Life is a funny thing. Life is a funny thing, Mama.
Look at any random magazine cover, and the headlines all scream “Like yourself better!” and “Be awesome in 10 days or less!”
Self help and self improvement books threaten to burst the shelves at any book store from the weight of all the titles. All screaming for you! You! To buy and become a better you. A you that is different from what you are.
It is a good thing to take stock, yes, and to set your sights on honing a skill, learning a new hobby, trying something new, or improving on something you’ve let fall to the wayside.
But to become a different, improved, better, more likable you?
Since I can remember, I have sadly been loyal to the screaming headlines of how to be prettier, have a better body, make more friends, get a new personality, become more alluring and magnetic and irresistible to man, woman, and all things living and breathing.
And, now, in this last half of my life, I have turned off the noise. I have become tired of it. What is wrong with being who I am?
I no longer want to fight what is natural and what is me.
Since the 8th grade, I have been stretching and pulling and snatching myself baldheaded in pathetic attempts to give myself straight, swingy hair. The kind of hair that I see girls toss across their shoulder and hold in one hand while they lean in and delicately take a drink from the water fountain. I want the hair from the Long and Silky shampoo commercials. What I have instead is short, coarse, and nappy. I don’t want to fight my hair anymore.
I have spent my entire life wishing for the small, pert nose that is everywhere. What is on my face instead? A nose strong enough to hold a 2 inch thick eyeglass prescription, were I ever to need that.
And, I am flat chested. I am as small breasted as is humanly possible. I remember hunting for a bra at Victoria’s Secret in my size. The perfect Barbie came over and asked how she could help. I told her I couldn’t find 28AAA, to which she laughed and said, “No one makes that size. The smallest we have is 32B.” That would be a bigger cup size than I’d ever need. In three lifetimes.
I’m tired of it. This year, I began letting my hair curl and go. I turn sideways now and let my European profile stunningly cut a picture, and the bra? I just wear double layered T shirts.
But, the thing is, now that I am OK with what I am, my body is giving out.
I have to hobble for a few seconds when I first stand up from a cross-legged position. When I bend over, you hear more crackles and pops than a bowl of Rice Krispies, and my energy? Am I the only one that loves red lights because they allow mini naps?
Why now, Body? Why now when I just have decided that you are the one for me? The only one? That I love you -- curly haired, flat chested, big nosed and all? Why?
It is such an irony... I’ve had the love of my life here all along; I could have been enjoying it, not cursing it. And now, sigh, it’s starting to go.
Just when I began to see it’s beauty.
I hope it forgives me and allows me at least ten more years, to treat it right, and appreciate it for the glorious uniqueness that it is.
More Own Your Beauty on BlogHer
- Missed a homework assignment? See the list of all Karen Walrond's Own Your Beauty homework.
- 12 Tips on Authenticity by the BlogHer Co-Founders
- See Karen Walrond's video interview with Brene Brown on Authenticity
Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one's self and influence the lives of those around us - our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.