Do not read beauty magazines they will only make you feel ugly.

I know this was a trite adage in 1999.  Yet, 13 years later, I still love it.

I remember first hearing it in my junior year of high school.  I took very little of it to heart, even though I wanted to because I knew these were wise words.  But there were parts that I could not reconcile with my 16 year old view of the world.  My friends and I spent summers at the club trying to get tanner than each other.  My fair skin never could never keep up, so instead of thinking my sunburn would cause freckles, premature wrinkles, or cancer, I cheerfully endured it knowing it would yield a tan.

I was so silly when I was younger, thinking that the outer world would dictate the inner.  All those hours spent organizing my closet, lying in the sunshine, studying articles about how to get straight hair to curl, they were all such futile exercises!  Well, maybe not so much, since it is my penchant for order that helped me realize my professional aspirations towards librarianship.  But still.  All that precious time spent chasing dreams down a dead end.  All just distractions to release me from my swirling thoughts.  I never would have guessed it was motherhood that would bring a reprieve.

Fast forward to tonight.  I sat in the bathtub consciously relaxing.  There was a glass of wine nearby.  A couple of magazines.  Some candles too, but they weren’t lit.  I have only now finished my wine (two hours later) and the magazines…HA…they’ll probably only be read by the babysitter.  To relax tonight all I needed was the warm water and the quiet.  13 years ago (heck, two years ago) I required so many tools to calm myself down.  I used to beg for the inner peace necessary to drift off to sleep naturally when my body was tired.   Despite my best intentions the chatter inside was incessant.

Now I am responsible for this family of three.  It feels like I have exchanged my inner world of chaos and disorder for the present life of gratitude and peace.  The outer worlds have swapped too–the house is never going to be as perfect as I used to require it, and getting to bed before 10pm is practically superwoman.  It is a welcome trade.   It is so much easier to think living in this state near constant inner harmony.

These days my magazines lay untouched.  I floss.  I know this race I’m in is only with myself, and I will win no matter what.  I’m married.  I am my best self when I’ve stretched in the morning.    I have a son.  We dance!  I love and respect my mother.  I am friends with my sisters.  I’ve lived in the city, and in the country, and I know where I belong.  I am thankful.  I am happy.  I am at peace.

Oh, the sunscreen part?  I’m still working on that.  I think this year I’m finally going to put it on everyday no matter what, since I’ve finally found a potion that doesn’t sting: Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50.

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My thoughts...

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