KIOS: Grooming: An explanation for the long KIOS absence

This post is part of my series, “Kickin’ It Old Skool: Why and How We Are Old-Fashioned” or KIOS for short.  If you’re new to the series, please read my disclaimer before continuing on.  I’m keeping a table of contents to this series here so you can see what I’ve already written about and what more there is to come.

My guess is that those of you who come to my blog for the KIOS posts may have given up on me.  Rightly so – other than a side note on fragrances and a couple guest posts about the Diva Cup, I haven’t published a KIOS post in five months.

Yes, I’ve been busy, lost my productive self, and all that.  But also, I’ve really had a hard time continuing to write this Grooming portion of the series.  I’ve had the makeup post in draft form since May and I haven’t been able to make myself work on it.  At first, I just thought we were still finding our footing as a two-kid family, then I blamed it on summer vacation craziness, and then…well, I had nothing else to blame it on other than the truth.

Here’s the truth:  I’m dreading writing the next few posts in this series.  What I have left to write about is makeup, hair styling products, shaving products, nail polish, deodorant, and clothes.  Deodorant and clothes, I’m not too worried about writing about them.  But the other stuff?  All I want to say about it is, “Don’t use it.  It’s all bad.  There’s nothing redeeming about it.  Stop fueling the industry that’s inherently predatory and evil.”  That’s a bit (or a lot) of an exaggeration.  There are some redeeming products to be found and reputable companies to choose from.  And I do plan to write those posts.

But underlying this is a deeper issue for me, something I’ve struggled with for a long time.  Makeup, hair, shaved legs, pretty nails – all that really comes down to is body image.  Do I think I am enough the way I am, the way God created me?  Do I trust that the world will see me as I really am and value me for it?  Do I need to change my appearance to get other people’s approval?  Do I need to look a certain way so that the other girls will think I’m cool?  Am I pretty enough?  Am I enough?

It’s been a long road for me.  Largely thanks to my parents’ influence on me when I was younger and Nik’s healing love for me and his insistence on my beauty sans anything else, I’ve come to accept that I’m enough although I still have to speak the truth to myself consistently.

Why do I continue to need to speak the truth to myself?  Unfortunately, what does our media tell us?  “Ladies, you need to have perfect hair, makeup, and clothes to succeed in business!  No one will respect you in the boardroom if you don’t have makeup on! (Never mind that the men don’t have to wear makeup.) You need to wear makeup even to go out with your girlfriends!  That’s why you should buy at least two sets of makeup – the casual stuff, the business stuff and while you’re at it, the glamorous stuff for parties.  No man will find you attractive if you don’t shave your legs and armpits.  You need to make your hair something that it’s not (if curly, then straight, if straight, then curly) in order for it to be considered ‘done’.  So go out, spend lots of money, support the American economy, don’t feel good about yourself unless you’ve ‘put your face on’, done your hair and your nails.  Don’t let yourself go, moms!  That’s the way you’ll lose your husband.” (lies, lies, lies, on and on  – not in so many words but it’s all there in the ads and shows if you’re looking.)

I am determined that Ellie will not associate her worth with what she looks like and what she buys to put on her body.  I refuse to perpetuate the cycle of the inferiority of women that has gone on for centuries.  And so, I will write those posts but just know that I’m really saying, “You don’t need this at all.  If you do want to use it, then make good choices about what you do buy.  But do so with eyes wide open, knowing that you are beautiful without it.  You don’t need it.  If it’s fun and you want to do it, great.  But you don’t have to.  Because dear friend, you are perfect the way you are.”

***************

I realize that these are my particular issues when it comes to body image and they may not be yours.  I’m guessing, however, that I”m not the only person who has ever struggled with these things.  So I’m putting them out there (with a bit of trepidation) hoping that by speaking the truth, you may know that you are not alone.

And this post, my friends?  I wrote it in about 20 minutes and I’m just going to press publish because if I allow myself to edit this much, it will probably be months more before I do it.  So I know I have not said this perfectly and my apologies if I have inadvertently hurt any feelings.

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6 Responses to KIOS: Grooming: An explanation for the long KIOS absence

  1. Eliz.K says:

    Bravo. Thanks for posting this! I have a sticky note over my dresser that says “Just what I thought: you’re made just right.” The moment I read it (in some story?), I knew I needed that reminder hourly. It’s amazing how much one can struggle with this. Thanks for hitting it head on, and blessings as you pass it along to Ellie and Mark.

  2. Aunt Zona says:

    http://t.news.msn.com/science-technology/worried-about-chemicals-in-cosmetics-apps-may-help

    This made me think of you. “Each day women are exposed to about 168 chemicals in beauty products, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington-based health research and advocacy group that looks into toxic chemicals.” Yeeks!!!

  3. Caitlin says:

    I’m with you! I still struggle with my decision to stop shaving. In the summer when I wear dresses I can feel really self-conscious about it. When I go to get a pedicure (mostly because I find it so relaxing) the salon workers always try and convince me to get my legs waxed then they put on gloves. To them leg hair equals dirty?
    My mom was a “tomboy” but I went through a huge fascination with beauty and products when I was younger. I know that I can try my best to make sure my daughter’s self worth isn’t tied to her image but ultimately it will be her own journey.

    • Laura says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one with a shaving inner struggle! And yes, ultimately, for sure we and our daughters have to make our own way but we can certainly help them! Can’t wait to meet your daughter! 🙂

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