Beauty. Today I decided I am going to try to push myself out of my comfort zone a little more with it, again. It started a couple weeks ago, when I went to Forever 21 with my friend Sara and she encouraged me to practically drip myself with their jewelry. I had an anxiety attack because I was going out of my comfort zone by buying 4 (GASP) 4 pairs of earrings in one trip. This is about $25 at Forever 21. It was just - so decadent. And I am a preacher of good decadence. But still. I needed her prodding. I needed her to validate, "It's okay, you're worth this, I'm not judging you for this, you look beautiful."
(Earlier that day, I had read one of my daily "good with money for women" e-mails talking about the dangers of those spending sprees where you get a new dress, and then you just HAVE to get new shoes and jewelry to go with, and then suddenly you've racked up $500 on your credit card. And I was like, HA!!!! Though I do not think of myself as great with money, I have never done that before. Never. I agonize over every purchase, dress, shoes, otherwise. I overthink every single one to death to stop myself from buying things I won't use and don't really want. So when Sara and I were done in the dressing room finding some dresses for me to wear in Spain, and she said, "Now it's time to accessorize!" I was like, "What?! Really?! I don't think I've ever done that before - got some earrings to match a dress - YEAH!" And it was very good for me to go against the advice of that e-mail, because I had the $25 to spend on those earrings.)
I'm trying to wear my nails a little longer than I would normally, than I think is "practical." Yeah, they kind of bug me, but it's good for me. It's good for me to squirm a little for beauty. It's good for me to stop judging those women who have long nails.
Know who else I've judged in the past? Sue Monk Kidd in her novel the Mermaid's Chair, with a sex scene involving, among other things, the main character wearing matching bra and undies. Pshaw. Who has the time for such things? What a waste of money. What a stupid idealistic materialistic detail to include in her fantasy.
Guess what I must secretly want? Enough money to buy a matching bra and undies. (Or, to have sex with a monk. But lucky for me, that part just made me go, "Huh," not "Harumph!".) Which I could have if I tweaked a little here and there.
But I don't think I deserve that. I'm like 50% pretty to myself, and 50% ugly.* Half my photos pass muster, and half of them make me want to run. Half of my body I am proud to display, and half I want to hide from, even in my own mind. I am a product of the advertising age, and I'm a visual person to boot, so I can spot every good and bad thing about my face & body down to minutia. Most women can, but it can get OCD for me. And/or perfectionistic.
I think I don't deserve certain clothes, or a choice of spring pretty earrings, until I'm my optimal weight. I know I could be 10 pounds better. I know it. But guess what? I need to push myself, now. Like how in yoga, you're supposed to go to your "edge," where you feel warmth in your muscles, where you know you are stretching yourself.
I'm stretching my beauty comfortability threshold, even if I'm not at an optimal place. Most of those Forever 21 earrings are bigger than I usually wear, but I'm going for it. And guess who else I've judged? Women who wear those big Jackie O sunglasses. I thought they look like fly glasses. I thought they scream "Look at me, I have to hide behind these because I don't actually think I'm pretty." But that's not true, because Audrey Hepburn rocked them. They actually say, "I am gutsy enough to risk looking like a glamazon, and I don't give a fuck what you think." (Also, I recently realized, they actually shade more of your skin and eyes, so are more pragmatic & helpful.)
So, um, yeah. This Midwestern girl in the city is letting go of some more inhibitions and rules. Don't judge. Or, if you do, realize it, and come join me in the fun. Because, though it feels awkward, it *is* FUN. I dare you: take $25 and go to Forever 21. I don't care if you're Forever 75. Get thee a pair of shades and 2-3 earrings. I DARE YOU.
(*Seeing the 50% good has been a battle, and victory. If you weren't one of the "pretty popular girls" in school, which I wasn't, you think you are -100. Or maybe -80 or -75, but definitely not +50. Here's the secret that I finally realized the pretty girls don't want us to know: jewelry and makeup and the right haircut and decent clothes give you a HUGE BOOST, inside and out, and make you feel, well, at least 75%, no matter who you are. You might not be a model, but you'll look pretty darn awesome if you just allow yourself to drip with jewelry sometimes. Don't let the mean girls steal all the good stuff. It's yours for the taking as much as theirs.)