Beautiful, just beautiful

Image “The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.” Audrey Hepburn

I don’t like billboards. I find them distracting especially when they are advertising Brazilian butt lifts. And they invade the space where the tops of trees and sky should be.

There is one particular billboard in town with a woman lying on her stomach that is especially cringe worthy. Standing in front of her curvaceous body is a plastic surgeon. With his arms crossed, a wide smile revealing teeth so white they seem to make an audible ting, is his prideful message: “Beautiful, just beautiful.”

Nauseating, just nauseating.

Last week I went to the dermatologist to make sure I didn’t have any ominous looking moles. Thankfully she didn’t see anything suspicious. This is a relief since I am fair skinned and grew up running around the desert and swimming in pools not wearing sun block. But she did recommend that I get expensive laser treatments to get rid of “my rosy glow”.

I felt like Rudolph being shunned for his bright and shiny nose. I hope I will still be allowed to play in all their reindeer games.

As I drove home, I thought to myself, “Do women not use blush to look rosy?” (I, in fact, happen to have an illuminating blush I purchased, and it's actually called "Orgasm.") And doesn’t everyone appear healthier and happier with cheeks colored from blood pumping physical exertion?

Then last week I went to the makeup counter to purchase my favorite moisturizer. There is probably no place that makes me feel more terrible about myself then a make up counter. The bright lights and illusionary perfection in the faces of the sales people are enough to make me run. The man that helped me was incredibly nice. But then he too commented on the redness of my complexion. I didn't ask, but I guess that is what I get for purchasing overpriced lotion at a nice department store.

All of this attention on our appearances has always felt incredibly uncomfortable to me. I can’t help but think about how freeing it would be to live in a world where we aren’t constantly bombarded by messages telling us that we need to be something different than we are.

What if we exerted the same energy on accepting our physical flaws instead of trying to change them?

When I look in my rear view mirror and see the sweet face of my daughter, I wonder what beauty will mean to her as she grows up. I relish the fact that right now the glass slippers on her little feet and her “waterfall” hairstyle (Thanks Sal) are enough to make her feel beautiful. I pray that she never feels like she needs to change her appearance just to be accepted, validated, and loved. And I hope she never believes the far-fetched lie that if we spend enough money and devote enough time to our appearances that we will finally feel good enough about ourselves. The truth is we have to go inward for that.

At the end of the week on my way to a dance class, I contemplated what kind of money I wanted to spend on changing my skin tone. At the end of the high impact part of the class, the instructor told us that our workout was done and that it was now time for our work in.

When we work in, we may find we need different things to make us feel beautiful. And maybe in the future I too will start spending more money on procedures. (Heck 15 years ago I never thought I would spend so much on tinted moisturizers.) But I hope for us all that our definition of beauty comes from our own making and not from a male doctor on a billboard or a video or a magazine.

I also hope my daughter knows (and that I too can remember as I continue to get more wrinkles, more broken blood vessels, and gain weight in places I never knew was possible) that what is really beautiful is doing what we love; helping others with a sincere and earnest heart; learning new things; sitting with the light of a sunrise, sunset, moonrise or moonset lighting our faces; and the way our eyes sparkle when dining with a person we love in the warm glow from the flame of a candle.

We are beautiful when our souls dance to the music that moves us. We are beautiful when our hair is standing on end and our heart is pounding out of our chest.

Because this is when we are part of and not separate from the nature all around us. This is when we are most alive.

And this kind of beauty doesn’t cost a cent, and it never ever fades. To me this is truly what is beautiful, just beautiful.