I haven’t been wearing make-up lately. At all. I would like to say something articulate about that choice, but in many ways it’s essentially me stomping my foot and saying “no fair”! I don’t feel that women should be held to a different standard than men and require a face of cosmetics in order to be deemed professional or attractive or groomed. I balk at the consumerist and patriarchal notion that I need myriad products to “conceal” and “enhance”. But, I’m also nearly 35, and my 30s have given me many gifts, among them a greater sense of confidence and less need for approval. It’s not that I feel gorgeous, but I feel healthy, whole, and grateful. I think about how I want to make people feel, and I want people to feel relaxed in my presence, and heard, and I want them to see kindness and attention. At this point, how I look frankly feels beside the point.
Yesterday morning at work, I had just taken my first client back to the treatment room and engaged in a few minutes of consultation with her as I had not seen her before. She asked how long I had been practicing massage therapy, and I spoke about my experience and concluded that I loved my work. She responded, “Yes, I can see that from your face”. I considered this one of the greatest compliments I have received. Letting go of obsessing over my “looks” and focusing instead on what I can exude through my eyes or smile has made me far more content.
This made me think of a (portion of a) great poem. It’s widely attributed to Audrey Hepburn, but she simply read it; it was actually written by Sam Levenson.
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.