I'm tired of people bragging about their assets and status like it actually means something.
I was watching Oprah’s “Lifeclass” on OWN (comes on weeknights 8pmEST/9c, by the way-GREAT STUFF) about aging and placing an immense value on physical looks, and in the opener, Oprah said something that struck a chord with me. “I was never worried about being or staying beautiful because I was never what society considered pretty…I might not have been beautiful, but I was smart… My intelligence is what I had to sell…everything external changes. Everything external eventually goes away; dissipates and goes away. But if you have cultivated the internal…your inner life, your inner wisdom, your inner-spirit; a connection to what really matters in your life, the aging process will not be difficult because you will know who you really are and you will accept it…”
Her statement was especially salient to me because I’ve lived my life based on it. I was the “almost pretty” girl growing up. People always used to say “You would be pretty if…” or “You would look better if…” In grade school, my perceived shortcomings were always pointed out to me and it was implied that if I could just change, I would be accepted or noticed. In the 6th grade, the “cool” girls suddenly became my friends because I got new sneakers. Excited to finally have their approval and desperate to keep it, I colored my shoes to give the appearance that I had a 2nd new pair. That didn’t go over too well. In the moment that I was quickly put back on “ignore” status, I realized that I had been reduced to my shoes and that if the girls had accepted me at all, it wasn’t because they liked ME. It was my external that they liked. From that point on, I rebelled against anyone or anything that tried to reduce my value to my external. Anything I poured a lot of energy into was going to be a testament to who I was on the INSIDE, and if one wasn’t interested in that, they had to go.
Kim K's ENTIRE career is based on her looks.
In high school, I enjoyed dressing up and getting makeovers, but I never indulged because I felt like doing so was giving into the superficial demands of my classmates that ousted me for not being “cool enough.” If guys I went out with met me while I was dressed up, I’d show up on the 1st date in a hoodie and jeans. It was important to me that they understood I didn’t always look like a Barbie doll. If they didn’t have a painted face, perfect cleavage and lady humps under complementing fabric to focus on, they’d have no choice but to pay attention to the words coming out of my mouth. That approach may have been a little extreme and I now reserve my “natural habitat” look for a more appropriate time, but I did it. A guy who had typically seen me “dressed down,” saw some glam club pictures of me online and commented “Look like this on our lunch date?” I quickly responded “I’ll look how I wish to that day.” When I do glam up, I do it because I want to and not because someone wants or expects me to. That’s freeing. It’s so pertinent for me to be seen as I am and acknowledged for my inner-self, I CANNOT STAND being misinterpreted or misunderstood. It angers me, it frustrates me-but that’s another post for another day.
I never wanted a career that would centralize on my looks. I believe having such a vocation type puts you in a disposable position. If even just one aspect of your looks falls out of place, you’re done. It doesn’t matter what else you have to offer. You’re done. Additionally, people don’t take you seriously when you’re a “face” or “body.” They never see or appreciate your soul because it’s never shown. They never hear or respect your words because you don’t have a voice. It’s “give me my pretty, and leave.” Disposable. A friend of mine wanted to take a part-time gig as a stripper. He has his own site where he expresses his societal views and has a hard time getting his demographic to focus on the issues at hand, as many of his supporters tend to comment on his looks, proposition him romantically or make a joke of serious subject matter. I told him “if you think its difficult getting people to pay attention to topics now, start stripping. It’s going to go from “That cute guy with the political site” to “That’s the hot piece of a** from the club. I think he has a site.” I would be hesitant to do anything that would take away from your brilliant and beautiful mind to bring attention to your beautiful derriere.”
Born this way: barefaced Lady Gaga
My mother never taught me how to use makeup. While I kind of wish I knew how to use a little bit of it now (for when I feel like glamming up), I’m glad I grew up without it because I accept (and like) my natural look. I’m not a slave to makeup or too paranoid to go with a bare face. I used to hate my toenails; they were always a little discolored. When I was younger, I would go to great lengths to cover my toenails; wearing stockings, anally painting over chipped nail polish and sweating out in closed-toed shoes during the summer. Eventually, covering became a job, and for what? I thought “these are my toenails and they always will be. They aren’t going to change. I might as well save myself all this extra work and just accept them.” I’ve felt better about them ever since. I’ve used the same approach with other parts of my body that I was ONCE uncomfortable with. I can say that I am perfectly fine with my body. I love being naked and love passing my mirror naked even more. I look pretty darn good, I must admit.
I wrote this passage mainly to reiterate Oprah’s point. The “cultivation of your inner-self” will not only help you with aging, but with life. There are a lot of things we either can’t control or can only influence to some extent (like our physical looks), but you have ultimate control over who you are on the inside. You have the power to define who you are internally, however you want to define it. Once you have defined who you are and have accepted who you are, it’s so empowering because no one and nothing can take your self-acceptance from you. What you know about who you are on the inside supersedes what anyone else feels or says about you. “Cultivation of your inner-self” and self-acceptance will help you get through life because when you have nothing else left, you will always be able to look within and know your soul is still there. No, knowledge of your inner being can’t pay bills, but dealing with life stressors can get more complicated and come more often when you don’t know who the hell you are or don’t like yourself. Do things that illustrate and HONOR who you are on the inside. If you are forever pouring back into your inner-self, it will be harder for it to get lost. Things that take away from the illustration and honor of your inner-self don’t deserve much (if any) of your time. Don’t allow yourself to be in situations that will cause you to wake up and not recognize your own reflection. For those that have done things you’re ashamed of or things that make you feel your value has diminished, that action was something you did. It’s not who you are. You don’t have to repeat that action or negative pattern of behavior. Repent, forgive yourself, and start your new life with your new definition of self. I suppose that’s enough preaching for today. I hope that all made sense.
“If you go to college and you’re educated and you know all the theories and you know all of the answerers, that’s one thing, but when you know who you are- that’s the beginning of wisdom.”-Beyonce`
My dump area for all my random thoughts, observations and advice that don't fit into the other categories.