As soon as I'm done writing this, I'm heading straight to the bathroom to straighten my hair. No one needs to see this.
I'll admit that probably no one's completely natural state is fantastic compared to when they're all made up, not even Candice Swanepoel. But. Mine seems particularly bad today, and it doesn't do much for the old self-esteem to think that you look a) tired, b) washed out and c) plain scary when you look in the mirror. I started thinking about how I wish I looked, the texture I wish my hair was, the color I wish my skin was, and how I had better hightail it in that bathroom pronto because I'm certain my husband does not want to come home to this stunning look I have going on today. It was easier to pull off when I was younger.
And as I was cleaning (after I had already caught that glimpse of myself in the mirror), those thoughts kept running around the same track in my head, convincing me that some major work needs to be done in order for me to be happy with myself. But honestly, if I'm not happy with what I have now, I'm not so sure I'd be happy even if I did look like Candice. (Maybe.).
I don't want to be one of those people who is constantly like Back when I weighed 92 pounds or Back when I was a ________ in high school or Back when I had six-pack abs like what they have to offer today isn't worthy without qualifying it with what they used to be like, but honestly, I'm having a hard time each year that I get older. I often find myself questioning myself and the way I look as I try to accept and live out the adage to age gracefully. I'm looking at wrinkles forming around my eyes and that gray hair (I call it blonde) that keeps popping up and wondering what beauty means for me now that I'm not 20...or 25...or 30 anymore. Aging is one of those inevitable life happening that no one has quite figured out how to stop, but we've got a lot of people out their who are trying their best to slow it down. (Joan Rivers, I'm talking to you.). I feel self-conscious sometimes that I'm trying to look too young, but I don't want to age myself unnecessarily, and I feel stuck. Can I be and feel beautiful even as time takes it toll on my skin and my hair without going to extreme measures to try to capture what doesn't truly belong to me anymore? No, I know I'm not "old", but I don't want to get there one day and then hate myself because I can't accept the unavoidable truth. I want to be able to accept my age--at any age--and the way I look at that age with grace and peace instead of fighting for what can't be for the rest of my life.
I see many pulled-together, stylish, beautiful women who are much older than I am and hope that I look like that when I'm their age. But more than that, I hope I feel confident when I'm their age, because it doesn't matter what I look like if I hate myself on the inside.
And right now, I'm not feeling so confident.
Looking inward, which is where I've been stuck all day, searching for some fragment of confidence or assurance isn't working. I just don't have it in me to give. I have plenty of self-doubt and negativity, but clearly that's not doing anybody any good. I've spent all day searching for peace, having forgotten that my search isn't inward but upward, to The Source of peace...and grace, and unconditional love, and beauty.
Who am I living for anyway, and for what?
Because if the answer is I'm living only for myself, for my needs and wants, for my happiness and my glory and my beauty, then I'm afraid I'm going to end up one very unhappy and fearful person. I step outside and realize that life is bigger than my concerns over how I look or how well I'm aging. I'll do my best to look my best, but my joy won't ever come from looking in the mirror and finally being satisfied with what I see. It just can't. I'll be temporarily appeased, but I'll have plenty of days just like this one where I have to find my joy in The One who can truly give it.