Flammables to the Face
My haul at Ulta this week included a red, attention-grabbing bottle of “Big Sexy Hair”-brand mousse and a shade of eye shadow called “Sex Kitten.” I placed these items on the counter so that the cashier, Kaitlyn, could scan them.
“Do you have an Ulta card?” Kaitlyn asked.
I babysat for lots of infants named “Kaitlyn” as a teenager. They are part of the workforce now.
“Would you like to apply for one?” she asked. “It’s free? You’ll get coupons by email?”
I told her no, thank you. I watched her flip over the little tub of eye shadow. “Sex kitten.” She was just looking for the bar code, probably. Still, the urge to defend myself was strong. Listen Kaitlyn: I’m not laboring under the delusion that I’m a sex kitten or anything.
My morning routine is getting more involved everyday. In college it was just a blow dryer and a little mascara. Lip gloss for special occasions. Now I use the business end of a safety pin to separate mascara-clumped eyelashes. I use both hot rollers and a flat iron on my hair. I use a strip of scotch tape to remove the arrant particles of eyeshadow that have landed on my cheeks, and I spritz hairspray on my face – my FACE – to set my make-up once it has been applied.
I acknowledge that sharp objects and flammable liquids seem more fitting for a voodoo doll’s face than for my own, but here we are. (The saddest part of the whole thing is not how much trouble it is for me to get ready, but the finished product: more of a “friendly mom next door” look than “sex kitten.”)
You, like me, may feel frustrated by the ever-widening gap between the way you see yourself in your mind’s eye and the way see yourself in the bathroom mirror. Is there anything to be done about this feeling of discontentment? Turns out there is. Stop looking in the mirror quite so much.
There is a world of ailing bodies we could help with our strong backs. A world of lonely people we could comfort with our time and companionship. Poor whom we could assist with the loose change in our pockets. These people don’t care that the skin beneath our chin is beginning to sag or that our hair is thinning. When we occupy ourselves by serving, we won’t care, either.
My friend Kyle taught a great Sunday school lesson this morning about the self-imposed prison of selfishness. It’s the truth, isn’t it? Don’t we ultimately feel awful when we spend our time obsessing over ourselves? Conversely, aren’t we our happiest, our most liberated, when we are doing for others? Reflect on the times you’ve been generous and giving. Didn’t you walk away feeling like the beneficiary?
I am not sure how I managed to get so blind to the needs around me. Too many flammables to the face, I suppose.
It is so fleeting, the time we have to be pretty. We have our whole lives, though, we have countless opportunities, to do something beautiful.