Today I wasted an hour of my life. I wasted this hour of my life doing my hair and make-up, which is something that I never ever do, except for maybe a wedding.
Sometimes I wonder if I am missing something. You see all of these pins on pinterest about diets, beauty, makeup, hair and fashion. And of course I suppose there are endless television celebrities and advertisements still out there brainwashing women into believing a certain image of beauty. There are the billboards and the magazines and the female idols in the music industry too. If you take part in all of these types of media, you can see that there is a certain image of beauty that is always being portrayed. Thin waist, tiny body, big breasts, long hair, big eyes, full lips, flawless skin, etc. This image of beauty which many women are forever trying to attain in the world (or at least in North America anyway) is, however, not real and is deceptive.
I think it is all to easy to fall prey to believing that this image is real and is attainable if it is constantly being put into your mind. And there are so very many of these messages out there that it is downright scary!
Here are some more images I found on pinterest under the “Health & Fitness” category.
There are so many messages and quotes scaring women into fearing weight gain or staying at the same weight/being content with where they may be at and there are many pictures of models (who are being paid to look that way and whose photos have been airbrushed) that people believe are just what a normal “fit” and “healthy” woman is supposed to look like and is what they too can look like if they just exercise a little everyday and watch what they eat.
The saddest thing to me is when I see pictures of young women (women who are already beautiful and at a healthy body weight) posting pictures of their before and after weight loss statuses and their weight loss goals, basically hating their bodies as they are (or were) and forever trying to get to another, lower, weight. Many people pin these pictures as inspiration for their weight loss goals too.
If you click on the images they lead to a blog where all the person posts about is their weight loss statuses, what they ate, how long they worked out that day, and endless self-taken photos of themselves in their underwear.
The reason why I felt fired up to write about this today is because I remember when I had real body image issues a few years back when we still had T.V. and I was buying fitness and fashion magazines, always trying to achieve that image. Every time I would look into the mirror, I could never be satisfied with my appearance, even after I had lost 100 lbs! I still always hated what I saw and wanted to weigh less and less. I still never looked like that image that I had in my mind of “beautiful”, “healthy” or “fit.”I spent all of my thoughts on food and exercise and all of my money on clothes and make-up. I took a million pictures of myself, just like the girl in the picture above and weighed myself daily or sometimes multiple times a day. At my darkest point, I had got really into calorie counting/restricting and bulimia because I was afraid to ever eat anything or keep any food in my body. I would either throw up after eating, or would have to do another hour long workout even if I had already done one or two that same day. I was never happy and never satisfied because I was completely selfish and obsessed with myself and my physical appearance.
This is one of the only pictures of me that I kept from those dark days of eating disorder misery. I may look happy, but I wasn’t at all.
A body shot with clothes on. I hated myself then (even though I look like a healthy weight) and got much thinner over the next few months, but I deleted all of those pictures so I never have to be reminded of that scary time of my life.
I also wore a lot of make-up all the time, bleached my naturally red hair and put on false eyelashes to be prettier.
Now, you might say that that is just a sad case and that I just had issues with self-esteem or whatever else, but I believe that this is a reality for many women. Women who are striving to attain this image of beauty most likely have an eating disorder and are obsessed with their physical appearance. They are afraid to gain weight, they are afraid to eat and they hate what they see staring back at them. I believe that this image of beauty is one that is of a demonic nature and can actually latch onto you and destroy your life if you aren’t careful to protect yourself from these deceptive portrayals, stay conscious enough of what it is you are allowing in your thoughts and stay grounded in reality.
I took a picture of myself today after having straightened half of my hair and doing half of my make-up to compare the real from the artificial.
The real me has naturally curly hair, lots of freckles and light (almost unnoticeable) eyebrows and eyelashes. I also have problems with my lips being dry and cracked often and an occasional few breakouts on my skin.
The made up side shows my curls straightened out, my freckles and any redness covered up, my eyes and eyebrows are defined with the make-up and I put a bit of pink lipstick on.
When I began to make my appearance up today, my daughters were wondering what the heck I was doing. They were asking all sorts of questions about what was in my make-up bag and what certain items were for. As they watched me straighten my hair, I talked to them about covering up real beauty and trying to fit an image and how this is what many women spend an hour or more on everyday before they can go anywhere. They thought that was really strange because I never bother doing my hair or make-up to go anywhere as a normal part of my morning.
Autumn also timed me to see how long it took and it was just over an hour. An hour wasted. An hour that I could have instead spent cooking, cleaning, playing with them, writing a blog or nourishing my soul and spirit instead of only focusing my attention on my physical self.
I guess that my message today is this, don’t waste your life! Don’t waste your precious time on something that is so insignificant and fleeting. Yes, it is good to exercise, eat healthy and stay fit. Yes, it is fun to put on a bit of make-up or do your hair (and I suppose that it is necessary for some jobs), but watch yourself and watch your thoughts about beauty and reality. Be mindful of what the media is feeding you and be mindful also of the messages that you too are sending to your own sons or daughters by spending hours a day on your physical appearance, obsessing over your weight, or what types of media you allow in your home (music, T.V. magazines, etc) that your kids are also hearing, seeing and interpreting as reality.
Let’s teach our kids (and ourselves) what real beauty is and instead make it more of a priority to spend our time focusing on and nourishing our spiritual development while we are here, rather than something that is only going to fade and doesn’t actually make any difference in our lives, the lives of others or the bigger picture. Let’s get past ourselves and our selfishness and see more through the eyes of love and compassion for others, focusing more on how our lives can make a difference in the life of another and planting good messages and seeds in our consciences and in our world.
That’s at least how I would rather spend my life. How about you?
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You are beautiful, inside and out.
I’d toss the makeup and hair iron dealie personally.
LOVE! we here were just talking about this! especially how commercials really have a strong hold on such things. Let’s bring back natural beauty, of all shapes and sizes 🙂
Great post. We need to be reminded of this often. You are right on with this.
I found your blog some days ago and I love your way of explaining yourself into simple but profound words.
I admire the courage you had to talk about this topic and it’s funny what I experienced, because it is the opposite more or less… I love my home and my kitchen, my boyfriend and the small natural world I’ve chosen to be surrounded by. My problem was the fear of appearance and appearing in front of a person, most of all in front of myself. I used to neglect my beauty –the beauty of my soul- by avoiding make up and stuff like that. I wanted that nobody could not notice me.
For some years I’ve been looking to the mirror and painting my eyes, my cheeks and my lips with colours and powder. Make up means often “superficiality”. To me “make up” means being aware of my face, “facing” my face in front of the mirror with no fear, every single day. I am beautiful because I AM. You are beautiful because you ARE. I love make up because it is like “painting”…it’s part of my ART and my fantasy. Now I love going out without make up and I sometimes stay at home cleaning and cooking with make up. It’s funny, because is the opposite of what you said, but I know that the aim is the same: the healthy way of appreciating deep beauty. What we experienced was necessary to be free and happy now.
With the sun in my heart, I wish you good luck for your wonderful life and family,
Thanks for your kind words Alice! I think that this topic (as with everything else in life) is about balance. We are physical human beings, but we are also spirit. Finding the right balance is so important, but not always easy. The important thing is to love ourselves in the right way and to live free. Thank you for your comment. 🙂
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post. I needed this! And FYI, you are so incredibly beautiful inside and out! ❤
Thank you Aimee! I am glad that this was a message that you needed to hear.
Very thought provoking. Thank you.
I couldn’t agree more Tiffany, with all that you said! Time is precious and we should use it well😊
This was a great post. I really appreciate your honesty and openness. You are 100% right. I spent most of my life obsessing about my weight and image, and I was almost never happy.
Now that I have kids I realized none of that matters and I spend my time and money on them…and it makes me happy. Yes, I am very fit and healthy but my #1 priority is being a good mom. When I do that everything else just falls in line naturally.
I agree Shannon. Making others happy is what truly brings happiness. To see my kids happy is my joy also. When we give love away and focus on others before ourselves, I think we just feel more full and less empty. It reminds me of a quote I like, “You cannot be selfish and happy at the same time.”
Were you in my head today? As I was taking a shower I realized how I rush through it because I simply can’t stand the wasted time – I’m not one to stand there forever and take a long time on my hair and wear much make-up because that’s a LONG time to do all of that everyday. I have things to create and time to spend. ❤ ❤ ❤
Glad that this resonated with you Melissa! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story! Doing a half & half picture is a neat idea. I am glad to have grown up in a home where the focus was never on weight or looks, but on being healthy. My mom never wore makeup or anything either. I occasionally did in college, but rarely do now, unless I’m going to a wedding or something. I hope to be a good example to my children as well about the importance of inner beauty. Sometimes my husband will say things like he wants to lose weight, etc. and I wish he wouldn’t say those things in front of My daughter. But here in Malaysia the culture is very outspoken about weight. When you haven’t seen anyone in awhile they will almost always either say “you’ve gained weight” or “you’ve lost weight” drives me nuts! They will also point things out like if you have a pimple in the middle of your forehead. Yes, I know, thank you, what do you want me to do about it??? Ugh!
🙂 Thanks for your comment! I think it is important to set a good example for our daughters. I don’t think make-up is bad, but it is just what it is called “make-up” or make believe beauty and not really real, so I think it is important for them to realize that. I am also super conscious about not talking about weight in front of the kids. It bothers me when anyone talks about their weight in front of them, because I don’t want them to become weight-conscious or to judge people based on their weight either. Too bad people make frequent weight comments there. I think that as long as we set a good example as mothers and teach our kids about the inner beauty and instill them with deeper truths and values while they are young then they will be OK. They truly do learn by example.
I am shocked at how much money some women spend on color for their hair, highlights, low lights, fake nails, fake tans, etc. Then no one knows what normal looks like any more because everything is so “done up.” I am a natural blonde and I had someone ask me what color do I call my hair…I said, ” mousy blonde.”loL!
Also, I think you and your girls are beautiful!
The cost of maintaining a media-portrayed image of beauty can be outrageous! I know when I was getting blonde in my hair and buying make-up all the time it was costing us plenty and would make my hubby pretty mad. To be comfortable as your real self is free! Thanks Wendy! 🙂
I believe I’m the first male to comment?
First off, I enjoyed the read. I realize that there is indeed a problem with the way the media portrays the female body, but (the kicker) is that they (the media) are just giving society what society wants, unfortunately. Yes, there are niches where “natural” and “curvy” are given a pedestal, but they don’t sell nearly the copies or read nearly as often. I feel that the only way for women to do a massive turn-around when it comes to body-image is to have celebrities talk about it, and go beyond… and that means “walking the walk” as well.
My wife does a lot in terms of make-up, hair, nails and is constantly measuring herself up to flat-bellied women. I know there is a lot of determination in there for her own sense of accomplishment, but there is also a great deal of thought into “maintaining appeal” for my benefit (eventhough I tell her weight, hair and such doesn’t matter *much*). Men who truly love their women are going to want their women to be healthy and happy – bottom line! Women need to start believing this! “Healthy” DOES include eating right and working out – so “loving someone how they are” should not mean that either individual should take the easy route, following only the pleasurable path and say “but this is how and who I am.” Beauty has a lot to do with the intangible qualities. I love that my wife is motivated to be healthy. I love when she is driven to learn something. THAT is sexy. THAT is a turn-on. – Michael
Thanks for your comment Michael! I feel that women give a lot to the industry too because they are the ones falling prey to the messages, buying the magazines with the half-naked women in them and all of the beauty and weight-loss products that are being marketed to them. I agree that if we want to see a change then we have to do something about it and not just go along with the media-portrayed false images of beauty. I also think that us women have to really believe our men when they appreciate our real beauty. My husband is the same and tells me all the time he loves me with or without make-up or no matter what I weigh. He loves me for who I am and especially finds my happiness and confidence in who I am attractive. We both are interested in living a healthy lifestyle, (body, soul and spirit) which I am grateful for. I also agree taking care of health is so important. I in no way mean for anyone to neglect their physical self/health or appearance. Exercising and eating right is crucial to overall health. The problem lies in the obsession that it can unfortunately too easily become when we compare ourselves to others and/or a deceptive image that is not even attainable. Thanks again!
Thanks for such a great post. I absolutely agree with everything. The cosmetics industry, the cosmetic surgery industry, the diet foods industry, the fitness and slimming publications industry – and more and more – all of these industries rely on making women feel like cr*p about themselves.
I agree that dolling yourself up a bit now and then, is fun. And fun is what it *should* be, it should be done to enhance enjoyment of being oneself, not to smother the artificially induced fears and self-loathing that these industries create in order to exploit us and our purses.
What a beautiful post!! The wasted time notion is spot-on, I definitely need to keep it in mind when I think about my “routines.” Usually it just annoys me that it sometimes takes me so long to get ready, but I never thought about it in terms of the other things in life I could be enjoying instead! Thank you for this heartfelt message. You are a beautiful person, outside and inside!