Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lie #4: I am not vain....

From the time she was five, pink had become Josie's signature color. A girly girl at heart, everything about the hue made her happy and to this day, she finds that if up to her, this is the color of choice she dresses in.
 Perhaps it was because after two boys, her mother found herself intoxicated by the menagerie of frilly pink outfits befitting her sought after daughter. Or more likely, as she was told, it was her mother's mother, Gramma D, that went overboard on the shopping and stocked her closet full of 70's inspired girl's ware. No matter how the trend began, Josie would find herself both inspired and drawn to the delicate hue.

It was written in her adoption documents that while she was of Korean descent, they suspected that there was some type other mixed race in her blood as well, because of her unique exotic look, particularly her naturally curly hair. As a child, like most mothers, Josie's Mom revealed in dolling up these waves with plastic color matching barrettes, the kind that were either floral shaped of in the shape of small animals like ducks and bunnies.

"Oh my goodness, what lovely curls," people would comment, "is her hair naturally curly?"

In time, these beautiful curls would become a lifetime battle of tears and tantrums as technology hadn't progressed to what it is now in the beauty industry. 

She remembers late nights in middle school spent brushing out the curls into a submissive wave with what was referred to as a "curling brush" in those days. A flaming hot rod surrounded with black plastic bristles that would inevitably end up stuck in her hair and have to be painfully extracted with sensitive burned finger tips. And on the  occasion that she would forget to unplug said curling brush, it would be put into hiding by her mother as a learning experience as to "not burn down the house." On these occasions, going to school with her now hormonally changed hair was a nightmare to say the least, and if it had been up to her, she would have been suspiciously ill the remainder of the week in question.

How could her mother be so unfair? she would cry as she experimented with hair bands and braids, frantic and desperate to somehow find away to keep her hair under control in the moist northwest air. How she yearned for long stick straight that would dry in it's natural state after her bath. How she begged God to somehow miraculously change the molecular structure of each strand that tortured her on a daily basis. Unfortunately, each morning she would awake to her same head of hair and the quest would continue.

For a brief time in highschool, she succumbed to the curls...luckily big hair was the look of the 80's and while she yearned for gravity AquaNet induced bangs, she knew it was never meant to be for her.

How many hours spent over her life span were actually spent trying to transform her hair are a mystery...a unfortunate test of finding peace in what nature had bestowed upon her, and her tolerance and desire for what she envisioned as beautiful. 

There is something to be said about a woman that says she is NOT vain. I don't believe it to be true no matter what one says. For example, I have one acquaintance that is quite "granola like" and natural, but I know she washer her long shiny hair at least three times a week. Even if she does it out of normal "hair maintenance", there must be a part of her that does it so it doesn't look greasy. My education and experience from Cosmetology school tells me that there are many women in the world that ONLY wash their hair once a week when they come in for their weekly 'wash and set'. Also, I know that washing one's hair too much is actually damaging to the hair follicles and promotes hair breakage and excess hair loss. So even if not consciously, this woman washes her hair in order for it to look nice, not out of necessity.

Of course, this is said from one who is extremely vain. Not in a "gosh, aren't I soooo gorgeous, I won't leave the house without full make-up" vanity, but as in a "I want to look the best I can." This is said from one who has struggled all of her life with the reflection she sees in the mirror.

I have to be honest and sat that I among of those women that has been mind fucked over the years by society, the media; ie the E-Channel and every other rediculous port of idealism of what beauty is and how my appearance stacks up in a world of unrealistic expectations. Over the years, I have learned to fight this insecure battle better, but I still have my days when I feel less then stellar about my appearance and find myself restless with insecurities.

I am happy to announce that through the blessing of the invention of the hot iron, and hours of practice, I have finally nailed down the perfect blow out and am the proud owner of long straight sleek hair. How my life could have progressed in a different direction had this been so twenty years ago. 

Now don't you go feeling sorry for me and think I have super low self esteem... I think I am a  realistic example of many women across this country. I think I've found a balance between accepting how I look and wanting to look better. I have come to peace with the fact that I will never be the blue eyes, blonde haired girl from the Lo real commercial. I have come to peace with the fact that after breast feeding three babies, I will never have the perky breasts of a teenager again. Nor would I change my decision or the memories of my warm babies nestled in so close, even knowing the physical repercussion of these choices. 

Though I must admit that I do sometimes harbor flashes of jealousy when I see my good friend Sexy Spice and her fabulous new full monster boobs! But unless I win the lotto (which won't happen since I'm too cheap to even buy a ticket in the first place) or find a man who is willing to pay for them, I'll have to make do with my simple National Geographic breasts.

As for the rest of my reflection, I have my good days and my bad days... everyone does....

Most importantly, even on the bad days...I have come to learn that my beauty resides the goodness of my heart, in the moral of my being...but hey, that doesn't mean I don't  still yearn to be "the hottest bitch around"...


  1. i'm grining ear to ear!! makes me think about that song, "you're so vain, you think this song is about you, don't you, don't you?"
    well, you are to me, beautiful on the inside and outside....i want big glorious boobs too. i want peaches n cream skin, and i'm currently working on whitening my teeth and it tastes awful. and i also want my hair at least six inches longer than it is and longer lashes. so there.

  2. And I wish I still had all my hair, and what's left of it hadn't turned grey by the time I was 40. Bald and grey = old. And women have nothing on gay men when it comes to vanity and the value of looking young. Sigh.