Thursday, March 29, 2012

What you see is what you get

As I told you yesterday, I am answering a challenge put forth by Caitlin in her blog, Healthy Tipping Point, at the conclusion of her Naked Face Project, namely to post a picture of myself without makeup. So without further adieu, here I am fresh out of the shower with wet (well, towel-dried) hair and just some moisturizer on my face.

Caitlin started this project two months ago when one of the little girls she coached asked why she wore makeup, and she answered, "Because it's fun." Since she's always talking about inner beauty, she rethought her answer and, along with a friend, decided to totally eschew all beauty products for the next two months. This included the obvious, like makeup and nail polish, but also any primping, including hair products and color, and plucking or shaving. Anywhere.

While I know I could never go to those extremes, I've gotten better than I used to be; I can go to the grocery store without makeup every now and then - this from the woman who put on makeup while in labor (all three times!) to go to the hospital to give birth. (I don't know why I bothered - after hours with no epidural, I pretty much sweated it all off anyway.) We've vacationed with several friends and - surprise - they like me no less when they see me without makeup first thing in the morning. And along the same line, they like me no less when I'm bigger. It's just that I like MYSELF less.

I was always one of the big girls growing up; I was 5'6'' in sixth grade, the same height as I am now. It wasn't until late junior high that I started getting chubby. You have to realize that Twiggy was the standard of beauty then - nothing I could aspire to with my sturdy frame.

I switched from public to Catholic school in 9th grade. It's a horrible age anyway. Who DOESN'T feel awkward at age 14? I did my best to blend in, but coming from a school where I had known my friends since I was a little girl to a school where I knew no one, I pretty much stuck out. Appearance was everything, even with the Catholic school plaid skirts and blazers. No one could see that I was nice or smart just by looking at me. One of the worst experiences - to this day - was in ninth-grade general science. For some reason, we were separated by gender in this class. I'm not sure why, since most of the talk about sex was in biology and we were together then. But anyway, on that particular day, I don't even know what the topic was; maybe exercise, maybe diet, maybe extremes on the bell curve. Who knows. But Mr. Fischbach asked the littlest girl in our class, Vicki Hughes (a tiny, adorable, popular cheerleader) how much she weighed, and she said "90 pounds". And then he turned to me and said, "And Cathy, what do you weigh?" If only a hole had opened up in the floor and swallowed me then. I blushed furiously (a bad habit of mine), looked at my desk, and said nothing. The silence seemed to go on f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I never did answer, and he finally resumed whatever lesson he was trying to teach.

Around the same time, my mom came home from a doctor visit and handed me this piece of paper and said, "Here. I asked the doctor to give me a diet for you." It was a basic late-60's starvation diet. So I have had issues for quite some time, as you can see. Seriously, it's amazing I turned out as "normal" as I did.

Reading about the Naked Face Project got me thinking about how tied up we are as a culture in the idea of physical appearances. Why did I start this blog? Sure, to be accountable, get healthier, but the impetus was to look pretty in Alex's and Aly's wedding photos. I like to think that my perception of appearance is way healthier than it used to be. One of my favorite sayings is by Audrey Hepburn, "The happiest girls are the prettiest." And seriously, I could not be happier with my life. I am married to a man I have loved since I met him in 1977, we have the three most wonderful children (and soon-to-be daughter-in-law), we have a very comfortable lifestyle, I have friends whom I know I can call at any time, and I'm healthy.

There is not one thing I would change. But I might try. I know you all think you will win, but I asked for the winning ticket when I bought mine.

Although just in case I don't win, I can console myself with this:

On to the mundane. Breakfast was the same.

The other day, my friend Jane told me that in recognition of how hard I'm working at OSHA (Operation Smokin' Hot by August), this year she was not buying me any Peeps. She always gives me MY OWN BOX every year. And sometimes on even non-Peeps-related holidays, such as Halloween or Christmas. I had to be content with this:

Okay, I scrubbed all the floors today and it is sunny, warm, and there is no wind. Time for a bike ride!

Have a great weekend!

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