Author's note ~ In writing one of my most recent blogs "Who...AM...I?", I observed and commented upon our sense of "self-identification." I tried to present concepts to chew on pertaining to how we incorporate certain "things" and ideals into our lives to either feel “greater-than or less-than.” Amazingly, I omitted a facet of that discussion I encounter quite frequently. It’s my job. The subject is "beauty." My personal interpretation and attachment to this subject has changed over the years. My exposure to this subject and those seeking it has broadened my perspective not only on the subject itself, but those in a perpetual quest to obtain it.
I am a beauty professional by trade. I used to think that made me an “expert” on the subject. I won't bore you with my credentials or my resume' as I find them no longer applicable.
For years, a quarter century to be exact, I have travelled the globe sharing and acquiring knowledge on this subject to be a sought after beauty guru. Yes, I have done TV, worked with celebrities, and have my work featured in magazines. Again, these are dusty trophies of a man who has been blessed with a new perspective.
Beauty is an opinion
As a long time participant in trend releases and magazine spreads depicting what the masses should consider beauty, I now find an ironic humor in this. In my quest to help extinguish the burn of insecurities injected into public by my own images, I found I was often raising the bar all the while trying to boost my clients to help reach it. It was like trying to get somewhere by walking down the up escalator.
Hopping in the way-back machine we find many trends that were presented to and entertained by the public. For example:
In the days of Cleopatra, hair was colored with ground minerals and plants, permed with ingredients ranging from dirt to dung, and others at times had their subjects' heads shaved to not overshadow the royals in their beauty.
In the days of Marie Antoinette, the huge high-rise hair styles we see in paintings were obtained by cutting the hair of slaves and attaching them to the aristocrats with a concoction using lard.
In some time periods and cultures, obesity is sought after as it shows a well-fed life of leisure. The Rubinesque curvy women of earlier centuries were a sought after companion. Jenny Craig would have been a heretic.
Nudity in some countries is the dress code.
If beauty was not an opinion, often keeping designers, trainers, and therapists employed, we would not be burdened with what the latest new anything is. The standard would be health, acceptance, and function. No more women's magazines with the heft of a Los Angeles phone directory clogging our mail slots in the fall.
Beauty is a facade.
I really, really, admire women. I truly do. Outside of a Photoshop master, is any collective group worthy of respect for their deceptive prowess? Let's start at the top and work downward...
Hair - Cut, colored, Permed, lengthened with extensions. Teased, moussed, sprayed, pinned, and secured.
Eyelashes - Tinted, thickened, lengthened
Makeup, Botox, Restlyne, fillers, and micro-demabrasion.
(We are just getting to the neck!)
Spray Tan. Tanning bed. Sunshine.
Breast augmentation, reduction, push up bras.
Tummy tuck, liposuction, creams, oils, and ointments, and we can't forget Spanx.
Thighs - See lipo and Spanx
Calves - High heels
Feet - polish and pedi
Hands - Can't get a pedi without a mani.
I have seen almost all these on one woman, and this does not even include the wardrobe selection.
Now I can appreciate all this effort and can also enjoy the visual appeal. I am a man you know. What is interesting though, is that somewhere down the line, someone, or a group instilled the idea that we were not good enough in our original form. Our age becomes a curse as our normal natural progression that allows us to become wise, become parents, and to expand our experiences in the world and the related nicks and scratches make us become "lesser than." Is an octogenarian any less beautiful than an adolescent?
I admit I like being a man. I just have to shower, use some deodorant and toothpaste, and a comb, and we are just as good on our wedding day as we are on our day off. I will also admit I will wait until the ladies leave the room until I exhale and let my gut relax.
Beauty to me is who we are or how we would feel in a lightless world. I have always said: "Everyone is a dimmer switch away from being a 'ten'." I feel sad when people use the benchmark of "beauty" when feeling whether or not they deserve love, companionship, or affection. Maybe the trends change each season because not enough people are buying it. Maybe people are smarter than they are given credit. I think they are.
I have always tried to help people achieve a harmonious balance between function and fashion. Our beauty regimen should be an ongoing and expanding appreciation of the necessary restoration that allows us to be happy with ourselves today. It is okay if this changes frequently. What we see on the outside is only the wrapping on the gift.
Beauty is what the hearts sees.
Never dismiss the hearts connection to what it finds as beautiful. True beauty doesn't concern itself with acknowledging weight, age, labels, or logos. Beauty is what we feel when we warm in the presence of something. We stare, we desire, we connect. Why? Often we do not know.
The ability to see beauty first in ourselves allows us to see it around us and in others. Beauty is love that sees beyond the surface. It is the magnetism without reason and bond without boundary.
If beauty were only visual, are the blind capable of its appreciation? Of course.
True beauty cannot be trimmed, Botoxed, or squeezed into jeans. It has no age, gender, nor is it a number on a scale. Beauty is a divine gift given to us by our Creator to be enjoyed without challenge.
Beauty can be found in all things tainted only by negative reflection.
Beauty is an opinion - make yours positive.
Beauty can be a facade - go deeper to appreciate the true beauty.
Beauty is what the heart sees, may yours have 20/20 vision.
Repost from ~ Artisan of the Human Spirit by Tony Anders
P.S. Here is a good VIDEO supporting some of my points.