Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Beauty Uniform

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful;
for beauty is God's handwriting- a wayside sacrament. 
Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, 
and thank God for it as a cup of blessing."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Before you judge me as a narcissist (and, by all means, feel free) let me explain this post.  I regularly read the blog Cup of Jo.  You can read her series by the same title here.  I find it so interesting to read about how other women view beauty, what things they do to feel and look their best, and what compromises they won't make for outward appearance.  In the back of my mind I thought it would be fun to write a similar post.  (For the record, the other beauty uniforms are full of photographs.  Pictures tell a wonderful story.)

This picture looks like me to me.  I am a healthy weight, 
my hair is natural, I am wearing workout clothes, 
and I've got Boo in my arms- the light of my life

I have always been a seeker of beauty.  I look for it everywhere- the splash of color when I slice open veggies for dinner, the delicate bloom of a garden rose, the look on my students' faces when I recognize who they are.  My friend Christina recently shared this video on her blog, showing how powerful it is for people to look each other in the eyes with silent respect.  There is so much power in being truly seen for who we are.
As I get older and spend more time alone, I am realizing the importance of taking the time to see myself.  I am learning to look past what I perceive as imperfections- the cellulite on my thighs, the beginnings of wrinkles across my forehead, my uncontrollable hair- and see the person underneath that.  Do I like her?  It is important that I do.  It is important to be proud of yourself.

This is me after completing the Porcupine Hill Climb.  I was so proud in that moment.
 I did the majority of my training alone and had two major oral surgeries and the flu
 in the months prior.  When I see this photo, I see courage and Grace.

This photo was taken on the same day as the bicycle climb. 
 I had showered and had a salon blow-out.

A funny thing about beauty is that it can't be your top priority.  It has to have some substance underneath in order to be real.  As my brother Joe wisely says, "if looking good is your top priority, then the highest spot that being a good person can have is number two."  If being a good person is your top priority, you're going to have a surprisingly beautiful life.  

Me and my mom.  This was the first time I filled in my brows.
Hello eyebrows!  Hello bold lipstick!
School pictures 2013-2014

So, that said, here is my beauty routine. I love make-up. It is transformational and fun. I had permanent eye liner done five years ago and it makes my routine so much easier. Doing my make-up in the morning takes about five minutes. I spend more time cooking and meditating. I use three basic products- Clinique superbalanced foundation in ivory, Maybelline mascara in brownish black, and MAC eyeshadow (which I use to fill in my brows) in omega. If I’m feeling special, I’ll add blush or lipstick or Clinique chubby sticks on my eyes.

My hair is naturally super curly. If I brushed it, I would have a fro. I have tried out different products, but right now I’m liking the Loreal Paris line for curly hair. I just scrunch in something at night when I shower and let it do its thing. I straighten my hair about once a month or so either at home or at the salon. When I do that, I try not to wash it for a few days.

My favorite moisturizer is coconut oil.  I believe in taking time each morning to sit still before the busyness of the day hits.  I believe in drinking lots of water and eating natural food.  I also have a serious addiction to sugar and caffeine.  I do the best I can.

As far as personal style, I love anything that looks classy, elegant, and simple. I love pink and flowers.  I love little necklaces or jewelry that is meaningful. I will never tire of my Chuck Taylor Converse all-stars. I also appreciate being able to get sweaty. Half my wardrobe is workout clothes.

Speaking of workouts, I exercise almost every day. I do a mix of cardio, Pilates, dance, and yoga. I love learning to move my body with strength and grace. I am not one for pushing around big weights (my body excluded). I love my bike and spending time outside. I just love the sense of freedom I get from being outdoors. I love the sights, sounds, and smells I experience. I love to clear my mind and connect on some level with nature. Nature is a phenomenal teacher.

Me and my grandmother.  She will be 88 this month.  
I would describe her as happy, sweet, industrious, and beautiful

Growing up, I watched my mother be herself. She is such a lover of truth that she doesn’t know any other way to be. She taught me to think for myself, to tell the truth, to work hard, and be kind. I watched my mother and father live lives that were directed by and deeply motivated from the heart. Superficial things have never been important to them. They are beautiful people.

I hope I never have an answer to the question “what is beauty?” It has a mysterious quality that keeps me seeking. I do know that beauty comes when there is presence, authenticity, courage, humor, and a genuine willingness to connect with another human being. Beauty is a reflection of its source- infinitely unknowable, infinitely kind.

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful, brave and honest post! Just like you. I think your thread of beauty follows this line from the lovely poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay: "Beauty is whatever gives joy"...or courage or humor or authenticity...Thanks for sharing!