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 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.
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–
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.