Avon Beautiful's Blog

June 24, 2013

The Ugliness of Perceived Perfection

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Beauty queens in Chinese New Year parade in Sydney. (Flckr)

At the Miss U.S.A. competition beautiful women from the United States of America compete to attain the title of Miss U.S.A., later qualifying them to run for Miss Universe. It’s admirable to watch these very polished, pretty, and talented women perform at their best in this pageant. Let’s face it, not everybody can be as poised under pressure. And with that statement. it really bothered me when a young woman from Utah was asked a question, which she did not answer well, so many newscasters and talk show host were noticeably vicious in commenting about her intelligence.

Granted, you should know current events and be well-versed in the topics of the day when you compete in such pageants, but sometimes you just make a blunder. It became evident that the young lady couldn’t speak about the given issue and became nervous trying think of something to say. It happens. The young ladies in these pageants are not perfect, even if we perceive that they look perfect. The reason for my concern stems from how unforgiving and callous our society has become. We were so willing to hang a young woman out to dry because she couldn’t answer a question well? Hmmmh, maybe we should check our compassion level because on this news-non-event many a commentator’s level was on “E.”

I noticed the same trend in other areas. I had a friend that so many of my male friends and family members found drop-dead gorgeous. Sounds great right? On the other side of  that equation was the shade I witnessed her receiving from women who didn’t even know her and decided not to like her. She is a very nice person, easy to talk to and her beauty made her a mark for hate. But what kind of ridiculous insecurity is that? The same kind of insecurity that got pleasure in seeing Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson being labeled “fat” and being constantly berated by news outlets, tabloids and entertainment shows during their pregnancies. Are you kidding me? How shameful!

We have to do better. When someone is slandered we should not be so quick to pick up a stone. I remember a story about a woman found guilty of adultery facing a group of pious men getting ready to stone her for her impropriety. However there was One who stood there with wisdom and knowledge that far exceeded the pious men and they asked Him if they should stone her since what the woman did was clearly wrong according to the law.  They asked seeking an occasion to accuse Him because of their own insecurities; however, the Wise Man—who was Jesus,—said this:

“…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”~ John 8:7-11

Yes, it’s true Miss Utah messed up on her answer, yes it’s true that Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson put on weight during their pregnancies (by the way that’s what women do during pregnancy), but why such a rush to judgment? They never claimed to be perfect. Perhaps if you are the kind of person  that rushes to cast a stone at people, then the perceived perfection is on your end.

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April 21, 2011

Getting really real with my beauty!

What if you had not seen a mirror in several years and you didn’t know what you looked like? Wouldn’t it be strange when you saw the reflection of who you are staring back. It could be a gratifying thing or it could be a disappointing thing, but whatever your experience it would be like meeting someone you had not seen in a while. You would have to be reacquainted with who they are.

That’s how I felt after a lifetime of perms, braids, twists, extensions, and wigs. I had to be reintroduced to my natural-haired self and let me tell you it was a little awkward. My hair has been straight, curly, wavy, or whatever else I wanted it to be, but it had not been kinky for a while. I said “good-bye” to kinky-haired me some time in grade-school. I think it was 3rd grade when I was introduced to Kiddie-perm-me. Kiddie-perm-me left and then came adult perm-me, and jheri-curl-me (thanks Michael Jackson) and braided-me and  weave-girl-me.

I have gone natural probably two other times in the last ten years, but it’s different every time. Now I am really understanding that my hair is willful, stubborn and won’t just do what I tell it to do. I want it to be softer. I tell myself I don’t mind the nappiness, but couldn’t the roots looks a little softer? My waves are close and tight and stern. I’m a relatively quiet type, so drawing too much attention to myself is not my cup of tea, but do you think my hair cares? It’s determined to make its own statement loud and proud.  So now I find myself in a quandary—what am I going to do about my hair.

It used to be so simple when my mother  or grandmother used to do my hair. I sat between their legs and they made all the decisions, but one day  I came to a bit of a crisis of self. As I was doing my hair grooming techniques with my false-hair, I just didn’t want to do it;  so I conducted an experiment. I walked to the library with my hair out in all of it’s natural glory. A few turned heads…okay, not bad! Then the next day I acted as if it never happened and slapped a half-wig on. The following day, I conducted another experiment…I went to my job. This was kind of different because usually when I wear a new hair-do the ladies tell me how nice it is. My hair was so different they could not have escaped noticing, but instead of the usual comments about my hair, some complimented my face, others complimented my outfit and one asked me if I liked my hair. I took that as code for …go get your wig. The reaction has been mixed, from no response at all to  loving it, to loving the ideal it represents—freedom. That’s been the response that belongs exclusively to African-American women.

No matter what everybody else’s opinion was I just couldn’t shake my own:  “I love it!/I hate it!…No I really love…I just hate it!” Can we be real? No, I mean can we be really real? Sometimes, I do love it and I love that this is me…but then sometimes I find myself wanting to alter and make corrections based on what I know is the accepted form of beauty in the United States and other countries around the world.

So I am getting really real. I have mixed feelings about my natural kinky African American hair.  I want to love it because it’s  my unadulterated natural hair, but managing it is sometimes difficult. As I manage my hair, I am coming to grips with deeper truths about how I feel about it. But what I love about it is it’s thick! It’s healthy and it’s growing (attributes that just didn’t happen with a perm). Besides,  I know God didn’t make any mistakes in making my hair the way He did. It’s beautiful in His sight  and it’s good.

I am very glad that my parents didn’t mess up my mind with talk of “good hair” and “bad hair.” Those are the kinds of conversations that lead people to self-hatred when they happen to be on the bottom of that ridiculous scale.

So, even though, I have no real answers, what I do have is the reality of the situation—I struggle with accepting my hair the way it is. But I’m not stuck there because I have a Father who told me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, so now that I’m looking in the mirror at the person I haven’t seen in years, I am learning to love her again for who she is and who she always was.  If no one else can accept me for who I am, shouldn’t I be able to?  So it’s very important to me that if I ever grab a wig (which I might) or make the choice to relax my hair (which I might), it should be strictly for convenience or changing up style because  I do have the option to do that. However, I never want it to be because  I’m hiding. It’s time to get real and stay real with my beauty.

December 21, 2010

The Best Looking You on a Budget

Believe it...You can look your best on a budget!

In these times of economic challenges, there is still no excuse for not being the “best looking you” you can be. This is a message to me as much as it is a message for you because there are times when I reason and make excuses for not doing what I need to do to keep my appearance up. Now I don’t let it go to the extreme because as a woman, I can’t get too far out there…the girly girl kicks in really fast. However, I say this as an encouragement to those who have found themselves in the position of looking at their wardrobe and feeling  “the blahs!” Even if funds are not abundant, that’s not a reason for you not to put your best foot forward in your appearance. A very wise woman knows that even if she only has two blouses and two pants she should first thank the Lord for having what she has and then keep the two blouses and pants washed and neat.  Also in acknowledging Christ in all of your ways, God can show you how to accessorize and mix up your wardrobe.

It’s like those mothers who turned canned meat and instant potatoes into a meal fit for a king. You do the most with what you have. The Bible even tells us to be faithful in a few things and then God would make us ruler over many(Matthew 25:21) . It also tells us to humble ourselves before the Lord and He will exalt us (Luke 14:11). No you may not be able to get the designer names, but with a little work you could look just as good. And guess what? I have a friend who gets whatever designer names he wants at the thrift stores. He has staked them out and gets top-quality clothes with very little coinage.

There are lots of chic finds at affordable prices to be found at consignment shops, vintage stores and thrift stores.

So we have established that it takes work. You can’t just wish for it. Check out your local thrift stores, consignment shop, vintage shop or outlet store. True outlet stores have deep discounts, so investigate and find out where some of your thrifty friends do their shopping. You may find out that those fancy duds don’t cost as much as you think they do.

Check out your major department stores because clearance prices can be extreme.  Nordrstrom  Rack and Macy’s are fantastic with their clearance racks. You also should look at your Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Burlington and Ross stores as well.  I saw a woman the other day who looked so great I had to ask her where she got her whole outfit.  The boots she was wearing may have been $150 to $200 and she got them for around $35 dollars at Marshalls. Her whole outfit was from Marshalls and it was beautiful.  And look, let’s get out of this prima donna /diva status where we can’t rifle through the racks.  Yes, it can be a little frustrating if you really like to have things orderly, but treat it like a treasure hunt where the ends justify the means.

After Christmas is the perfect time to see the deep discounts. Remember that retail is always a season ahead, so if you buy off-season (as in a season behind), you will be able to stock up for the next year. Don’t be stuck on buying something because it’s the style right now. Buy smart!

Some say the best things in life are free. Will you be to proud to accept it? My church does a yearly giveaway and we are instructed to give things that we would want to receive. We are told that we should give that thing that we want to keep. See, when you give like that you are sure to be a blessing.  I’ll never forget a family that came to the giveaway and found a winter coat for their son. It was a big black, bubble-coat. It was quite stylish, so the little boy who was probably about eight or nine was happy to receive it. More than the look on the little boy’s face was the look on his father’s face.  I could have cried when seeing the relief it brought to that father who would not have to figure out how to adjust the family’s finances or neglect paying a bill to  get his little boy a coat. Look on listings like Craigslist and you will see a section that simply says FREE. You will find listing for giveaways, people simply wanting to give all kinds of articles from furniture to exercise equipment to clothes.

You can find things that represent you within your budget, but you have to be willing to do the work. Aren’t you a worthy cause?

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