Be You

To Retouch or Not to Retouch

Truth be known – I am terrible at makeup and hair.

Why?

Years of being in aquatics as a hobby, sport and then profession has left me with a personality flaw trait of go-go-go-go-go. The time it takes me to do my hair/makeup is time I could be doing something else.  Having a husband whom is my opposite in most everything in life, it did not take him long to realize that boredom causes me more anxiety than just moving at a tornado’s pace.

So – take that very persona and add to it a photo shot for a mom’s blog and you probably can guess where I was left…

If you guessed in Kohl’s, posting on Facebook every outfit I tried on to ensure it actually matched and was a “neutral with a pop of color” (what does that mean?) and trying to figure out what a statement piece was (a bold necklace that stands out) and attempting to understand that booties no longer mean the items we place on the feet of newborns (they are ankle boots)… then you are right..and you are also an amazing guesser… and I may be worried you are stalking me.

 

After many fails, calls for help and a text to my husband who responded with disbelief I was actually shopping, I found the outfit and now just had to show up and someone else will fix me  style my hair/do my makeup appropriately for a pic.

Change of plans… the stylists are not coming. 

Cue slight panic and the “noooooooooo” that escaped from my mouth.  I had to DO MY OWN HAIR AND MAKEUP for a PHOTO SHOOT that would be POSTED ONLINE!

Hence….

retouch

 

Oh what an interesting predicament to be in since I titled my blog “Be Imperfection” because of moments just like this.

Being my complexion is slightly darker than a white bed sheet, outdoor pics wash out any chance of dimension in my face. Despite the effort I made at bronzer (that looked like I played in dirt) and eye-shadow (tried to make that into eye liner since I never seem to remember where my makeup went…maybe because I use it once every three months), I still ended up looked a bit muted in the pictures.  The photographer did a wonderful job, but it is just me and my lack of, um, girlie-ness.

So when I saw the pictures, I thought, “let’s see what this retouching thing is all about” and so I played.  I added highlights, whitened my eyes and teeth, added mascara and eyeliner, eyebrow color, blush, a touch of bronzer, blemish and wrinkle reducer… walaa.  Results below.

 

What I learned from this:

EASIER TO PLAY WITH HAIR COLOR

Seriously though – the red kinda looks awesome and I probably would not have jumped to try that shade… but I may now.  That saved significantly more money than coloring it and not liking the results.

BLUSH PROBABLY WILL HELP WITH OUTDOOR PICS

The added blush gave back dimension to my face, which lacks in almost every outdoor picture I have ever taken.  To achieve this effect in real life, I am afraid I would need to dump the entire container on me. Since I am not so much looking to resemble a clown, picture editing will need to be the way I achieve this result.

Let’s be honest now – seeing how for a few decades I haven’t used it regularly yet, I doubt this will change my outdoor (non)makeup wearing habits.

CHANGING YOUR IMAGE IS ADDICTING

When I did one thing, another came and then another came and another.  By all means, do what makes you happy but for me personally, I do not need to constantly pick apart my image to see what I can change next. That road was so wonderfully known as my twenties.

Although it was fun to achieve movie star whiteness for my eyes/teeth, watch my wrinkles could just disappear like magic, and see how vibrant my eyes could shine, in the end, I needed to look back at the message I was sending if I selected the retouched image.  What do I believe in; what do I want my daughter to think is truth?

Because I want her to think she is enough just how she is, although I may have preferred the retouched picture, it wasn’t real to me.  I may have looked that way in person but in the snapped picture, this is what it was – eyes slightly red from allergies, wrinkles from a life of stories and makeup that reflected my non-stop lifestyle.

PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY NOT AS VIBRANT AS THE MAGAZINES

It was beyond easy to quickly dress myself up with zero knowledge of what I was doing and no fashion sense to direct me.  If I were an editor or a person skilled in photoshop, I probably could have made myself flawless with a nip and tuck and stretch.

People are NOT flawless.  We are force-fed images everyday that reflect perfection.  We see social media families of nothing but smiles and laughs, constant selfies – many of which have been through the SnapChat filters. That isn’t real life.

With a few clicks, I had a captivating glow in comparison to the original.  If I wanted, this picture could easily be used to attribute the change to a product. Marketing is a powerful tool to manipulate you to believe you NEED to change.  It takes a few clicks to convince you that you are not enough because you do not glow like the picture.

Neither do I… and it is me!

FINALLY…WHO THE HELL CARES

Today is Earth Day.  Today scientists all over the planet said “I am marching for Science.  For Truth. For the Earth.”  Tomorrow will be something else…. find a cause that will help the world around you. Focus on that.

In the end, your image may be what people see but it is NOT who you are.  Your friends do not care if you are the image on the left or the right… and if they do and that is your thing to bond over; you have found your crew.  As I said, to each your own, but be careful with the way these ideas are being presented.  As a person who long-ago attempted to reach an unreachable standard, photoshopped images and those that focus purely on the outside can be damning to people who attach to this as a measurable goal.

For me, I find it inspiring to be real… WITH flaws and imperfections. I am teaching my child makeup doesn’t make you beautiful – it makes you colorful.  I am teaching my son what matters most is the person inside and how they treat others. I am teaching myself I have to live these things in my choices and not just my words.

It was tempting, very tempting, to upload the more vibrant picture but to do so went against what I stand for.  So as I chose the non-retouched one, I recognized I was saying, “this is me in this moment and I am enough.  My words and actions speak for my spirit. I must live my truth

Be you – whatever form that brings; even washed out from the sun.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Dear Depressed Friend; I see you

My Dear Friend… I see you.  I hear you.  I read your words.

And because I have been there, I understand you wake up to an all consuming battle and it takes more strength and self determination than anyone knows to simply get up and do the everyday. There are times you don’t have the energy to actually take any of the suggestions you know would help you.  And sometimes, your mind convinces you that you are not worth it.

THAT IS A LIE.  That voice is trying to kill you.  That voice is full of manipulative bullshit that wants to overcome you.  But I get it – those who haven’t been there will say “don’t listen to it,” but IT IS YOUR MIND.  How do you not hear your own mind?

I recall putting a name to the critical voice that replayed over and over again.  It was easier to feel it, name it and separate that from my purpose.  No, it didn’t cure me … but it helped to recognize it as untruth. Once, prior to re-vamping my bedroom, my mom and I painted words of strength (and anger) at this voice.  I clearly remember writing “fuck you, ed” on my wall.

You are not the convincing lies of that voice.

You are a kind-hearted person.  You post pictures of helping animals and getting to know others who are not like you – to spread acceptance and love.  You share beautiful art, dance, music.  You inspire with stories about seeing beyond the surface.  And you do more than that…

You tell your story.

Do you know how much courage that takes?  You let the world in and say, “if you can’t accept me in my worst position, you are not worthy of my friendship.” You invested in yourself.

There are people out there struggling silently. You said, “I will be your voice.  I will let you know you are not alone. I will love you regardless if you are made up and smiling or not and if you are smiling, I will not assume your eyes are also.  I will search for your hidden truth and I will let you know I am safe to talk to if you are not as you appear.”

My friend, I want you to know I see you.  I see your heart.  I see your fight.  I see you trying.  I see you expose your hard days and reach out.  I see the courage it takes to expose the vulnerability.  That is extremely brave – it is so much easier to hide it and let it gobble you up.  I see you stepping beyond that.

And my friend, I want you to know I hear you.  I hear your cries and your pain.  I hear your voice and it is beautiful and real.  I hear your care and it touches all types. I hear your frustration. I hear you picking yourself back up off the ground.  I hear your work.

Above all of this… there is one thing I really, really want you to know.

YOU ARE WORTH IT.

You are worth this fight.  You are worth the battle.  You are worth overcoming the critical voice in your head.  You are worth the tears.  You are worth the frustration.  You are worth the mess.

Life sucks sometimes.  Life can be overwhelming and feel like quicksand, engulfing, suffocating and pulling you under.  And life can be beautiful.  Life can be mesmerizing and inspiring and supply a depth beyond the encasing of the body and world.

In the drowning parts, try to remember it can be impossible to see through a storm but that doesn’t mean it won’t end.  Just as we wouldn’t judge a person who happens to live in an area an earthquake hit, your storm doesn’t make you less than or unworthy.  It means that for this moment, it sucks beyond a level that can give any justice in words.

It also means there is a side after the storm.  As we see time and time again, there are people who will hold out their hands and through the clean up, a stronger, more unified and connected bond develops. This is true for you also. Yet, I know, the after-matter doesn’t help to make the pain less of living in that moment…

Get it out of you, put it on paper, meditate, create, run, do anything to let it out.  Acknowledge it.  Tell the fucker in your head “not today.  I got your number.  I hear you trying to kill me and not today – jackass, not today.

And every time you brush yourself off, every time you reach out, every time you recognize it – allow yourself that victory.

Your mind will tell you you failed because you slipped.. please, let me repeat – THAT IS A LIE. That is the voice..that is the one that hates you.  You wouldn’t tell your child who fell learning to ride his bike that he failed.  You are that child. Every time you get on the bike, despite if you fall or not, you are learning and succeeding and growing in mind and body.  Allow yourself that humanity.

And know we are here.  We are here even when we don’t know how to help.  I had to decide a million times over again I was worth the fight; no one else could convince me that I was – I had to decide it.  When I read your words, even when they are just saying “depression sucks,” I see you making a choice to call this out as what it is.  This is Depression.  This is not You.

You are beautiful.
You are worth it.
You are strong.
You are loved.
You are needed.
You are important.
You are helping others by shining light on the dark.
You are inspiring.
You are generous.
You are caring.
You are supportive.
You are open.
You are a safety net for others.
You are kind.
You are true.

I am thankful for your words.
I am here if you need to just talk.

;

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And because she is one who seems to get this message…

 

 

Crisis Text Line

Mayo Clinic – Depression

Suicide Prevention Hotline

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Be Open; Be Real; Be You

A few days ago, as I scanned a school hallway to make sure I knew where my daughter, her friend, and my “get-away” second child were, a friend stopped me. She had read my blog.  To my surprise, what I assumed would be small talk turned out as first glance to be praise.  She said she loved it (thank you!!!).  Then it got a little deeper.

“Thank you. I know it probably can be a bit much,” I giggled out.  I have never been really great at just letting the compliment settle in.

“No, really,” she went on.  “It is just that my friends always tell me I am too real; too honest.  I wear what I am feeling too much on my sleeve.  It was refreshing to read it.”  This I was not expecting.

“Well, I just think… there are plenty of perfectly made up people playing the part.  I just…” sometimes searching for the right words in the moment fail me miserably…so I tried again. “I just, I think people need to know that others feel what they do.  They need to know they relate.

What she said replayed in my mind for the last few weeks. In our most poignant, telling moments, life can paint the memory.  True to this, when I think about that moment, her face is clear as the day she stood in front of me. A sign I should be listening to the lesson.

So what purpose and meaning did this brief interaction pose that made is so prominent? For me, there is one solid lesson it came to – we need to be real.

The battle of a facade and the exposure of depth.  To reveal what is true is to risk criticism.  To blend, be pleasant and likable is to feign perfectionism.  The balance is to recognize the tug-of-war between both sides and yet, I repeat, we need to be real.

We need to see the pain.
We need to share the tears.
We need to laugh so hard we snort.
We need to expose our insecurities.
We need to show ourselves overcoming.
We need to let the wounds breathe.
We need to allow the compliments.
We need to ask for help.
We need to be the first to give it.

Know, please know, I don’t care what shape you come to me in.  I want your heart; I want your truth.  The good, the bad, the deep, the contemplative, the confused, the happy, the everything.  We were given emotions, truths, pain, and strength.  It all can get so mixed up when we are trying to fit what the molds say are best.  Don’t be the mold. Be who you are.  Be YOU.

Truth bomb – this year has sucked. 2017 has delivered it’s share of punches and many others have it worse.  Despite it all, I get up.  I put on clothes. I drive to work. I put one foot in front of the other. I move forward.

It isn’t always easy.  What makes this possible is knowing I do not have to be perfect. If I don’t have makeup on, those that matter don’t care. If my hair is in a ponytail for the third day, no judgments are made. When my nose is bright red from crying and I am doing all I can to type, a message will come through saying “I’m there for you.” During the times I spend three hours on a bed because a new item has brought me to tears, hugs are given and books are read together under the covers.

Life isn’t made for the weak but it is a lie that weakness is showing what you feel. To show your breaking points, to show your excitement, to expose any part of your inner self is strength because in a second someone could tell you how wrong it was for you to do just that.  Be brave.

Find those who allow all of you, that relish in who you are..the real you. Perhaps at one time, the carefully placed perfect walls were needed. In those times, we grew, but find those individuals that don’t require them. Invest in those people. Those are your crew, your tribe, your besties, your people.  They will fail you from time to time, as you will them. Allow that and allow the make up. Realness comes with risk and pain but the payoff is worth it.

Perfection isn’t the answer; you are.
Be you.