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.