In my dermatologist’s waiting area, there are a few areas of distinction. The muted color scheme is lovely and soothing. Then, there is this cascading water feature in constant flow adding to the serenity. It all makes for a pleasant experience as you wait to be called in for your appointment. That is, until you start watching their video feed.
In this feed, it shows you the additional services they offer besides skin care. While I appreciate the ads for sunscreen, everything else I could do without. According to this video feed, I could use help with my furrowed brow, crow’s feet, sagging cheeks, skinny lips, back fat, and let’s not forget, my droopy caboose. It was hard to sit there and watch as each successive product or service offered was like taking a bullet to my self-esteem. I texted a friend during this ordeal for validation and support. No sooner than I hit send, I looked up to see I also could use a “chin assessment”. Apparently, the angle of mine is ‘wrong’.
As women, we are expected to uphold a ridiculous standard of beauty. No one really talks about how insane it all is, but I imagine, most of us could rattle off ten to twenty things about our appearance that we don’t like. If we had unlimited resources, I suppose each of us could spend our time fixing these ‘flaws’, but when would it stop? Most of the options available are temporary at best. Who has that kind of time for all that upkeep?
When I think about real beauty, the kind that is sustainable through years and transcends aging, I always think of my Mom.
To me, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
She kept her hair short, rarely wore make-up except for the occasional swipe of red lipstick, and preferred jeans and t-shirts as her wardrobe staples. What made her beautiful wasn’t her adherence to unrealistic cultural beauty standards. Instead, it was the sparkle in her clear-blue eyes, the playful laughter that would rise from within, and a smile that lit joy into whatever room she entered.
That’s the kind of beauty I want in my life. The best part of this kind of beauty is that it isn’t earned. It’s uncovered. It shows its way through the cracks of our facade by living life. It emanates from a soul that has weathered loss, but still finds the ray of sunshine peeking through the rubble.
It is intangible and perfect.
It does require upkeep, but not by spending hours and dollars at a doctor’s office. It shows up when we follow our hearts, love without limits, and let the stars of heaven shine through us.