Let’s be honest: it’s damn near impossible to not have some self-esteem issue in this day and age.
The notable word being: age. As in: aging. As in: We are a culture consumed with obtaining that “youthful, radiant appearance” as touted on cosmetic ads—whether they be organic not-tested-on-Peter-Rabbit companies or not.
Organic cosmetic companies—an oxymoron with us morons buying these beauty fixes—and buying into the ideals that support them.
The ugly truth of our improving prettiness is a pettiness to that which really matters, which isn’t the stereotypical, western-standards beauty principles we seem to esteem.
But, hey, I get it. I spent a few years dabbling in the advents if modern make-me-pretty procedures and was a not-so-closet cosmetics hound. I’ve got drug store optimum points up the ying-yang from the days before I found my own yin-yang.
Yes, I was one of those people.
Not that there’s anything wrong with those people! Except…
—they think there’s something wrong with them!
Nonetheless, there are some semi-legit reasons to hang onto our youth or at least best-self exterior:
If there’s a chance to feel young and vibrant as opposed to old and decrepit, sign me up!
The key word here is feel, because if I can be my age, whatever that is and feel healthy/sexy/spry/lively (whether young or old or whatever) then that’s what I’m talking about! This is because:
1. Others treat us how they see us.
This is a sad, true fact. If my mom didn’t look substantially younger than her 80-something years, she might not still be getting gigs from kids of elderly parents to take care of these old biddies. Age discrimination is a job-related reality. (No disrespect to the elderly.)
2. We often treat ourselves how we see ourselves.
Again, this comes from our cultural upbringing and society’s emphasis on appearances, whether beauty-, ethnic-, class-, or age-related. When we look in the mirror, we judge ourselves. By choosing to give ourselves a positive once-over by, say, appreciating our so-called flaws and re-labelling them as unique extensions of our individuality, we change the way we approach the world. And the world will notice.
3. And that’s the big secret—Attitude.
Nowadays, I usually don’t wear make-up at all. I don’t use soap, face-wash, cleaners, toners, sunscreens, cosmetics, potions, lotions, hair product or any other products aimed at giving me that radiant glow. No lasers, peels, plumpers or injections.
The things I’ve replaced my beauty regime with that have resulted in as many compliments—more sincere, at that—than any day I donned trowelled on face paint and paralyzed brow are:
- A happy-happy-joy-joy attitude. A smile is worth a thousand radiance points!
- Moderation in all things: food, exercise, work, hobbies, family, friends etc. Note on food: the more whole, unprocessed, unpacked, raw foods I eat, the more my skin glows.
- Coconut oil. I use this shit for everything! Night cream, day cream, coffee cream, I cream, body lotion, hair sheen, you name it. (And it doesn’t clog my pores.) I even mix with baking soda to use for teeth cream, as in toothpaste. Natural whitener and alkaline so it’s gentle on your Chicklettes!
There’s no doubt that the years of “polishing the stone” via vanity insanity spa procedures contributed to my youthful appearance, but when I see celebrities who have gone over-board with botox I wonder where the fine line is in erasing fine lines.
Here’s how I came to switching it up:
- I stopped buying (and reading in waiting rooms) fashion and tabloid magazines. Yep, if you’re where I live and find the magazines in the grocery store check-out line turned backwards or upside down—it was me!
- I stopped watching commercials on TV. Commercials are aimed to make us feel like shit so we’ll buy shit to make us feel better. And that’s crappy.
- I finally took it one further and got rid of my TV. Entertainment Tonight used to be my favourite show. How sad is that? (I’ll tell you: damn sad. Damn sad.) Note: the Internet is no better.
I wish we were a culture that recognized the greatness in people more than our exterior package and where our deeds determined our worth and physical attractiveness. Idealistic, I know.
I’m still subject to the influences. Admittedly, I’m still vain. It’s a flaw I’ve accepted if not embraced. So, in the meantime, do whatever makes us happy. If going under the knife or getting plumped or spending money on cosmetics makes us feel good when we look in the mirror, go for it (in moderation). But I’m talking really truly thanks-I-needed-that-happy, not what-can-I-fix-next?-temporarily-appeased. (We know the difference.)
A sincere sparkle in our eyes when we feel great about ourselves will compliment whatever else we have on, or have going on, and the compliments will be incidental.
And that’s the whole bowl of wax!
P.S. I still wax. Hashtag: not a total hippy (not that there’s anything wrong with that)
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Paris Corrupted at Flickr