Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

There’s been a #20beautifulwomen challenge going around on Instagram for some time now. You’re supposed to post a picture of yourself when you feel most beautiful and then tag 20 other women to participate. Literally these selfies are all up in my feed. I’m not a huge fan of selfies–either for myself or others. I don’t mind  people posting pictures of themselves but it’s hard for me to understand several times a day like there’s nothing else out there as important. I haven’t been tagged which either means that people know I don’t go for that nonsense or they don’t think I’m beautiful. I’ve been dreading possibly getting tagged and having to explain my aversion to having my picture taken. Surprisingly, maybe a third that are doing it say they dislike having their picture taken. That is hard for me to believe. They are some of the prettiest out there.

I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about this topic but the conclusions I came to surprised me. Some of the people who did the #20beautifulwomen challenge said things like “everyone is beautiful” or “all women are beautiful” or “we’re all beautiful”. I disagree wholeheartedly. NOT everyone is beautiful physically. There are a lot of unattractive or downright ugly people. Maybe not so much on Instagram but out in real life. You’ll see people that will make your skin crawl. A lot of the physically beautiful people are shallow or ugly inside which negates their beauty, at least in my eyes. Then there’s the people who you don’t consider beautiful at first but as you get to know them, you’re kind of struck by their beauty in every day things. Like their generosity or kindness makes them beautiful. Or how they care for their children with such love or how they handle customers or coworkers with so much humor and grace. Some people are beautiful on the outside, some are beautiful on the inside and some are beautiful inside and out.

I’ve tried to examine why I personally hate having my picture taken. It’s not just how I look physically. I don’t really think I’m ugly even though I’m overweight and have any number or imperfections. A large majority of pictures I have my eyes shut in which makes me look like a dork. That’s beside the point. I don’t like having that kind of attention where I know I’ll be judged. All this time I thought it was self-loathing. I don’t really like myself. I searched on WordPress under self-loathing and it has people who REALLY hate themselves and are into self-mutilation and self harm. That is so far from me. I don’t want to hurt myself in any way, shape or form. I appreciate the body I have and that I’m able to walk, talk and function as a normal person. I don’t take those things for granted. I do have constant feelings of self doubt. What it boils down to is  I don’t believe in myself.

Beauty is nothing more than confidence. If you are a confident person, you will come across as beautiful. You will project the image that you believe you are beautiful. You are in charge and know what you’re doing. Most of the time I feel like I’m posing as an adult. An imposter who is just winging it as I go through life.

I have a whole other post I need to write about being overweight and what that does to a person’s psyche. Especially a lifetime of being fat and all that goes with it. To shorten the story some, I’ll just say that I was fat since birth. As kids will, I was constantly teased and called Fatso. It made me cry. I cried a lot. I felt powerless over my weight and powerless over how others saw me. I was bullied by 3 different kids in our neighborhood, one included daily beatings. Society was different back then and it was just accepted. An older 6th grade girl got up in my face one day (about 2 inches away) on the school playground at recess. I wasn’t older than 3rd grade but may have been even younger. I didn’t know this girl from Adam and she felt the need to say, “You are so ugly.” Wow. It was unprovoked and I had no response. I just started to cry. Looking back, this girl was super homely herself but I would never go out of my way to hurt someone like that, even if it was true.

Obviously, I have gotten over the above incident and the majority of the other teasing and name calling. However, it did change me in a profound way. I became even shyer. I was a shy kid already and this just made me go into my shell more. I had friends but for the most part, I tried to blend into the woodwork. If someone felt the need to tell me I was ugly, I needed to not be seen. To stay out of the way and not make people have to look at me. When I got to Jr. High School (7th-9th grade), it was a new start and I rose above all this. I even became somewhat popular and loved school. This lasted until I went to High School.

Anyway, feeling that kind of judgement makes me self conscious about everything I do in public. To this day, I’m horribly self-conscious. I don’t know how to fix it. Even making someone wait behind me while I count out change in the checkout lane makes me nervous. I feel like I’m not worthy of holding them up. Or any number of things I might do in front of someone, I feel like even if they don’t say anything they are thinking bad things of me. I don’t talk about this but it is always there.

I don’t feel worthy as a human being a lot of the time. I avoid mirrors. I was raised without a lot of compliments. My dad never gave compliments and my mom was raised without getting them so for her, the best thing she could say was that I looked, “Clean from home.” My dad never told me he loved me which is par for his generation but it still made me insecure. My mom told me and I believed her. I always felt like parents are supposed to love you and when one of them can’t, it has to be my fault. Well, after my dad died, I figured out it had nothing to do with me. However, it still had been ingrained in me for my entire childhood. I would hear my dad talking about my acne or how I needed to lose weight. Even my mom wanted me to lose weight the worst way. I have never wanted to be loved for physical beauty. The Amish side of me wants to be loved because I’m a good person. My husband has told me I’m beautiful (once in a blue moon) but I have a hard time believing it. He also likes to tell me, “You’re such a good person.” I believe him but wonder why no one else notices.

After reaching adulthood, no one dared say outright how fat I was or call me Fatso. But I would catch people talking about me behind my back. Like in a bathroom stall at work. I almost had a panic attack when I heard 2 women I hardly knew talking about me and just picking me apart. They didn’t know I was in there and I stayed in there until they left so they never knew. These 2 women were about the same size as me, maybe a bit bigger. They dolled themselves up though with makeup and hairspray. I just didn’t measure up to their standards.

I don’t know how to love myself. Or even like myself. There’s parts of me that I like but not my looks. It wouldn’t matter if I lost weight, I would still feel the same way about myself. I know this because when I was younger, I did lose weight and I still had no confidence or self esteem.

I admit I am a bit jealous of those with high self esteem. Those that can look at themselves in a mirror and think they look fabulous. I’ve often wondered how everyone else gets such a high opinion of themselves. Do they give themselves pep talks daily? Tell themselves how wonderful they are if no one else will? There’s a woman about 650 lbs. on Instagram who people are constantly telling her “you’re so beautiful”. I don’t get it. I’m not saying she couldn’t be beautiful at that weight. I don’t know if they really mean it since to me, she’s not. But she acts like she believes it and agrees with them. I wouldn’t want people telling that to me unless they truly felt that way and even then it would make me uncomfortable.

There’s a book I heard about called “Unworthy: How To Stop Hating Yourself” by Anneli Rufus. If anyone’s read this and think it would help, let me know. Otherwise if you’ve gone through anything similar or know what steps to take to make me like myself, do tell. I’m all ears! In the meantime, I’ll be looking at all the selfies for the #20beautifulwomenchallenge and feeling left out and out of place. I should be used to it by now, I’ve had enough practice.


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Below is the post  I wrote on 12/12/12. I had something else I published around that time so was going to wait a few days to post this. Then the Newtown, CT tragedy happened. At that point, I didn’t want to post anything. Everything seemed so trivial to what the families of those children were dealing with. The country as a whole was wrapped up in what had transpired to the point of not having much interest in a nything else.I didn’t want to write a post about the shooting and its aftermath because there were thousands of others doing that already and much better than I could. There are so many blogs out there that delve deeply into painful subjects to the point where I get depressed and tearful reading them. It’s almost exhausting for me to invest so much emotionally in the painmongering bloggers. I never want my blog to be a downer for people. I want it to be food for thought, not make you feel like your heart’s been ripped from your chest.
I have a million other posts on my brain that are more timely or that I wanted to write before the year comes to a close. Instead I find myself fired up enough to write about Narcissism. I’m using a capital N because a small n just won’t show how big of a deal this is. My online dictionary app defines the noun as: an exceptional interest in and admiration for yourself. This has reached epic proportions in our society. I was taught that everyone should love themselves. I don’t and never have. I can like parts of myself and maybe love things I’ve accomplished but I have never been able to love myself. It’s not anyone’s fault that I can’t except maybe my own. I’m not bringing this up now to delve into the depths of my soul to uncover why I don’t love myself. That’s for another post.
Instead I want to marvel at how others are able to so easily love themselves. First off, I think having a blog is a form of self-love. A person has to think they have something worthy for others to read. So with the number of blogs out there, there’s a healthy appreciation for just about every blogger’s writing skills, sense of humor, ability to turn a phrase, bring out the pain from their past or the optimism to look for the best in every situation. That’s not really at issue here either. Even if a person dwells exclusively on their own feelings, activities, opinions, that doesn’t make them a narcissist in my eyes. To me, I have never had the level of self-confidence where I seek out attention on my looks. Part of this is from being fat all my life. I’ve never reached my goal weight but have come close. I feel like the same person no matter what. On Instagram and Twitter, there is a constant stream of self portraits (selfies) flooding in. I understand people wanting to document where they are and what they’re doing at all times. It’s a sign of the times. It’s the constant barrage of pictures taken in a bathroom mirror or while sitting in the car, etc. It’s like bragging. Some of the people that do this I do find beautiful. Others could not be considered attractive by any measure. Yet they all think they need to be seen every 10 minutes. I don’t think I’m jealous per se. Maybe just jealous that they have such a high opinion of themselves. I happen to think there’s nothing more beautiful than someone who doesn’t know they’re beautiful. They don’t flaunt their looks, they just live and people notice.
This isn’t a complaint as much as it is commentary on the importance of looks in our society. People no longer dress up like they once did yet I swear they have more self-esteem than any generation before them. In a world that can be cruel and judgemental, I guess it’s good that people are tooting their own horns. To a degree! I’m not a vain person by any stretch and sure wouldn’t want to ever be described as shallow. Nowadays I wonder if being shallow is considered a bad thing anymore. People seem to not hide their vanity or be ashamed at how superficial they are. Remember how it counts just as much what’s inside a person as outside? If we could take a picture of what’s in our hearts and the goodness inside us, would people still post a million pictures even if the contents of their souls were empty? Maybe everyone thinks they’re good looking even if they’re not. Sure, looks are subjective. What one person thinks is beautiful, someone else might be repulsed by. Maybe everyone thinks they’re a good person, even if they’re not. Like pedophiles, arsonists, rapists, murderers, etc. all thinking they are deep down a good person. I’m not buying it. If they do, they’re delusional. Maybe as far as looks go, I need to let people be delusional about how good they look. Instead of writing a blog post, just unfollow them.
I don’t want people I follow or the people I like on Instagram to think I’m talking about them. From what I’ve noticed over the years, the ones who get overly sensitive when you complain about something are the ones who aren’t doing it! The ones who do it will not think I’m talking about them! In any case, when someone takes a nice picture of themselves on Instagram, I “like” it if I think they look nice. I give compliments freely, when in the mood. I don’t know if that’s part of why people are putting self-portraits on there. If they are itching for compliments. The ones who get the most are probably giving the least. I think everyone who gets one compliment should have to give 2! To anyone. If you don’t get any, you have to give 3. I’m not talking fake compliments, I’m talking genuine. You can find something you like about someone else, can’t you?! If not, you might be a narcissist. 😉

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August 2nd was Happy Hair Day for me. I had a 10:15 am appointment to get my super long hair chopped off. This is something I had been thinking of doing for over a year. Talk about procrastination! I didn’t know what hairstyle I wanted or who I wanted to have cut it. I just kept waiting, expecting the answers to magically fall in my lap. That I’d see the exact hairstyle I wanted somewhere or someone would recommend the perfect hairstylist. I didn’t just sit idly by, I spent time looking online. Anyone who’s ever looked up businesses on Yelp! knows that those reviews are so subjective. A place will have mostly 5 stars and then have a few 1 star horror story reviews. I just wasn’t comfortable taking the risk this time.

 5-6 yrs ago I had donated 13 1/2″ of my hair to Locks of Love. That time I found a hairstylist online by looking at the Locks of Love website. (They have since taken the links to salons down off their website.) Her name was Madeline and she was an older woman who worked part time. The salon was in the town I live in but on the south side. It was a good experience and I was happy with the initial cut. I went back to her a few times later but then eventually started letting my hair grow out again. Since I was stuck in a rut and couldn’t decide, I figured I’d go back to Madeline. I knew what to expect and I felt pretty comfortable with her. I had no pictures of the before, during or after that time so I had my husband come along to photograph Thursday’s session. He volunteered, I didn’t force him. 😉  I went overboard with the pictures this time and posted most of them to Instagram who sent them to Twitter for me. I am going to attempt to put pictures in this post. If you don’t see any, you’ll know I failed. If they are screwed up, you’ll know I tried.

As I said in my previous post, I was tying this hair cutting event to my milestone birthday which is happening on Tuesday. I’d built it way up in my mind, to the point where I was as nervous as if I was going to the doctor. And that’s pretty nervous! There was nothing to be nervous about except the unknown. I had a few pictures on my phone of short haircuts so I showed them all to Madeline and explained what I liked about each one. My hair is naturally curly so I used to just scrunch it when it was long and wet and it would curl right up until I combed it.
Madeline is such an expert at cutting hair, she can talk a mile a minute and her fingers are just automatically working in tandem with her tools of the trade to cut the hair. It was great to be back in the hands of a professional. First she put a cape on me and got some rubberbands to ponytail up my hair. She didn’t have a ruler so used a comb marked 6″ to measure how long my donation was. It was 6″ twice plus at least 3″ more. So 15″ total. The salon was now taking hair donations for Wigs For Kids and already had 4 other ponytails to send along with mine to the charity. Madeline then cut through the hair above the rubberband. She placed it on table of the station next to hers. She had my husband fill out all my info to mail in with the donation while she took me back to be shampooed.
At this time she told me my haircut would be free! That was such a nice surprise. At the end of the haircut I thanked her and tipped her $20. I hope that was fair. I’m not familiar with going to salons and what they charge and how much most people tip for a haircut. I wanted her to have something for her time. It took about 40 minutes total and she’d alotted 45. Anyway, after the shampoo she worked her magic and actually listened to what I said and did it! That really impressed me. She made it as short as I wanted while giving me a soft feminine look which was important to me. It felt so good to have it short. Like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Today it is even more noticeable. I look in the mirror and I feel like I was hiding behind all that hair.
I love being able to help someone in ways other than money. I could have not donated my hair and just let it be swept up on the salon floor and put in the garbage can. Instead, it made me feel good to get a fresh start and give back to someone else who needed and would appreciate the hair. I recommend anyone who’s thinking about doing it to give it a try. If only I’d started doing this when I was younger, I could’ve made it a hobby and done it like 6 times already! 🙂
To make the day bigger and even more memorable, we left from the salon right over to the Driver Services Facility, also known as the DMV. The closest one to us is in the next town over, Niles, IL. It was ridiculously crowded so I had a 1 hr 35 min. wait. For renewing a driver’s license and getting a vision test. I barely passed the vision test which scared me half to death. I know I can’t see as good as I should. It was exactly 2 yrs ago I got an eye exam and glasses and thanks to genetics, I’ll be getting new glasses the rest of my life. 😦 Anyway, I need to get in and get a new prescription in the next few months. At least something went right and I passed! I then had to go wait in line at the cashier and pay my $30 renewal fee. Then wait in line to be sent over to the seating area for photography. There was only one open seat there so I sat squished in with a bunch of people and waited. They called us up in groups of 8 people to stand while they had one person at a time sit in front of a blue background. I didn’t wear any jewelry because I didn’t want to worry about the earrings while I was getting a haircut but it would’ve been nice to have some on for the picture. Thankfully, my new license is good until 2016 and hopefully longer! The last time I’d gotten my pic taken there was 8 years ago. 4 years ago they had let me renew through the mail. I paid and they sent me a sticker that I affixed to the back of the license to extend the expiration date another 4 years. All this because I was a Safe Driver and their facility is overcrowded.
We rounded out the day by having lunch at Dick’s River Roadhouse in Mount Prospect, IL. It’s a sports bar that serves food. They have the best ribs anywhere! They had sent me an email certificate for a free entree for my birthday so I wanted to make sure we went on a day they had ribs. It was a great way to celebrate feeling short hair sassy! 🙂

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Hair 50

I’ve been working on my “100 Things” post for a few months. By “working on it”, I mean I typed up what that came to mind in one sitting and never looked at them again.  I did realize that too many of them centered around hair. One day I wondered why not make up a “Hair 50” and leave more room for the “100 Things” post? So here I am. Anything you want to hear about in detail, you can mention by number in the comments. Feel free to use mine as a guide to post your own “Hair 50”. 🙂
1. I had cornrows once. I couldn’t resist getting them in Barbados.

2. I donated 13 1/2″ of my hair to Locks of Love 5 yrs. ago.

3. I want to do it again but can’t find a hairdresser.
4. I’m so uncomfortable in the hair salon setting. I just don’t like the atmosphere. Not to mention how hairdressers talk to you in such a judgey way.
5. I’d shave my head for charity.
6. My hair is naturally curly and gets frizzy in humidity.
7. I refuse to wear hairspray. Aside for my dislike of the chemicals, it makes me feel like I have helmet head.
8. I had a perm once at age 15. Never again. Plus the perm smell is one of the worst for me!
9. I don’t like using blowdryers either. I prefer to let my hair air dry.
10. I went blonde when I was 21 for 7 years.
11. I loved it. Blondes do have more fun!
12. The first time I did it from a box at home and turned it red.
13. Then I went to the salon and had it corrected by a witch.
14. The upkeep on the roots was horrid.
15. Usually I had my mom touch up the roots. When I went to a salon, they accused me of waiting too long between trips. I always went 6-8 wks out and they would argue that the growth looked like 3 months.
16. I was told by my hubby’s sister-in-law in front of everyone that my hair was green once (from swimming pool chlorine). How embarrassing.
17. As a kid, my mom took me to the beauty school for haircuts.
18. I’ve never cut my own hair.
19. My mom makes me cut her hair. I hate it and I’m terrible at it.
20. My husband trims my hair. He’s bald. He does a great job.
21. I used to get compliments on my hair more than anything else.
22. I don’t see a lot of hairstyles I like on others or in magazines.
23. I collect barrettes. I don’t have a ton but have more than most people.
24. I had the Dorothy Hamill wedge haircut at age 14 and liked it.
25. Riding a motorcyle without a helmet is never a good idea. Especially if you ever intend to get a comb through your hair again.
26. As a kid, my mom accidentally tried to brush my hair with pennies in the the brush (stuck in it from the bottom of her purse). Ouch.
27. I don’t like wearing hats but do when necessary.
28. I like the look of hats but not on me. I have a huge head.
29. I only use a comb on my hair, no brush.
30. I’ve had dandruff all my life. Even though I use Head & Shoulders.
31. I haven’t tried a lot but my favorite haircare line is Biolage.
32. I used to get Lori Davis hair products sent to me in the mail every few months.
33. Anyone who tells you Suave or other cheap drugstore brands are the same as the more expensive shampoos & conditioners, is full of it.
34. I’ve started getting a few gray hairs. My dad had a full head of hair and no gray when he died at age 74. My mom started going gray at age 18.
35. I’ve never done anything wild like had colored streaks in my hair or hair extensions.
36. I’ve wanted to have a piece of my hair tested for vitamin and mineral deficiencies ever since a coworker I knew had it done.
37. I get too hot to wear wigs but have worn them for Halloween. My fave costumes were Mrs. Butterworth (the younger, cooler version of Aunt Jemima) and Oprah Winfrey.
38. I hate my long hair getting caught in the vacuum and hubby hates long hair down the bathtub drain. Ack!
39. My hair was always oily but now it can be normal or dry depending on the weather.
40. I’ve never been one to wash my hair every day. 2-3 times a week is about right for me.
41. I won’t use a regular, plain rubberband on my hair. Scrunchies are never strong enough to hold it. Banana clips look ridiculous so I use barrettes.
42. In college I used a curling iron but never used a flat iron for straightening.
43. In high school and college I slept in curlers a lot of the time. The old fashioned, ugly type. There was a fire drill in college and I went outside in my curlers with no shame.
44. The first radio contest I ever won was for 2 tickets to the movie musical “Hair” and the soundtrack album.
45. I know how to braid but can’t braid my own hair. I love the look of a french braid but never learned that either.
46. I’ve had bangs and liked them except when they get too long and hang in my eyes. Also the awkward phase of growing them out sucks.
47. I’m fascinated and creeped out by hair jewelry. Made from human hair. Hair never decays. This trend was popular until about 1925.
48. I’ve never had head lice and just the thought of it would make me itch for a week.
49. Split ends are the enemy. So are tangles.
50. I’m hair challenged. It’s easy for me to think up 50 hair related things. Also it’s easy to enjoy angel hair pasta and the song “Sister Golden Hair” by America. 😉

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