I live in Los Angeles now, and have lived in the Midwest, the New England region, and the South so far also. There is always a different version of beauty in a new location, and we’ve all been able to describe what is in fashion for some locations over others. But I think there are two types of beauty among women. The kind of beauty I have, and the kind Janet has. Both kinds are based on the fact that we are all naturally beautiful! But how we portray that beauty differs in one basic facet: Ease.
Wearing my green bandana over my red hair, I think I look good. It reminds me of what Janet told me over our organic lunch one day. I had been frustrated with my hair care. I couldn’t find a style that suited me that didn’t need curling irons, dye, expensive cuts, or “product”. So I vowed to always wear a bright bandana on my head in surrender. As a good friend, Janet said, “No. I will not let you be be “the bandana lady.” You need to dye your hair and get it cut.” I was very grateful that she told me this, because dying my hair red is now the only thing I’ll consistently do when my appearance is in crisis. But I’m also accepting that it’s not necessary.
Some of us are born with an incandescence that works through freedom. Some of us are born with an incandescence that works through conformity. I am the former. Janet is the latter (did I mention she’s GORGOUS?). She is beautiful and unique in a traditional, unrebellious way. She has used the popular methods of hair, skin and style of dress, while looking natural. It works for her. I have not developed the system which would take months of special habit development. Effort! Money! Investment of care! Or at least interest. No, I am pretty secure in knowing that potions and paints are a special-occasion affair, and that I’m better off having some freedom and not setting others’ expectations too high for much primping. While I still have the energy of a youthful outlook, I’ll work on making my face serene, or wise, or thoughtful, or playful or compassionate-looking. Beauty is not what we look like, but in how we see the world! This is true for Janet or myself! Either way, we are each our own advertisement for what’s underneath, and I think I’m being true to my “product.” Just today, wearing my green bandana and no makeup, I got several compliments on my eyes. Win!
Besides, ‘beautiful’ nowadays is defined by Capitalism to imply a limited sort of meaning. We advertise beauty to look like Ease. Beauty equals the easy life. Rich people are beautiful–they sell us that way. Make “ugly” rich people sell a watch? Not as good. We like looking at beauty. From flowers to gold shiny things. We gravitate to faces for mirroring behavior. So a beautiful person? I want to be like her! And since she’s smiling or satisfied-looking and wearing that watch, she must be happy and have an easier life than I. I want it easy.
But marketable beauty isn’t easy. Even those models had to sit in a makeup chair, have a team of pros fuss and pull and shave and pin. She just wants to have a smoke, perhaps. Even the rich man in his huge mansion is making effort for his visual pleasant surroundings. Let’s mention just the money it takes to hire a gardener. Maintaining the picture of conventional beauty is work. I may be random, chaotic, and look like I made no effort, but since it’s true, I can focus on feeling good and producing my mindset for the day instead of showering yet again to wash out the hair holding compound.
Beauty in nature arises from complicated patterns that look like chaos. Beauty requires droplets of moisture randomly coagulating in the sky. Beauty requires dirt, and the worms and insects to keep it viable for the stems of plants. Leaves aren’t arranged symmetrically. Trees don’t naturally align themselves into rows. We can see the beauty in the randomness of the wild things–the things that are free.
You can see the beauty, too, in a cultivated hedgerow at Buckingham Palace or in a row of gleaming white, bonded front teeth. But they are quite different from a peony or a forest floor. One is born for freedom, the other is cultivated by conformity. Both are beautiful. One type is free.