How would you say your upbringing or background has shaped your idea of beauty? Were you taught to apply makeup or do you hair by your mother or friends? If not, where did you observe what is now your norm as far as beauty practices? And although most of us have been inundated by different cultural beauty “norms” via the media, would you say that television and magazines have had a strong impact on shaping what you think of as beautiful? This week, write about your idea of beauty- how your background has shaped it and what that means for you today.
Your upbringing certainly shapes much of how you view the world – your perception of beauty included. My family was mostly blessed with good genes & my mother has never needed to wear much makeup. I remember her always looking very put together, a feat she continues to achieve to this day. That didn’t necessarily mean a lot of makeup but it did mean dressing well & taking care in her appearance. She always told me it’s better to be too dressed up than to be too casual – & that’s something I find myself believing now, as an adult.
I was not allowed to wear makeup until midway through Junior High. Even as my peers began experimenting with makeup, I did not. I think I first wore a little makeup in the eight grade. In fact, I saw my grade eight photo recently & I am definitely wearing a terrible shade of brown lipstick (why was brown lipstick ever in? It looked terrible.). I swam throughout Junior High & High School so makeup never became a huge priority. I did sometimes take the time on my days off or if I was going to a party or dance, but it was never a daily ritual.
Even once I hit University, it didn’t become a priority. I taught swimming lessons as of third year & often couldn’t be bothered to put makeup on if it meant I was going to jump in the water later that day. I spent more time on my hair & makeup as I started going out to clubs & bars with friends. My girlfriends & I would turn on music & have a few drinks together as we got ready for the night. I think that’s a fairly natural evolution for girls my age.
In my last few years of University & in the year following graduation, I worked at Starbucks. My shifts often began before the sun came up & I prioritized sleep over makeup. I was not & will likely never be a morning person, despite my penchant for taking early shifts (I’d rather have my evenings free.).
Now that I work in an office, I spend a lot more time on my appearance. I basically went from spending no time to a little time. Living in Montreal & France shaped my clothing choices too. Both place more importance than Calgary on dressing well & that has translated into my life now. I actually like dressing up a bit for work. I love heels & I love nice clothes, especially silk dresses and shirts. So it always feels fun. I also wear more makeup than I used to. I still wouldn’t say that I wear a ton & I’m not afraid to go without, but I like playing with a bit of eyeliner & find false lashes to be a fun addition to a special event. I’ve gotten into the habit of curling my hair every day & that’s definitely something I’d like to try to break a bit. Especially in the summer, it’s good to let it do whatever from time to time.
I like to think that I don’t look to magazines & the media for examples of beauty, but I think that would be a lie. To a certain extent, there’s always a bit of influence from them. With the fairly recent addition of CrossFit to my life, I’ve gone back to how I used to think of beauty in high school a bit more – strong, fit, & confident are some of the most beautiful qualities a woman can have. I’d still like to get to a better place in terms of confidence in my appearance. I think that’s something that most women unfortunately struggle with to some degree.
It’s funny to think that my idea of beauty evolved over the years to wind up right back where it started. I love the idea of finding beauty in strength. I’ll never have tiny little toothpick arms but these arms of mine do a lot of awesome things. I’m learning to love that.
This post is in response to Danielle’s prompt on her blog, Sometimes Sweet. Find the rest of my responses in this series here.