Beauty and the Beat...it goes on and on
Okay, so, what I want to know is this: why, after all of these years of dedicating myself to the spirit, to mind over matter, to the untouchable, indescribable reality of my Inner Being, do I still care so much about the illusory, ephemeral ever-changing impression of my Outer Self?
In simple terms: Why do looks still matter so much?
This has been the guiding theme of my past week—mostly likely because I am pre-moon-cycle—or, in layman’s terms: A Raging PMS Monster. But also because the question never really goes away; it only hides for a while until my hormones rage or my emotions flare, or until Facebook confirms the marriage of a previous flame to a girl 5 years younger and 5 inches taller than myself (No matter that I married the love of my life—because, after all, it's not about the guy; it's about the girl!).
Everyone focuses on diseases of the body, but I do believe that one of the most prevalent diseases of our time is one of the Mind (And, of course, ailments of the mind often lead to those of the body). I’m talking about Chronic Discontent, a disorder whose central characteristic is never being happy with what we’ve got.
Most of the time, I’m pretty darn happy. I am ever grateful for a face that the world tells me remains years younger than my age reveals. I am strong, healthy (thank you, god), and blessed with a body that was able to produce the world’s arguably most gorgeous, funny, and precious child I could ever dream of calling my own. I AM BLESSED.
But I am human. And I am a girl. And I live in the real world. And I love fashion and popular culture. And this means that some days, I will worry, stress, and lament my own LOOKS.
And yet, I ask you: Why do we do this to ourselves, ladies?!!
Certainly, it doesn't help that I happened to have married a plastic surgeon. He is beyond talented in sculpting bodies marred from childbirth back into their pre-baby glory and he is best known for his “natural” looking results. He also happens to be one of the most down-to-earth, LEAST judgmental people I have ever met. His aim is true and he delivers absolutely stunning results. But it doesn’t really help MY cause. You know, the one wherein I attempt to emphasize essence over appearance; spirit over image? After all, as a yoga instructor (primarily to teenage girls, at that), this is what I’ve come to be known for—my allegiance to a life that focuses on anything BUT image!
Again, allow me to point out my HUMANITY. No one who lives in the real world; in our egocentric, image-based, beauty-worshipping environment is immune to the obvious cultural biases and emphasis we place on looks. All we can do is RECOGNIZE when we are getting caught up in the illusion of it all.
Which brings me to the title of this post.
The other night, my hubby and I went to see The Old 97s—an awesome folk-rocky high-energy band (actually featured in the Jen Aniston flick, The BreakUp) led by the gorgeous and soulful Rhett Miller. Beyond just being excited to be momentarily out of our toddler-centric lifestyle, I was thrilled to get out and hear some good old-fashioned live music. And as we stood 2 feet away from the stage, and basically leaning against the bar in the tiny Phoenix venue, I noticed an interesting dichotomy—as only an over-analytical nutter like me would: The opening band—or rather, the opening singer/songwriter, was a slightly over-weight, semi-attractive girl with a nearly shaved head and thighs that def should not have been swathed in skinny jeans (just sayin’- boot cut flatters all, ladies). But her voice was UNREAL; her self-written tunes soulful, moving, chill-inducing. I watched her play guitar and belt out songs from her eponymous debut record and couldn’t help but envy her talent, her ability, her unique gift and means of expressing it. Standing in stark contrast, directly behind the bar was a fast-moving, enviably gorgeous female bartender. Tall and fit, with thick, wavy blond hair and a perfect (if “perfect” is what we find in Vogue magazine) face; a body out of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition; this girl had the looks Everygirl secretly wished she had.
And I couldn’t help but ask myself: which one of these girls would I rather be?
(Why I play these head games with myself is anybody’s guess).
In the end, I decided I’d take the voice and the talent.
What’s even more interesting is that, I do have the voice (albeit in a different form) and the talent. Or at least, that’s what I choose to believe. And I might not be tall and blond, but I’ve been called “pretty”—for whatever it's worth—a few times in my day.
So in the end, I decided I’D RATHER JUST BE ME.
This whole internal dialogue I had (none of which my husband even knew was going on, naturally) was a stark reminder that we should ALL (continue to) focus less on what look like and more on WHO WE ARE. Because ULTIMATELY, we only look as good as we FEEL. And the only way to FEEL GOOD is to live in our own gratitude for the life and loves and talents we’ve been given. And really, we’ve all been given SO MUCH.
Of course, I’m not going to relinquish my love of fashion or my addiction to platform shoes; I’m not going to toss my collection of Nars products or give up my flatiron. I’m certainly not going to stop searching for the perfect-fitting maxi-dress this summer.
I’m just going to start putting my energy towards what I can offer to the world, rather than how I look in it.