Monday, July 13, 2015

Hope

In a series of unfortunate and annoying events that began with the dog who lives across the way using it's free time outside to bark unceasingly (leading me to wonder if I just put a tape recording of myself yelling the same thing over and over again--YOLO, YOLO, YOLO, YOLO, YOLO, YOLO, YOLO--what would happen?), I discovered that there are pieces missing from my repertoire of makeup. Leading me to think back on one of the worst parody videos ever made on purpose.

I don't wear much makeup on a regular basis. This is me completely makeup free:

Hm.

Of course I tried different filters. This one makes me look weird and creepy.
And freckly. OHMIGOSH the freckles.

And then there is the "oh! I didn't realize you were taking a picture of me" selfie,
which I rock. Obvs. I'm willing to make fun of myself. 

The KimK selfie shot was an obvious choice. Just call me Keather.

This is me after some concealer, which is all I wore today. (I'm teaching a class. Makeup is not a necessity. Nobody cares.) I don't really look all that different.

Eh.
And also why do iPhone cameras make your head look so big? Apple really should fix that.


A few observations:
1. I hate 98% of the pictures taken of me. (I had a good picture moment in 2012. That's it.)
2. A person shouldn't look totally different with makeup on. But this...
3. Celebrities who post "makeup free" selfies are lying.
4. I really hate my face when my bangs are pulled straight back, so I really hate these pictures.
5. WHERE DID THOSE LINES COME FROM?

Can you pick me out of this beautiful line-up?


Most of the time I think men have it a lot easier when it comes to looks, because they can get ready in 23 minutes flat (UNLESS you are Adam Lambert, the prettiest man I have ever laid eyes on. I think it might take him a while to get ready), shower to fully dressed, while I am still looking at another 45 minutes of makeup and blow-drying and flat-ironing and matching belts with earrings with shoes. In fact, I take so much care with my appearance that some days, when my hair is shoved up in a pony-bun and I have not even washed my face, I really dislike my whole look. Like a lot. But instead of dismissing it as just another thought, I dwell and obsess over my clear lack of beauty. Then I get sad. And it all goes downhill from there.


Beauty is one of the top ten most common insecurities among women, and I can relate. There is something mysterious and magical about beauty, something it seems like others have but we never will. Sometimes I know what I want to say in my heart but have no idea how to convey that into logical thoughts that you can read. The fact that my heart is so tangled up with the concept of beauty is old news. The constant push and pull that I feel to look good (whatever that means) is so heavy, such a monochrome presence in my day-to-day, that I don't even know what life would look like without it.

I looked around church on Sunday, while the offering was being passed, and couldn't help but notice (with some antipathy) that everyone seemed very smiley. And even though I grew up in church and should by this point in my life be used to the shiny, happy people, I couldn't help but wonder, like, what is up with all the smiling. The ushers were smiling at the parishioners who were smiling at each other. I noticed with some aversion that one woman was smiling at no one. Just smiling. Happy to be alive and at church on a Sunday morn. (Part of my hostility stemmed from the two unhappy, unsmiley, unshiny mini-people sitting next to me. And the other part is just because I am a cynic. Apparently in more than one way.) Are we really happy? Or do we simply trade in the glowers and knit brows for a really wide smile on Sunday morning? Because my issues do not go away just because the Sabbath has rolled around. I still get up and fuss over the hairs that aren't going all the right ways, and do these shoes go with this dress and is my makeup okay. So there are Sundays when I'm fed up with the entire game, but not fed up enough to quit because I don't really know how to do that, I only know how to ignore it from time to time. I want to know. Where do all the issues go on Sunday?


I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. 
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, 
whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
{philippians 4:12}

I took my kids to the pool today. Just offered it up. No "get this done and then we will go" or "you must do thus-and-such before we go" (these are my typical MOs). We went for a little over two hours, and I'll admit, I chatted with a friend and had fun. But enoughs enough, so I gathered up my little chicks and herded them out to the car. One chick was agreeable. The other chick didn't know why we couldn't stay at the pool all night, and why did we have to leave, and she didn't think she would be leaving just yet (did I tell you? she's turning 30 next month and can now make all her own choices), and why was I such an old lady that I couldn't stand spending more than an hour at the pool? (That last one was the last straw, but we won't get into the dets of the fallout.) Old lady. (And the shizz. That is so obvious.) Anyways, I finally looked at her and was all like "WHY CAN'T YOU BE CONTENT?" (Among other words and phrases.) And then I decided that we have given them too much and they don't appreciate anything and we are moving to Africa stat.

But the content question lingered in my head and in my soul way past the whole pool situation. I tried to ignore it but the word kept jabbing me in the brain. (That can happen. Just try to go to sleep with something weighing on your mind. Brain jabs.) Content. I've always read that verse from Philippians and imagined the tangible, the concrete. But the idea of being content in any and every situation has to include the visceral as well. To me, being content is settling for less, and I don't want to settle for less than anything. I want it all, because I can have it all. Or at least the dermatologists and the plastic surgeons and The People are all very good at promising you can have it all. But when you add that with the habit of comparison, then you have the perfect recipe for high expectations and low return.

And very low measure of contentedness.

A life in Christ is not a life without struggle. I think I expect it to be, and it's just not. Nobody ever promised "you will be struggle-free for life". Maybe that's scary for some people, and they think why would I ever friggin' choose that life over the one I currently struggle in? I mean, honestly, that is an excellent question. I've asked it. I've dealt with doubt and a lack of faith way more than I have walked the straight and narrow and faithful path. But here's the thing: a life in Christ may not be without struggle, but it is with hope. Hope is such a strong word, such a promising word, and it's a word we often think is for others but not for ourselves. To have hope and contentedness is almost as foreign as, I don't know, winning the lottery.

But in Christ it's possible.

As I think back on the shiny, happy people (holding hands), I have to think that they still deal with all the crap life throws. Maybe most aren't as shallow as I, although I know without a doubt that I am not the only female who deals with this whole beauty issue, and maybe some shiny, happy smiles are as fake as the WWE, but I think that some of us have taken hold of that hope and live in a way that shows that, no, life isn't fair, and no, I don't want to have to deal, and yes, I still have issues, but despite it all--yes, despite it all--I HAVE HOPE.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; 
my body will also rest in hope.
{acts 2:26}

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