t agree on a lot where entertainment was concerned. In fact, I missed out on some amazing movies due to my determined mindset to not like anything mom seemed obsessed with. However, mom and I did mutually agree on a few shows and films. One of them was Freaky Friday.

To me, remakes are comparable to leftovers; they taste fine but aren’t as good as the original meal. So when I refer to Freaky Friday, I mean the one starring Barbara Harris and young Jodie Foster, not Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. For those who haven’t seen either movie, the premise is that a mother and daughter switch places mentally for a day. The mom’s mind is in the daughter’s body and vice versa.

If you are a devoted reader of this blog, you’ll know that I haven’t written in over two weeks, which is a definite blogger no-no. For whatever reason—perhaps responsibilities, the weather, lack of energy, or depression—my passion for the written word has diminished to mere embers. Having no wind to fan the flame, I looked at a book of writing prompts for an idea. The one I picked was, “If you had to be someone else for 24 hours, who would you choose and why? What would you do?” In other words, whose hat rack would I rather have for a day?

First I went to historical times. How I’d love to be Jesus’s mother for a day! Especially when he was young. What would I do all day? I’d cuddle with my divine toddler, that’s what I’d do. Being any follower of Christ during his ministry would be unbelievable. I’d sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from the savior himself.

Finally I thought about my current family and friends. Would I choose to be a mother of eight and see if I could survive the day? Might I slip into the body of a pregnant friend to experience the miracle of a life forming inside my womb? Would I live in another country for the day? Of course, I also played with the idea of being my favorite singers and movie stars.  

As I thought and thought about all the possibilities, I realized how content I was with my life. No other hats seem quite as appealing as mine. As exciting as experiencing other people’s blessings would be, I’d also have to endure their burdens. I heard a spin on the grass-is-always-greener quote the other day. It said something like, “The grass is greener on the other side because it's fertilized with manure.” I wish I could remember the phrase exactly and who said it. Anyway, the message stuck. There are things I would like to change in my life, but I wouldn’t trade my life even with my best friend. I’m truly content.

 Hats off to you, my friend. I will write again, but until then...
hang on to your hat! ;-)