Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Confession Tuesday - Vanity Edition





Vanity kills, it don't pay bills...  Martin Fry from ABC, 1985

Dear Reader,

I confess, I almost missed today's confession as I'm already in Winter Break mode, which means that days lose their titles and dates run into each other.  In fact, I have spent most of the day thinking it was Sunday.

So I must confess confess confess...  Hmm, I've been on the nice list lately, what can I think of?

To the confessional--

I confess I have a love/hate relationship with my nightguard.  And no, I'm not a famous celebrity with hired help standing around my bed making sure I'm okay, but this clearish, plastic thing I wear at night so I don't grind my teeth.  Sexy, huh?

And I've been amazed at how many people wear a nightguard now, are we all completely stressed out or is this just a $500 accessory created by our dentists?  I'm not sure, but I was told if I wear this my gums will recede less.  Yes, I have receding gums (even more sexy).

I was told this by my dentist yesterday along with the hygienist who told me I need "more form" when flossing my teeth.  Apparently, I'm being graded on my flossing, but if they saw me in my bathroom doing the All the Single Ladies' dance when I flossed, they would certain say I had form.

~

I confess last week we recently bought a new scale because ours started counting up before you even stepped on it.  It was a digital scale (really, should it make a difference if I weight 138.2 or 138.6?)

Anyway, back to my old "I'm making you a few pounds heavier today" scale.  We decided to get rid of it because doing simple math every morning was giving my husband and me a headache.  So we bought a new scale, which is sleek and pretty and has one huge flaw-- you cannot lean to the side to change your weight.

What? you ask.   Yes, that's right, when you stepped on my old scale you would watch it count up, 130, 135, 135.7, 136, 136.2.... It was fantastic, when you got the weight you wanted, you leaned just a tad to the right, held yourself perfectly still, then BINGO! your ideal weight flashed in front of you 134.8 - Yes!

It was as if each morning I could play a carnival game in my own bathroom.  Lean a little to the right and get the score, I mean, weight, you want.  You win!   Now go into the world and have that extra dessert you've been desiring, the scale is here to please you!

This new scale has no carnival game ability.  You step on it and gives you your exact weight.  (This morning, 138.6 for me.)   What fun is this? There is absolutely no room for creativity with this factual, accurate weight.

When I told my husband about this flaw, he said he had noticed too.  And I found out that he would position his feet near the back edge of the scale to get his ideal weight (as you can see, we are two dreamers who are perfect for each other).

Now with the new scale, we live in reality.  My winter weight of 138.6 would have been a lean 135.8 on my old scale.  And men, if you're reading this and thinking what difference does 3 pounds make?, this is because you haven't been raised as a brainwashed girl/woman in American.

I confess I feel better when the scale reads any number between 130-139.8 than if it reads 140+.   It's stupid, it's vain, it's petty, but I'm guessing there's a few women out there who have special "validation weights" too.

~

I confess I'm currently reading this book, 

Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World  by Lisa Bloom, which talks about our "tabloid culture," "the beauty bias" in America and how girls are basically told by our culture to focus on their looks instead of on their brains.  Or sometimes they're told both, but that being pretty, in shape, etc. matters.


The author admits to "having to look good" for her job, though while I read the book I couldn't help but look at her portrait on the cover and kind of wished she looked a little more like Gertrude Stein.  A part of me keeps thinking, "I hear what you're saying, but do you?"  It's hard to buy what she's selling because while she's saying we're all being brainwashed into not loving ourselves as we are and completely unaware of the world, she's not making any changes in her appearance to change this.  

But I do get the vanity insecurities.  I know the fastest way to make girl feel bad is call her selfish or fat--two words that can begin the manipulation of many females (well, except if you call me selfish, I would most likely agree with you-- though I prefer the word "vainglorious" which sounds more positive.)

That said, Lisa Bloom is smart, well-educated, and well-spoken.   And honestly, I don't want to look like Gertrude Stein in my author photo either.  

The book is thought-provoking even while I don't agree with everything she says or believes in-- I think some of her statements about women getting plastic surgery and looking a certain way have to with where she lives-- Los Angeles.  Maybe she just needs new friends.  If you want to get out of the world of fake/reconstructed beauty, move to the Northwest where you're considered hot-fashion if you're wearing The North Face or have on new fleece.  


~

I confess there is a part of me that wants to not just be smart, but to look nice... or maybe I just want to be freshly-showered.  That said, I live by this motto-- "Dumb is not cute."  We are more than our outsides, much much more.  My favorite people can arrive at my home in sweats, glasses, and crumbs on their cheeks and I will always find them beautiful.     

There is a point when you no longer see the body or skin someone is wearing but past it, to the person who is created by their actions and their words, not their perfect hair or smooth skin.  I think it's harder to see this person in ourselves, but s/he is there.  

Maybe every mirror should come with the words:  
You are more than this reflection can ever show.  

Because we each are.

Amen.

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3 comments:

Allyson said...

This post really hit a nerve. Or several.

It drives me crazy that the women can all be naked on that VF cover, but the men have to wear unitards.

My dentist told me I needed a $500 night guard, but I stopped grinding my teeth after acupuncture and some relaxation techniques from my yoga teacher. But one's mileage may vary.

I confess that I'm jealous that you only weigh 138.whatever. And then I confess that I'm a hypocrite, because I preach a health at every size philosophy in public, but then wish I could be as thin as I was in college. And I'm not really all *that* much larger than I was in college....

I also confess that I don't have my 19-year-old metabolism anymore, and even though I claim I want to be that thin, I don't want to do the obnoxious amount of work that would be required.

I have definitely feel pressured to be brilliant and beautiful at the same time. But I quit shaving and tweezing in 2008, and realized it didn't matter whether I did or not. I spent two years shaving my head as an experiment in consciously rejecting beauty standards, and found it didn't matter. Yes, some people judged me, but for the most part, people just didn't care. And yet I still judge the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be....

Which just reinforces my belief that, more often than not, we're our own worst critics.

Donna Vorreyer said...

I think I might actually cry with joy if I weighed under 140 pounds. Count your blessings - you have many!

Kells said...

Allyson-- I think we all wish we could be as thin as we were in college! ;-) I so agree with you, we are each our own worst critics and we notice things on ourselves NO ONE is paying attention to. Thanks for your note.

Donna-- you're right. Blessing counted!

thank you both!
xo

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