No Longer A Cameo Appearance

When I became a teenager, I became obsessed with my appearance. Clothes were important, but much more important were my hair and make up. I despised my freckles, and to make matters worse my father’s friend said that I looked like a cow lifted his tail and splattered across my face. I even resorted to buying a vanishing cream, not realizing that it would fade out the rest of my face as well. So, I ended up wearing a ton of foundation trying to blend my freckles into my skin tone. My hair was curling ironed and hairsprayed to the extent that not a single hair moved. I was a mannequin.

As I ventured into my early twenties, I only got worse. I was a hairdresser by trade and the salon I worked at had certain standards. Being a master stylist put more pressure on me to look my best all of the time.(Now, don’t be thinking that being a master stylist meant I had mad skills. It only meant that I had a large clientelle and the owner could charge more for my services so he could make more money!)  I would say that my focus on my looks was all a part of the business and building a clientele except that even on my off time, I was not seen without makeup. I lived at the beach and even wore my makeup and did my hair to go to the beach or pool. Yes, I hate to admit that I was either that vain or that insecure, probably a large part of both.

Once I had kids and changed professions, I still cared about my appearance, but I relaxed some. My hair no longer had to be perfect and I started wearing less makeup. I still insisted on being made up in public but I stopped worrying about how I looked at home.

During this time in my life, most of my relationships were somewhat superficial and I was not yet comfortable with who I was inside. Actually, I was afraid to be alone with myself to find out who I was.

Through the years since then I have lost my OCD tendencies. I hardly wear makeup anymore, and when I do it’s minimal. My hair is naturally extremely curly which I’ve always disliked. Sometimes, I let it go wild and other times, I pull the curl out. But I always let it fly free as I don’t use hairspray. I even go in public without makeup. I’d probably look a lot better if I was still preoccupied with my appearance, but I’ve learned that there are much more important things in life other than one’s outward presence.

I’ve finally gotten to know the woman inside me, and I actually like who I’ve found. I don’t feel the need to make myself into someone that I think is visually appealing, nor do I feel like I need to hide beneath that image. I still like to look nice, but it’s not what I consider the core of my existence anymore. I guess I used to be somewhat of a chameleon and tried to be who I thought others wanted me to be. I had learned that I could alter my outward appearance to get people to like me, but I didn’t realize that a physical attraction was not acceptance. I changed myself physically and reactively to those who I surrounded myself with. Now those who I choose to surround myself with is dependant on who I am as a person on the inside.

60 thoughts on “No Longer A Cameo Appearance

  1. It’s funny. I remember sitting at the kitchen table watching my mom “putting on her face”. By the time I was 16, I would have never even gone to the store without my make up on and my hair “perfect”. Now, Suzicate, I still do all that to this day. It’s not for anybody else, but I like doing it. I don’t wear a ton of makeup, but the eyebrows are darkened a little, the lashes have mascara, a touch of powder on the nose and lipstick. I tell my daughter, the only thing that you HAVE to wear is lipstick! And she does! LOL. I also wear high heels at all times. Even doing housework. (Yeah, my neighbors think I’m weird.)

  2. My wrinkles put perspective in my life, so do the old pictures where I thought I look horrible. Every person is beautiful! Your freckles are unique to you. I have freckles too! I always wanted curly hair and to be taller. My son, when he was three told me he was afraid of growing old, bald, fat and short. He saw something on the TV. Now he just wants some time to relax.
    Have a great week!
    Gerardine

  3. I’ve been told that my daughter is the only girl in the three year old room who doesn’t play “make up” since before this year, I hadn’t worn make up since her birth. It’s not necessarily a good thing, which I’ll be delving into on Friday. :-)
    You’re linked!

  4. I never would have thought that about you – from your posts – you seem to really know yourself now, and you come across as confident in that. Glad that you’ve evolved as a person, so few do that! Beauty eventually fades, but personality, now that’s forever. :)

  5. I would never go back to being a teen aged girl just for that reason. Such extreme self consciousness is part of the deal I guess. Thank goodness we outgrow this. The older I get, the more myself and the more beautiful I feel!
    Great Spin!!

  6. I think it takes middle age to finally accept ourselves..and realize it is the inner self that stays with us always. The outer one changes and morphs with time and age…but the inner one is the one we know the best…it is who we are.

  7. I think you are beautiful and you have come a long way! That’s soul work seems like.

    The small town I grew up in EVERYONE got fixed up to go to Walmart. Thank goodness I don’t live there anymore! I went to Chicken Express tonight Day 2 in the same clothes (I DID change undies), no make up and hair in ponytail. Unemployed life is the BEST. I might even wear the same clothes tomorrow! HA.

  8. I think we all have had our time with hiding behind the makeup and perfect hair.
    I certainly did. Though my hair never did cooperate right.

    Finally if we are lucky enough, we break from those silly routines and realize we don’t really need them to be accepted for who we really are.

    Congrats to you!

  9. That’s why I love the summer season. With a little sun, there’s not a lot of need to wear make up.

    It takes alot of time & energy to put it on in the AM and to take it all off again.

  10. You have reached a point of knowing yourself that affords a luxurious sense of freedom ~ from the bathroom mirror, the treadmill, stereotypes and the worry that accompanies all of that and that is something to be proud of. At this point I have a streak of grey running about an inch at my roots but have yet to find Revlon haircolor out here in the boonies, and I won’t use anything tested on animals… and I went to the local grocery store like that, no makeup, glasses, … and though I was a bit self conscious, it was not because I cared what anyone else thought but because I FELT schleppy, … but there’s a sense of freedom in that, too. I find myself still getting pissed off if my hair won’t do right some days, but mostly, I have decided to forgo all the products and makeup and go the lipstick only route. I think I look beautiful naked!

  11. You’re phrase of having superficial friends when you were making yourself up makes a lot of sense. I always felt that way in high school that there were a bunch of “Pretty People” out there who were also very shallow.

    I never felt that I was strikingly attractive when I was growing up and now that I am older I realize that my appearances are only getting worse. However, I also realize that there is an inner beauty that balanced things out and that my physical appearance shouldn’t matter.

    Thanks for sharing,

    • I think it’s a comfort that comes with maturity. It takes time to learn what is important in life. I think we’ve all known “pretty people” that don’t have an original thought in their heads. I’ve just learned to base my friendships on substantial values now rather than the way I did when I was young.

  12. Great post, Suzi. This is something I’m still working on. I wear makeup to work every day. Nothing too heavy or over-the-top, but still makeup nonetheless. I think it helps me mentally feel ready for the day. You know, how putting on a suit gets you ready for an interview or a big meeting? And I guess it also makes me feel more “professional” – something that has stuck with me since my days of being the youngest in my office by far.

    On the weekends, I’m much more laid back. And what a great break – it feels so nice NOT to wear makeup!

  13. I’m with Nicole – i very much appreciate your perspective. So much of anyone’s appearance is linked to the relative depth of their own inner peace. All the pretty makeup and hair products in the world can’t come close to replicating that loveliness that shines from the inside.

    But that said, a tiny dab of concealer, smudge of eyeliner and clear lip gloss are still a mandatory bare minimum, even for a day at home. (Makes me less horrified if I should happen to glance in the mirror! hahaha)

  14. This is an endlessly fascinating (and rich) topic. The way we are obsessed with appearance as adolescents (we’re searching for ourselves, an “in between,” after all), and then, as we mature and pass through different stages, we find ourselves differently. We look to the reflection in the perceptions of others, and we look inward.

    Makeup (or clothing) isn’t always armor or a hiding place, though both may be. They can also be something that enhances, something that is about creative expression or fun.

    I also find that I wear no makeup some days (generally at home), and relatively little when I go out during the day – but still – something. It brightens me, and that brightens my mood and how I deal with others.

    Ultimately, I think you’re so right – we are led through our process of self-discovery as we go inward. And then we bring a sort of sparkle back out.

    Great topic.

    • Oh, a little make up, certain clothes definitely lift me…I just know now that they aren’t all that I am. Maybe it’s safe to say that accesories don’t make a woman but enhance her?

  15. You share a tremendous amount of truth in the post, SC.

    BRAVA!

    Having also been a hairstylist, I know what you mean about focusing soley on the outward apprearance. Me too.

    I think being in the beauty industry has taught me about REAL beauty.

    I enjoy taking care of my appearance, without a doubt. However, I also know that there is much more to me than my physical appearance.

    I think it’s about finding a balance.

    Wonderful post, SC!

    X

  16. “I even go in public without makeup.” Me too!! I’ll raise my glass to us and our courage!! :)

    We grow. We learn. We keep getting better and better, whoo-hoo!!!

    xoxo

    (Wish I had YOUR hair, tho.)

    And freckles?? They are beautiful, I see my daughter’s coming out now in the sunnier days.

  17. I’m jealous of your curly hair and skill with hair-styling implements. I spent many high-school hours locked in my room trying to master both (unsuccessfully). Becoming comfortable with how you look is a long, tough road, one that I dread my daughter embarking on but hope I can help guide her through.

  18. “… to make matters worse my father’s friend said that I looked like a cow lifted his tail and splattered across my face.”

    Oh, SuziCate. I hope your father said something on your behalf. I wouldn’t have known what to do — make a cutting joke about the friend’s appearance? Or bite my tongue because that’s what manners of that time and place required?

  19. Hi suziecate!

    I am glad u have met the woman within..and discarded the superficial benchmarks of judgement our society adopts..I too try to be in touch with the man within..i know it sounds corny:) but there was a time I used to be scared about my first strand of grey hair!!

    It still is quite many years before I get one, but am pretty evolved now to understand it won’t change the person that i am!!

    nice post n thanks a ton for the wonderful appreciation on my blog..Matters a lot!
    keep the wonderful writing flowing!

    http://www.assorted-platter.blogspot.com

  20. Your blog post made me think – my twin sister and I are complete opposites. She was the one who got up at 6:00 a.m. to try on several different outfits, change her hair three times.

    Me? I woke up when her boyfriend honked the horn to pick us up. I probably wore the same sweats I slept in, would just wash my face, brush my teeth, put on a bra and clean shirt, flip flops, I was good to go!

    It used to make her so mad if people confused us in the hallways!

    Fast forward – she meets a man, he is an attorney – my sister fell in love with the “idea” of what it would be like to be married to an attorney and what type of lifestyle that would afford her. It was smoke and mirrors. They did get married and turns out her husband isn’t a good attorney, they haven’t filed taxes in years and have $17 in the bank with three kids.

    Me? I fell in love with a man who made me laugh. He had a slightly crooked nose, gorgeous thick black hair, was overweight. We met online and the first thing he said to me was “I am Italian, but proud to say I have two separate eyebrows and have no back hair!”

    He was a divorced father, his ex-wife got most everything, but I didn’t care. I told him when we got married I’d live in a cardboard box because all I needed was him.

    We will be married 10 years this December, and my heart still skips a beat when he walks in the room – and I’ve hardly worn makeup in 10 years!

    • Oh, my goodness, you brought a tear to my eyes….you my dear, know what life is all about. It has very little to do with outward appearance. I’m happy that you were smart enough to follow your heart. I knew there was more to you than the ability to cook and photograph great food and write a lovely blog!

  21. Great article of a journey to discover that it is what is inside us that counts, not our outward appearance. Loved your conclusion, “Now those who I choose to surround myself with is dependant on who I am as a person on the inside.”

  22. What is it about hating one’s freckles? I totally went through that. For years. And I have many. I sort of love ‘em now, though I could deal with a few less.

    It’s so nice when you’ve gotten past the more self-conscious parts of your life in terms of appearance. Sometimes they come back in waves, but nothing was worse than the middle school days.

  23. I love your outlook now.

    I have never worn a lot of makeup mostly because I don’t really know how to apply most of it, and when I put it on I often feel like I look like a clown… and my hair is the bane of my existence. I hope I can get to a place like yours where I am less self conscious and more comfortable with who I am and what I look like.

  24. I have been absent the last couple of days. Sigh. So, I am late in commenting on this! I had horrible acne as an adult (a constant struggle to this day) so refused to go anywhere without makeup. Of course, masterfully applying it was not my forte. My makeup has been minimal purely because I was uncertain of how to apply it.

    Now, I enjoy putting on makeup. I have the makeup I put on for Friday night and the makeup I wear on a normal day. Unfortunately, I am allergic to some eye makeup so have not been able to wear mascara or eyeliner. My poor, circled eyes. : )

    I really like how you emphasized that makeup can often bring out superficiality in each of us. OK. Not the makeup, but the focus on our appearance. I think that once we move the focus outward, our happiness will increase.

  25. Pingback: It Would Appear So « Jan's Sushi Bar

  26. What an awesome post! I think we should all be lucky enough to attain that confidence were we are happy with who we are.

    The line you wrote “Now those who I choose to surround myself with is dependant on who I am as a person on the inside.” Really struck me as important. I think everyone should do this.

  27. This post is poetic and truly speaks volumes about women and society. I LOVE my makeup and I LOVE getting my hair done. I used to do it because I felt I had to, now I do it because I want to and I am not nearly as obsessed, and that is probably because I have come to accept myself (still working on it though).

  28. Absolutely agree with your post Suzicate!! I love it and you!

    I went to service last night with no make-up on and a bandana on my head…..

    A friend of mine said that I was made from a different cloth..a good cloth..that I could just be me…I was standing there with no shoes on at the time. LOL!

  29. Ahhh, this post reminds me of my Mom, who said she just couldn’t function with out lipstick on.

    I always wonder about the really pretty people. Are there some incredible women out there that will never realize their full potential outside the haze of Aquanet? Who are (were) too afraid to be smart and “ugly” so didn’t pipe up?

    I’m glad you made it out alive.

  30. I’ve tried hard to stay away from all the heavy makeup. It’s usually just eyeliner and some lipgloss. I prefer to wear my personallity on my t-shirt. They all have such interesting things to say!

  31. It’s amazing, the pressure we put on ourselves as young women! Thank God we grow out of it. It’s sad, though, that I wasted those years when I was looking great hiding myself, and now that everything’s heading South, I let it all show!

  32. Great spin, SuziKate! Your story sounds a LOT like my life in years past.

    I might wear make up once or twice year now. I find I don’t need to impress anybody and John loves the natural look.

  33. Great Spin! I was a little surprised by the cow splatter comment too, some people have no idea how much statements like that affect a kid.

    I’m not much of a makeup person myself, but more and more as the years pass, I feel like I need to slap some on (I rarely have the time anyway) but my husband doesn’t like it. He’d rather see me with my regular face on, than my dressed up one. ;)

  34. Awesome post, Suzi! I tried to get rid of the freckles on my face when I was a tween by rubbing lemon juice on my nose and cheeks before going out in the sun – I had read or heard that it would do the trick, but it never did. I finally learned to embrace my freckles at some point. :) I’m glad you found the woman inside you – because you truly are beautiful inside and out. :)

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