Beauty Back and Forth

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. 

5 thoughts on “Beauty Back and Forth”

  1. You’re right, Kerry, that most people forget how long it takes a model or actor to look “beautiful.” Nor do people think about how much damage is done to the skin from the years of all that heavy, gunky makeup & teasing, pulling, etc. They’re looking for that immediate, or “easy” beauty.

    The other thing I find interesting is, if you were to sit & talk with the “beautiful” people, you’d find many of them are just as insecure, unhappy, sad, etc. as the “non beautiful” people who see only the surface show.

    I think you said it best with “Beauty . . . arises from complicated patterns that look like chaos.” Everything in this world is truly complicated, if you look deeply enough at it, but those complications are what make each thing/person beautiful. You just have to be willing to see below the surface, sometimes.

    1. Alyx, beautifully put. Apt. I am still wrestling with my costume for burlesque dance class. We have to wear a bra and panties which we bejewel and bedazzle into costume. It’s gorgeous. The revelation that came from trying it on while I was sewing on fringe, was that my body looks great naked (despite it not being perfect), but it looks worse in the clothes. So a lot of the time, natural beauty is actually ruined by the very artifice that was meant to enhance it!

      The bra doesn’t fit just right, the panties have to be too tight in order to hold up the heavy beaded fringe…my budget limited what I could get. So now, instead of celebrating a body I love, my task is to overcome the limits put on its perfection by clothing that was manufactured with some other standard of beauty and normalcy in mind.

      I’ll still flaunt it, but now it is truly more effort than it may be worth, if my confidence isn’t there to back up the performance. Hmmpf.

      1. Good luck with the burlesque class! It does sound like a hassle to get it all together, but I’m sure your confidence will get there, if it isn’t when you first start the class.

  2. I will bookmark your blog and have my kids check up here frequently. I’m very certain they will understand lots of new stuff here than anybody else.

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