“You know what I’m going to do this year? I’m going to open a credit union account for my face lift – It just makes good sense.”
I shuffle in the chair, make interested ‘uh huh’ sounds and inwardly debate the merit of waging into beauty-parlour-small-talk with my opinion. I try my best to bite my tongue, but I just can’t. What becomes of us if we all just leave these attitudes unchallenged? So I take a deep breath
“Hmm It’s fun to make the most of what we have, but we are all getting older, isn’t it just better to learn to accept this somehow? – won’t that ultimately make us happier and better people?"
“I hear what you’re saying, but what about Victoria Beckham?”
“I’m not sure what you mean?”
“She isn’t aging. Some people defy aging.”
Admitting defeat on such specificities I offer my last tuppence worth,
“I guess it’s all fine and well, just as long as you’re giving as much attention to what’s on the inside as what’s on the outside” (preaches to self)
I am met with stunned silence. Then I hear her whisper-repeat my comment to herself…..more silence.
“…what’s on the inside, I’ve never heard that before. I like that. I’m going to remember that”
And now I’m stunned. Stunned and grateful that I move in circles where face-lift-fund comments (and the like) do not go unchallenged.
It’s all so seductive – you can make yourself a brand new person, again and again. All you have to do is shop, exercise, groom, tan, bleach, pluck and…. vajazzle (latter worth mentioning on grounds of it’s existence being my case and point. Also, because vajazzle is a funny word)
I pay for my (totally unnecessary and overpriced) treatment and meet eyes with myself in the mirror - Am I better now? Do I cut it? Can I compete? These are the questions I ashamedly ask myself far too often, I’m no different than face-lift-fund lady really, but I guess at least I know that there are other voices to listen to and there are other faces to look at than Victoria Beckhams (nothing personal on good old posh, I bet she’s a great girl).
With so many messages thrown at me, It’s hard to hear the signal amongst all the noise. I’ve heard it said that my value shouldn’t decrease because of someone’s inability to see my worth. But isn’t that all dependent on how I attribute worth? If beauty = worth and "Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them." (or, beauty is in the eye of the beholder), then what if no eye beholds and no mind contemplates me? What then is my worth?
We all misplace our worth in some way. I want to hold fast to what I know to be true of my worth. I believe that I am not loved because I am valuable. I am valuable because I am loved (cough cough, that was a God bit). So I need not boast in my own efforts, nor must I toil and “try try try” to earn what is freely given. Keeping perspective of this when dating, that is a work in progress because dating exists in a cruel, savage world of first impressions, where image is king. And alas it is The Year of Dating. Survival demands I must learn that dating is something I do, not something that defines.
To borrow from the Skin Horse in the Velveteen Rabbit (and to manipulate the metaphor somewhat to meet my own needs here) I want to be so real that I don’t mind being hurt, because I know that I am loved though I be shabby and loose in the joints. Imagine how absurd it would be for the Skin Horse to go and get the toy equivalent of a face-lift (all pimpled out like a Bratz doll?) considering the love that has been lavished upon him. He need not earn it. It’s there.
I am not my job, I am not who I date, I am not the dirty dishes piling up in the sink, I am not how fabulous my hair looked yesterday, I am not the fine lines forming around my eyes, I am not the mysterious feathers that have somehow exploded all over my car, seriously.
(It's ok to be psyched or bummed about these things (especially the feathers). But I'm learning that a disproportionate response to them is telling of a misplaced sense of worth.)
I am loved, really loved and loved real.