Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

Growing up, my Mother always seemed to do things out of fear, whether it was fear of God, fear of running out of time (i.e. doing things to get them done — usually half-assed) or simply worrying about what people would think if this or that or another thing happened. For example, we had to go to church every Sunday & Holy Day, be on our best behavior and participate. We were forbidden to wear anything but a dress or skirt to church. Plus, hanging out with particular people was a big no-no too, especially if they looked or dressed one way or another… “What will people think when they see you out with a black man, Kelli?! I worry about your children!” (this was when I started dating my first serious boyfriend at 16!!!) I could go on for hours. My Mother’s judgment tends to start at the surface & usually lingers there. Thing is, I never learned how to value & take care of myself from her because even though she judged others on a superficial level, I never saw her take pride in what she did or how she looked. My Mother seldom spends money on anything she doesn’t “need” and that would absolutely include new clothes or shoes, makeup or other beauty aids like facial/body lotion, soap that doesn’t come in bar-form, shampoo that costs more than $2, hair conditioner, or any hair product, nail polish, etc etc ETC! I think she’s been using the same disposable razor for the last decade too. Vanity is a sin, remember?! Between the contradictions & politically incorrect comments that she didn’t see anything wrong with, my Mother did a number on me & my sisters. 

Although I questioned and rebelled most of my Mother’s views, some things I remained naive about. In high school & college, my level of a beauty regimen included a compact, blush & strawberry lip gloss. If I wanted conditioner & product for my frizzed-curly-dry hair, I had to buy it. I didn’t own a pair of tweezers until after I got married. I didn’t apply any lotion other than sunscreen to my body until my twenties. I was awkward, uncomfortable and frequently ashamed in my own skin, and I didn’t fully grasp how simple it could be to bring out my best features. Hold the phone… I had good features? Thanks to some good mentors, friends & patient boyfriends, I grew to learn & accept that.
Cut to this century… and in my post-pregnancies-ending-with-c-sections body, I’ve been trying lose 10, ok 20 lbs since forever. I know I’m not alone here… losing weight sucks! Then I got mono and the weight fell off… so did my jeans, and somehow I’m wearing a size I haven’t worn in over 7 years! Although it feels fantastic, it helped me to finally understand that the hubs doesn’t give a shit what the scale says (he’s said it for years, but I finally got it when I lost weight without trying; he has more concerns about my health and how that weight came off, instead of doing a happy dance with me about my jeans being too big, go figure) ya know what the hubs finds hot? When my skin looks good, and when I feel confident in my skin. The women that turn his head aren’t the skinny-model-actress types, they are the ones with incredible skin and curves. He gets pissed with me when a certain 3-named celeb promotes a skin-care line; together we complain about how greasy & aged her skin looks, like she overdid it in the sun or something. Usually, he notices the bad skin on others before I do! The hubs rarely makes comments about people being fat or skinny unless it’s really scary-extreme.

**Breaking news, Mommas** Most men don’t give a rats ass about what the scale says!

Nearly all the men I know get annoyed & turned off when we bitch & moan about our weight. Of course it’s important to be healthy, but I will never be that scrawny, uncomfortable, skinny kid I once was, and I don’t want to be! And if we are losing weight for our men, or whoever, we’ve gotta stop and focus on what’s really important, putting ourselves on the priority list. I’ve learned to embrace who I am TODAY, and in order to do that, I have to eat my fruits & veggies, workout (without killing myself!) and invest a little time & money in beautifying myself. Some might call cosmetics a splurge, but I see them as survival aids. A facial at the spa may be more of an indulgence, but if you feel good about yourself afterward and can look in the mirror seeing a stunning, glowy face instead of wasting time picking apart your flaws, that’s money well-spent to me. 

So, how in the world do you make time to doll yourself up once you have kids? 

I know some women, like my Mother, only bring out makeup for special occasions and don’t see the point of “covering up” their natural beauty daily. To me, it’s one of the benefits of being a woman: having the option to bring out our eyes & lips by wearing smoky eye-liner & bright red lipstick if we feel like it. I’m not talking about piling on gobs of foundation and a trunk full of makeup. I take less than 5 minutes daily to throw on a minimal amount of makeup to enhance my natural features, making any flaws that may bug me disappear. Hey, taking a few minutes of solitude for any reason is rare these days! But a simple thing like looking in the mirror in the morning & again when I apply my eye & face lotion at night makes ME feel good. Screw everyone else. They can think what they want. When you feel good, people feel that. Your husband & children feel it. You are more confident and can get on with everything else in your life a little easier. It’s up there with wearing a great-fitting pair of jeans or trying out a fun new hair-color. It’s not a vanity or even a conceited thing, to me, it’s a sanity thing. It’s kinda like having a beer when you’re having a bad day, or to celebrate a great day! Good skin care and a little makeup can turn the day a little brighter too. Invest in yourself and take pride in who you are for YOU. The rest will fall into place. After you nurture your passion, which is a big part of your inner beauty, take a little time to cherish your outer beauty as well. 

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