Beauty Is Not Filter Deep

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If ever I go missing, or am held for ransom, or land in a situation that requires you, or strangers to submit photos for someone to be able to identify me, please remember two things.

First, do not pay the ransom—my kids need their college fund. Okay, that’s a lie.    I don’t want to die. PAY IT!

Second, do not, I repeat, do not use my Facebook or IG photos.


No one will find me.

Unless, it’s in the distant future and everyone is walking around like Cyclops, from X-men minus the burning laser beam, instead wearing ‘filter’ enhanced glasses. The kind of glasses that let you choose ‘amaro’ or ‘rise’ to enhance your visual experience among other features, like the ability to add falsies, facial contouring, teeth whitening, and make everyone look two sizes smaller—yep, then you’ll find me.

But only then.

If the situation is dire, make my husband give the media the real, honest, unedited photos that hide in a dark place, armed more securely than Fort Knox, somewhere within my photo stream. (I seriously doubt my captor will allow me to let my powder ‘bake’ or has glue to reapply my fake eyelashes.)

This is “real talk” my friends.

We can laugh, or roll our eyes, but in kind, the subject of beauty is almost as hot a topic as religion.

And everyone has an opinion, because society as a whole is V.A.I.N. (I bet you think this article is about you, don’t you?)

Confession, I am so guilty of buying into vanity. Everyday. (this is where I whisper, or scream we all do, on some level. Sorry, not sorry.)

Aside from the hormones that make us cry a lot, I absolutely adore being a woman. I’ve never looked at my husband and thought, “yep, should have been born a dude.” Maybe a little, when faced with dirty public restrooms, or immediately after pushing for two hours in childbirth, but aside from that, nope.

As the fearless leader of my small estrogen army, I fiercely believe in the power of being female. How could I not? I am immersed in the land of female drama daily, our house breathes it, and yet we are still making it (and keeping the only man in the house alive too–that counts).

Women endure. Period.

But being a woman in 2015 is hard, like crawling through the trenches of a humid jungle, with no hair tie, in a down-filled parka, with a headache, after just starting your period, and craving a piece of chocolate something fierce, hard.

We’ve all faced a mirror and thought, “It’s bad…really bad. Jesus take the wheel…I can’t.”

But here’s the part that I refuse to be apart of, the stigma I force myself to fight against for the sake of my daughters: turning my own vanity against other women.

“There is nothing which vanity does not desecrate.” —Henry Ward Beecher

We’ve all done it on social media, passed another woman’s photo (with our pinky and noses raised) on Facebook or Instagram refusing to ‘like’ it because their highlight reel shined a little brighter than ours that day. Or we begrudgingly hit the ‘like’ button, but settled on the notion that it was the filter, or the make-up that captivated us, not the real live subject, nevermind their un-fair bone structure.

Why as women, knowing the battle we face with our own self-worth and self-esteem, would we make it harder on one another by spreading more negativity?!

Simple: it’s the flesh, but what we forget is that we are all equals. Death says so. (that was heavy, here’s where I declare in 2016 they invent immortality, better, huh?)

If you’re not lying to yourself, you know all that lives in the land of Facebook is not real. Yes, some people really do go to the Mediterranean and have dream vacations, not me, but others…and yes, her skin really is that flawless, curse you acne, but some aspects within all our feeds is not real, I promise.

Remember vanity is a full, blown epidemic. We are all striving to act like we have our crap together 24/7 and that one minute, or even one second does not stink one iota either. I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know, crap stinks.

I refuse to accept that everyone honestly believes that our lives are as shiny as our next filtered photo, or that we look 100% exactly the way we portray ourselves on social media once we fall off the internet and into real life.

We don’t, unless your name is Jennifer Lopez.

Fun fact: When you’ve got four kids, it takes 103 photos (and me yelling, Avayah, Adalynne, Amelia, Anabella LOOK at the camera, say CHEESE, smile, ACT LIKE YOU LOVE YOUR SISTER, YESSSS WE ARE TAKING ANOTHER ONE, oh my gah, I know, S.M.I.L.E, just forget it) to get just one, in which they are all looking at the camera and smiling in unison, to post on Facebook.

The stress and pressure of making it look like our lives are perfect is insane, but somehow, we still voluntarily sign up to compete and then act like someone forced us to do it.

I read an article the other day that said we live to be offended. I realized there was truth in that statement.

How dare she always crop her arm out of the photo (You know that photo where your face looked great, but then there was your arm looking twice as big as your head, yeah—we’ve all sliced it out of the picture and posted it and it’s okay).

How dare she be so talented with make-up (I am so thankful for those talented women, otherwise I’d still be eyebrowless).

How dare she be that stunning without make-up.

When we should be thinking…

Make-up does not devalue beauty.

Bare faces do not devalue beauty.

Filters do not devalue beauty.

We do.

We get so wrapped up in negativity, feeding the endless appetite of our own bottomless vanity that we smother our own dignity.

We’ve got to set an example for our daughters, the next generation, to get it right.

Beauty is not filter deep.


Beauty is humility of the soul.

beautiful [byoo-tuh-fuh l]

1. having beauty; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 3.57.49 AM

We need to nurture the growth of our daughter’s qualities: faith, confidence, patience, kind, moral, intelligence…

Raising women to support one another so that we can be secure together. Just because you may delve in bright hues, or choose intense smokey eyes, and false lashes does not mean you are some negative stereotype, or trying to hide behind a mask of unhealthy emotions.

Make-up can be just make-up and you love it. If you rock some serious skills in blending, highlighting, and contouring, or have a legit tire fire going on around your eyes, or even draw inspiration for your look from Meme off the Drew Carey show—GET. IT. GIRL.

If make-up isn’t your thing, and you flaunt your natural skin, or even minimal make-up—GET. IT. GIRL.

Before we pick one another apart on social media based off our images, let’s not forget how cruel the world already is. Don’t let yourself buy a one way ticket for a ride that takes you to the bottom of your dignity and leaves you there. Instead, aim to empower and celebrate how beautiful women are.

We are brilliant, soft, strong, heroes, passionate, bring babies into this world, breastfeed, nurture, love, endure, we are so much more than what our vanity begs us to be–insecure.

Now, go burn your bras, while dancing around the campfire declaring I. AM. WOMAN…here me roar!

Really, go tell the women in your life how beautiful they are for the inner qualities they possess, then find a mirror and gander at yourself without thinking one negative thing. Be kind to yourself mama, friend, mother, daughter (whoever you are–even males, aka my husband reading this), life is hard for everyone.

Compassion (even for yourself) is key.



Justin Timberlake, Mamahood, and Oh, no you didn’t!

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Not long ago (it was a year, but I remember it like it was yesterday…), I went to a Justin Timberlake concert.

My fierce, inner 13 year old fan girl was brought to life by my husband, when he casually tossed this one little sentence (that would change my life) at me, “Sarah, pick a friend because I got you two tickets to see Justin Timberlake in concert tomorrow night!”

My reply might have went a little like this: hands in the air, over my mouth, now flailing in the air while I dramatically yelled, “Are you serious? What?! Oh My God! No Way! You’re joking!?!!?!?!”

When it was apparent he was serious, I followed up with a strange happy dance, which probably looked like I was a victim of convulsions, while I squealed like a school girl, or a dying cat–I’m realistic about my ear piercing tone-deafness–and when it all became too much, I dramatically fainted.

Fainted! Okay, that’s a lie, but…

It’s. Justin. Timerberlake.

I’m a millennial; we ALL LOVE JT.  If you don’t, we can’t be friends.

I’m sure that Travis momentarily thought about shredding those tickets. (This was 2014, not 2001 when I had braces, my room was covered in every JT poster I could rip straight out of J-14 and Seventeen Magazine, listening to the N’SYNC album with the songs ‘it’s gonna be me’ and ‘tearing up my heart’ on repeat, daydreaming about the day I’d become Mrs. Timberlake.  Back then, I was certain it was going to happen, along with 10 million other girls, but hey…)

So I snatch the tickets from THE BEST HUSBAND EVER, drive to my friend’s house, kidnap throw her in the vehicle, and we blaze the trail to OKC.  Of course, we have the best time–Justin is beyond incredible, the seats are amazing, and I swore JT actually made eye contact with me for like .0005 seconds, but it happened (in my head).


See…He totally spotted me (from ten, okay it was really thirty feet away)

Afterward, high on emotions of seeing Justin Timberlake live, my friend and I go to a pizza joint in downtown, the only place open after midnight that’s not ‘da club’.  This is where I should tell you that I’m a weird social person–day to day life, I’m a hermit.  I don’t leave my house often (it’s that whole taking care of six people thing, relentless housework), but when I do go out for social events, my filter completely vanishes.  I end up talking to everyone (the waiter, clerk, random person in the parking lot, old man standing outside ‘da club’), I literally Don’t. Shut. Up.  I think it’s a disease.  Or it’s that I’m at home mainly trading conversation with a two-year old all day, every day and when I get adult interaction I freak the freak out.

So I’m standing inside the pizza joint talking to a stranger, who is female.  I think we’re bonding over our love of JT, but there is only so many times you can trade back and forth that the concert was ah-mazing before you have to pick another subject.  My intro is always, I have four kids–for the record, yes, I want sympathy, because I’m probably on the spot, caught red-handed achieving at procrastination on an epic level.  “Yes…four kids, I know, it’s crazy, all the time, and I don’t even know how I survive…” I might even throw in a tear or two, followed with complete facial exasperation so it’s oscar worthy.  I’m sick, I know.

Confession: I have a procrastination addiction.  There, now you know.

But honestly, the beauties are tons of work and Jim Gaffigan nailed it when he said this about having four kids, “Imagine your drowning and then someone hands you a baby.”  If there is one thing the beauties give me, it’s heartache, headaches, delusions…I’m kidding, a little/lot, but truly they give me confidence.  I am keeping them alive, I’m raising them to be good human beings, teaching them values, life lessons all the things that make motherhood so freaking gorgeous…

Even talking about my kids makes me feel dressed in confidence, so there I am, proclaiming that I actually grew four tiny humans inside me, when the stranger shoots back, “why would you do that to yourself?”

I was momentarily stunned. I try my best to avoid awkward situations (talking to strangers doesn’t count)—I don’t have the coping skills, and it physically paralyzes me until I have enough adrenaline to run away.

After I blinked, frozen in time, sinking further into those seconds—the ones that break the ice leading into a pool of awkward silence—I finally sucked in a breath, feeling my palms tingle.

It. Might. Have. Took. Everything. I. Had. Not. To. Slap. The. Beetle. Juice. Out. Of. Her.

In that fleeting moment, I couldn’t grasp any words to defend myself, (I was still high on Justin Timberlake, did I mention he was 10 feet from me? And I’d just consumed four, I mean two, really it was only one slice of pizza and tequila (we won’t count that)), so in response I laughed—it’s was too loud, too maniac sounding—probably the sound that Carrie makes before she burns it down.

I won’t go as far to say that I’m not confrontational, but I’m far better sparring when I can ‘write my feelings’ than on the spot disputes—I think my husband has started fearing letters from me, “this is a love note, right?”

Even after I laughed, I still found myself reaching for the benefit of the doubt, surely she was kidding, right?

Maybe, maybe not.

But hear me when I say, there was no humor to be had by me. And I usually laugh, or smile when I have the all four beauties trailing behind me in Wal-Mart–the scene is dotted by at least one screaming, walking too far ahead, or just plain out having a bad day and usually people will say as they pass us, “bless your heart, my you have your hands full, or geez that’s a lot of weddings to pay for.”

I can play that game, usually it’s harmless—I know it well, and have probably heard it all.

I have a good sense of humor, and if my husband has taught me anything, it’s to laugh at myself. Maybe I was hypersensitive that night, but by choice, and one that obviously not everyone agrees with—Travis and I decided that four it was, and we have never looked back.

“Why would you do that to yourself?” It was a snub that I took so very personally, because I have made my girls my life—chose to forgo my own career aspirations so that I could keep having babies, while my husband missed so many firsts, working to provide for his large family. The statement she made robbed me temporarily of any joy in the CHOICE of having a large family, like maybe it was wrong.

What was she getting at? Worried about the impact four lives would have on this Earth—like are the beauties going to eat all the food supply? Take all the vaccinations? Cause the economy to fail?


See, four doesn’t look scary, right?

Laugh with me…just laugh.

Or did she think I was missing something by having four?  Believe me I’ve missed plenty, I was pregnant and nursing over half my 11 year marriage to date, but it was bliss (not all the time, but when it counts) and I have no regrets.  I believe in the power of choice and what works for you as an individual.

And I also believe in the power of opinions.  Have them, you are entitled to them, but yes here comes the but, I also believe that what you do with that opinion reflects your character.  In anything and everything, but especially Motherhood, we need to take a step back and severely re-think what we let out of our mouths towards one another.  We have got to be tolerant of others—what you may see, may not be someone else’s vision for their own life. You don’t have to agree, but you should be kind.

Compassion people…for the love. ‪

When someone tells you that they have one kid, two kids, or even twenty kids, and that they work full-time, part-time, or stay at home…smile and offer them chocolate or wine, or even just a dang hug, because Motherhood is freaking hard no matter how many you have. Period.

Now go hug a mama, she needs it!