The things I think tend to come together over time, composed of scattered bits and incidents. The process reminds me of those composite rocks I learned about in eighth grade science from Mr. Schmatt. :) This whole train of thought is composed of many thoughts, conversations and observations, including watching seasons of Biggest Loser, and a conversation with Neva the hair lady at WalMart.
Here it is:
I think few people see me as a rebel.
I don't see myself that way all the time.
But if I pull back the shades and look inside, I see the rebel fighter inside of me.
I imagine that people see me as this nice lady who is really very conventional and goes with the flow of what is expected of me.
In a way, that's true. Part of me is that nice lady, and is very conventional and doesn't buck the system. That quiet and conventional part of me is a genuine part of who I am, but is also a choice I make- a way I choose to live and relate to the world.
There is a whole other side to me.
Also inside of me is a fierce, fiery, competitive rebel.
She's in there, and she's alive and well. :)
One way you see this is all over my head.
I don't color my hair, and I wear makeup very rarely.
Part of the reason I don't color my hair is that it saves money. Part of it is that I really just don't notice things and I would seriously be that lady with ten inches of gray roots hanging out before I would suddenly notice them one day. And really, I do like my shiny silver highlights...most of the time.
And then.....in all honesty, part of the reason I don't color my hair is the quiet evidence of my rebel spirit. In our society, looking as young as possible and as polished as possible, is what is generally expected. I like to be different. I hate to be predictable. I want to be ME. This hair- this hair that is darker than it once was, and gray and silver and shorter that it was and has crazy wild bits that just pop up whenever they want and refuse to be controlled? This is me. This is real. This is the real me.
Gray hair has become so rare in my generation, it's almost exotic. The Einstein crazy bits that stick up all over are not my favorite. But oh well. It's tempting to put some beautiful color on my hair, to play with it, and to look younger instantly. But as much fun as that would be, a greater part of me stubbornly digs in and says, "But this is ME!" My gray hair, hanging out there for all the world to see, is the real me. It's who I really am. This. Is. Me.
The makeup thing? It's a very similar thing.
Partly, makeup is dang expensive.
It's also a lot of work.
I like my simple, zero-maintenance approach.
But there is more to it.
There are two important facets to this.
It is way way too easy for me to start to dump all over myself for being "less." When I started being a beauty consultant about twenty-two years ago, I started wearing makeup on almost a daily basis. It was part of the image I was supposed to portray, and at first it was fun. But that ended quickly. A very short time into that process, I looked in the mirror one day, at my real face, and my first thought was, "Ooh, I'd better put some concealer on that!" That pulled me up short in my tracks, right there.
I do like doing up my whole face once in a while. It's fun to look all polished. It's fun to get that shock reaction from people when I do get all made up. It's fun to look like all the other "girls." :) But if I wear makeup more often than those rare times, I swiftly freefall into seeing only faults that need to be fixed when I see myself in the mirror; into a destructive waterfall of self-criticism. It is toxic to me.
I have no issue with other women wearing makeup all the time. Go for it- do your thing! I admire other people's beautiful, put-together looks. I enjoy seeing how other women play with color and style. That's cool. It's fun. :)
This feeling I have is not about other people. It's just about me; it's just so dangerous to my whole attitude toward myself to go down that road.
And here, too, the rebel rears her head.
Just like with wearing my real hair, that fiesty little rebel in me wears her real face right out there for all the world to see. She sticks out her chin and says to the world, "This is me. This is it. This is who I really am. This is as real as it gets."
In a curious way, not all the time but mostly, wearing my real hair and my bare face make me feel strong and confident.
I am proud of myself, for having the courage to go against the flow and just. be. me.
One of my favorite movie lines, from August Rush- "So tell me about you."..."I'm just....me."
I love that. "I'm just...me."
When I watch that scene, or even just remember it, my little inner rebel woman smiles, and softly says, "yeah." :)