our friend Nikki helping my sister get ready before her wedding
When I think back to my earliest memories of my Mom, I remember watching her get ready before her and my Dad's Friday night date nights- Avon blush and eyeshadow, a spritz of that floral perfume sitting on her dresser, hairspray scrunched into her permed hair. It was the 80s and memories of color are vivid; big baubles and chunky necklaces, dangling earrings and layers of bracelets. And although my Mom wore makeup when she went out, she was never the type to wear it on a daily basis. I actually have no recollection of her ever teaching me how to apply it, or even talking about why women wear it- it just wasn't important.
I didn't start becoming interested in makeup until the 8th grade, and even then it was just a little powder and some Lip Smackers lip gloss. The circle in most girls' back pockets at school was a tell tale sign of that Cover Girl compact we all had, and I can remember sitting on the lunch patio powdering my nose and reapplying my lip gloss before class with all of my friends. So silly. Some of my friends were already wearing mascara and foundation at that point, but even though I noticed it, I never thought, hey, I want to do that too. At that point in my life my idea of beauty was probably something I saw in a magazine- YM or Seventeen, and much as I loved curling my hair before school and spritzing on my Sunflowers perfume (ha), it wasn't an all encompassing thing. I remember feeling pretty, which is a funny thing to write out, but I don't have memories of feeling anything but okay with how I looked, at least until later.
In high school I was so active in sports that makeup wasn't ever really a thing either. I was always either going to practice right after school or had a game or meet, so it didn't make sense to wear it to school only to get all sweaty later. Most of my friends wore it, and I wore it for dances, dates, or special occasions, but it was never more than some eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss. Looking back now I really do feel lucky to have had a Mom that never overtly put importance of outward appearances. Sure, she always looked put together and got us dressed up too, but it wasn't ever a thing. We were more than how we looked, and although she never told us that she somehow conveyed that to us very clearly.
College though was when I would say my personal idea of beauty and the beginnings of my own beauty practices began to change. I was living in a dorm then and later with my sorority, and we all got ready together all of the time. Even when I would go to class Friday morning in sweats after a long Thursday night out, I would still make sure I got "ready." As someone who has struggled with body image in the past I've tried really hard to pinpoint the why and how I started seeing myself and "beauty" differently. And really I'm not sure if I could ever point to one thing- perhaps I could blame media influence, or being surrounded by women who did put an emphasis on looks, but I think it was just a mix of a million different things. This shift happened sometime in my late teens to early twenties and it took quite awhile to get back to a place without self-judgment, as I've written about before. And now as a 31 year old women I do absolutely feel beautiful (most of the time), and it's neat to look back at this whole journey of self-discovery and the growth of this definition of beauty I now have, and see it all laid out, back there. I have this feeling of awe and respect for myself, having given birth to 2 children and seeing my body change and grow big and shrink again, and in a way I think I'm just to the point where I am SO tired of wasting any time thinking poorly of myself, you know? What's the point?
In my long-winded round about way I think I kind of answered the question at hand, but I think I could go on forever about it. I've only just kind of touched the surface, and as much as I'm tempted to go back and add paragraph after paragraph, for the sake of keeping this somewhat readable, I'll leave it. I could go on about so much- there's a lot to be said about being a teenage girl, and the different expectations put on us as women, but that would be many more pages of writing. Perhaps I'll touch on that another day. There's also a conversation in here somewhere about raising children and the concept of beauty. How to talk to them about what they see in the media, what it means to be raising a daughter in today's world, where many of their "role models" in popular culture may be much different than what we grew up with. So much to discuss!
But anyway, that's my response. I really can't wait to see what you shared this week! Post an excerpt and a link your own post below. And as always, thank you for participating in this series. I'm LOVING it.
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Read previous Journal Days here.