Let me make a confession right up front. I have a little streak of vanity.
Put a nicer way, I take pride in my appearance. I never leave the house without some makeup and I practice a morning ritual of styling my hair. I file my nails and moisturize my skin. I shave and tweeze and primp. I check myself in the mirror before heading out into the world. I’ve always been that way and suspect I always will.
A streak of vanity? Guilty as charged. Foolishly attempting to live up to the narrow standard of beauty set by our culture? Not on your life. Not when I was 20 years old, and certainly not now that I am 50.
Do you ever get the feeling that somewhere out there is a mold of what a woman should look like… and that what you see in the mirror bears no resemblance to that mold? However our standards of beauty have come together, I’m not falling for it.
The lure of beauty is strong, and we’ve got ample tools at our disposal to achieve it. Some even jeopardize our health. Tanning beds, teeth whiteners, Botox® injections, nose jobs, facelifts, tummy tucks, liposuction, breast augmentation, self-starvation, expensive designer clothing… it boggles the mind.
What is it that we hope to achieve by worshiping at this altar of physical beauty? Perhaps self-esteem… attention… happiness… success? There are far better ways to achieve those.
Physical beauty, even the ultimate shining example of it, changes as we age. Time and gravity serve no master. They do what they do regardless of how much we are willing to suffer to slow them down.
In the end, it’s all about you. YOU — the human being who resides within that slightly less than perfect and continually aging body. Then again, who gets to decide what is perfect? Nobody but you.
Next: Taking a good, long look in the mirror.