Monday, January 14, 2013

I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and 'Doggone it!' People LIKE me!

Like most Americans, I spend a fair amount of time on personal aesthetics.  Eye cream, neck cream, hair dye, boot camp workouts; for me the are all just daily ministrations in my ongoing fight against Death and my undying wish that I will get laid just once before the new iPhone comes out.  I'm not alone in my pursuit.  Between the melatonin and the colostrum and the vitamin E and the gingko biloba, my holistic friend Kelly is dropping more pills than a three-fingered pharmacist.  And our friend Gina?  When she told me how much she spends on facials and hair products my ass hit the ground faster than Mary Kate Olsen in a game of "Red Rover".

We all seem to be racing against time in some narcissistic scavenger hunt, hoping that we'll discover just the right product, just the right procedure that will ensure us some Dorian Gray-like existence and absolve us of the atrocities we ignorantly inflicted upon our bodies in the past.*

*In my case, the years 1989-2002.  Go hard or go home, my friends.

I would like to be one of those people who appear all haughty and self-righteous and speak with great disdain about the type of woman who would go under the knife for the sake of beauty. . .well, no, actually, I wouldn't.  Because to be honest, those people annoy me as much as the one's who judge others for their religion or sexual orientation.  As long as you're happy and aren't hurting anyone, you can knock on as many doors as you want with your copy of Watchtower and go home and sleep with an armadillo,  I don't give a shit.  It's the same with plastic surgery.  If you want to inject ass fat into your rack or have face lifts until your ears touch then go for it!  My chest was not always as proportional to my frame as it is now, nor was my nose quite this pert.  While I gotten some snarky comments in the past for my decision to have plastic surgery I have never once regretted my decision.*

*I also derive a somewhat perverse pleasure knowing that my ex-husband is still paying off my breasts and yet cannot legally come within 50 feet of them.  I "heart" you, Karma.

These days I'm no longer desperately chasing after a non-existent image of perfection, but simply looking to maintain the status quo.  A view not always shared by my two best friends.

"I'm telling you, she's AMAZING!"  Gina gushed last week when Kelly and I came over to let Alex take care of the baby while we watched reruns of "Project Runway" help with baby Milo.

I snorted disdainfully.  "Amazing, huh?  As amazing as the facialist you recommended?  That crazy bitch took a belt sander to my face like she was freaking Bob Vila and I walked out of there looking like an extra from 'Apocalypse Now'."

"I love the smell of collagen in the morning,"  Kelly mused wistfully "it smells like. . .victory."

"Ooh!"  I squealed, bouncing in my seat, "speaking of collagen, did you see Lindsay Lohan on 'Letterman' the other night?  She looked like Steven Tyler after a slap-fight."

Kelly shook her head sadly.  "That poor child is about 50 shades of 'cray-cray'. The lips are just the tip of that crystal meth-berg."

"She didn't seem high,"  I reflected.  "She sounded drunk."

Alex looked up, interested for the first time in the tenor of our conversation.  "What's the difference?  How can you tell between a junkie and a drunk?"

Now, for those of you not in the know, Kelly and I first met in A.A. years ago.  She bravely stepped in as my sponsor when my original one, Nancy, suddenly passed away.*

*I miss you every day, Nance.  xoxo

"Oh, please."  Kelly drawled with a roll of her eyes.  "You can't bullshit a bullshitter.  Any true alcoholic can spot a drunk a mile away.  It's like some form of Stoli gay-dar."

"But what's the difference between an alcoholic and someone who just likes to have a few now and then?"  Alex asked, taking a sip of his Dos Equis.

"Well, day drinking is a pretty popular sign."  I noted with a pointed look, earning a ripost 'screw you' from Alex.

"But seriously," he persisted, "what it is it that makes you look at yourself and say 'Holy shit, I'm an alcoholic'?"

Kelly pondered for a moment.  "Oh, I don't know,"  she said thoughtfully.  "maybe when you register for your baby shower at the Liquor Barn?"

I sputtered into my coffee.  "Or when you're hired as a creative consultant for 'Leaving Las Vegas: Part II'?"

Kelly grinned at me evilly.  Oh, game on.  "When you start leaving empty beer cans under your pillow for the Liver Fairy?"

"When you call Charlie Sheen to be your designated driver?"

"When you have Charlie Sheen's phone number in the first place?"

Kelly and I collapsed into a fit of giggles while Alex rolled his eyes. "You drunk  bitches be crazy, yo."  he muttered, walking out of the room to check on Milo.

Gina heaved an exasperated sigh.  "Can we PLEASE return to the subject at hand?"  she pleaded.  "My eyebrow waxer; I'm telling you, the woman is an artist!"

"And by 'artist' I assume you mean she costs more than my student loan payment."  I snorted, digging in my purse and producing a small pink box.  "I just use these wax strips.  Three bucks at CVS, five minutes in the bathroom and 'voila!'  I got your genius right here.  BAM!"

Kelly critically appraised my brows.  "Hmm.  They look pretty good." she conceded.

"Let me try them out on you."  I offered, waving the box alluringly.  "I mean, to be honest, you've kinda got that Freida Kahlo thing going on, Honey.  And no one can rock that look."*

*Complete lie.  Kelly could be the bearded lady in the sideshow and she'd still look so much like Courteney Freakin' Cox that men would be falling at her feet.  Combined with Gina, who is a dead ringer for Lucy Lui, I often think that when we're together in public people view us as some live-action version of Darwin's 'Evolution of Man'. Guess which one of us is still ass-deep in the primordial ooze?  I win at life.

"I don't understand why women are so obsessed with their eyebrows." Alex noted, reentering the room with a sleepy Milo on his hip.  "Do you know what men notice about a woman's eyebrows? If you have two of them.  If so, we're good."

I shot Alex a withering glare and grabbed Kelly's hand.  "C'mon, Leonid Brezhnev.  Give me five minutes and I'll have you looking hotter than a napalm enema."

"Ohhhhhh, no."  Kelly stated firmly, pulling away from my grasp.  "The  last time you gave me one of your makeovers I looked like I was headed to a casting call for 'Toddlers & Tiaras'."

"Oh, suck it, Honey Boo-Boo,"  Gina hooted from the kitchen.  "Beauty is like a TriMet bus or an old-school vending machine: it DEMANDS change."

"You didn't see what she DID to me last time!"  Kelly retorted. "With the right 'Wow Wear' and a little Go-Go Juice I totally could have nabbed Ultimate Grand Supreme."

I sighed dramatically and flopped back down on the couch.  "Did I bitch this loudly when you drug me to your chiropractor?  Or your holistic aromatherapist?"  Kelly and Gina both smirked at me sarcastically.  "OK, maybe I did.  Whatev.  My point is, if I can sit there while some dipshit in a tie-dyed smock covers me in essential oils that smell like Jerry Garcia's old gym shorts, then the least you can do it let me rip out some of your facial hair."

Kelly threw up her hands in mock surrender.  "Fine.  I give up."

"Eeeeeee!"  I squealed a'la Cher Horowitz.  "Project!"*

*Yes, I'm a 42 year old woman who still quotes 'Clueless'.  Don't judge. . ."like I SO need lessons from you on how to be cool.  Tell me that part about Kenny G. again?"

A mere twenty minutes later we emerged from the bathroom.  Kelly, with eyebrows that would make Linda Evangelista weep; Gina, with burnished burgundy highlights, in her raven hair; and Alex, with a complete lack of awareness of either one of the aforementioned alterations.  But me?  I looked exactly the same.  

You see, while I still practice a daily regimen of maintenance and upkeep, I am no longer looking to become something I'm not.  Since my divorce I've really gotten to know my face and my body and the three of have developed an understanding.  As such, I disagree with my friend Gina (sorry, Geen); I don't think beauty requires change. . .quite the opposite, in fact.  I think the secret to true beauty can be found within the tenets of A.A.'s Serenity Prayer: making the most of what you've got, and accepting and loving the shit you can't change.*

*Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know...I'm paraphrasing.  But you get the general idea.

My body may not be the cultural ideal, but it's my imperfections that tell the story of my life.  My stomach is not a perfect six-pack, but that's because of the myriad times I've chosen to skip the gym to take my children out for ice cream instead.  The sunspots on my chest tell the tale of countless summer days driving with the convertible top down, sitting at a scorching early- season OSU football game cheering my Beavs onto another crushing defeat, and long, lazy afternoons fishing with my dad.  The scar on my leg? Cut it on a boulder when learning to rock-climb.  The one on my arm?  A remnant of the burn I incurred (ironically) at Dylan's annual BBQ last summer.  And my favorite scar. . .the one low on my abdomen?  A constant reminder of the day my twin boys entered the world.  My smile lines show that I am capable of compassion, the laugh lines around my eyes an indicator to all that I can find the humor in damned near anything, and the crease between my eyebrows shows that -- like everyone else in the world -- I've faced my fair share of demons, and come out swinging.  Every.  Damned.  Time.

Will I continue to take care of myself and make the most of my appearance?  Of course.  But I will never again do so as a form of punishment or self-hatred, but as a form of self-love and appreciation.

But if it also happens to get me laid, I'm not totally averse to that either.

Be kind to yourselves.


P.S.  You have no idea how happy your comments make me and I wish I could reply to them all.  But, when I am at work, I am an employee -- not a blogger.  And when I am at home, I belong to the short people, so most days I am unable to respond.  Please don't think I don't appreciate each and every one of you. . .because I truly, truly do.


Killer Cupcake said...

I've decided that the Fountain of Youth is actually the refusal to act my age. Ergo, I look 15 years younger than I am.

Thank you, Immaturity. *fist bump*

Mistyslaws said...

Ha! We are so on the same wavelength. My post today is about finding things about yourself to like, rather than detest.

And also . . . I hear you have a great smile! ;)

thoughtsappear said...

I quote Clueless, too. It's pretty much taught me everything I know about totally pausing at stop signs.

pixichick3293 said...

I was too young to really understand Clueless when it came out (like 12??), but it was my favorite movie. I am so thankful that I turned out nothing like Cher and her little band of twits, even though I idolized them all. I like to pretend my teen years never happened. They were pretty tragic. =)

Anonymous said...

Happy people live the longest, so self-acceptance is the ultimate form of win!

Laura said...

Totally there with you. I never thought I was all that attractive to begin with. But these days when I look at pics of when I was first married... and my children were small, and I thought I was FAT... back then... OH. MY. HELLO. Nope. I had a waist, I did not have three chins and I dyed my hair because I didn't like my natural color.

I embraced "aging" and said well salt and pepper hair isn't so bad. Well when the salt had my daughter's friends asking if she lived with her grandma... HELLO Loreal... I've missed you while I was gone.

My new year's resolution to be in better shape by my 25th wedding anniversary in August. Yeah I've been married 1/2 my life. I think that's a good goal. I can be kind to myself while I do that...

PS: I'd love to have Charlie Sheen's number... I think he'd be FUN to party with. LOL

Oh No. Lord... she implored humbly... Grant me the serenity to...

Laura said...

PS: I said Boo Whore to someone at work last week and they were not amused. What is WRONG with People.

Jen@whenpigsfly said...

I am getting to the point of acceptance. I refuse to go extreme with the upkeep but I still believe in upkeep. I work out, apply the creams, etc. I hate the fact that I'm looking older but there's only so much I can do about it. I'm just trying to enjoy the ride while I can.

Marcia said...

I'm a random stranger from South Africa, and though I am pretty much different to you in every (!) way, I LOVE you blog and can't stop reading it. Thanks for it! :)

Leslie said...

I loved this post. You really made me think about how negative I am toward my body and what all it has accomplished. You inspired me to take another look with a different point of view. Thanks!
In unrelated news--heard about Jeremy R's fatherhood announcement and wanted to make you're okay. (Ha). What a dog to cheat on you like that!