Family Practice: A thing of beautyWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | email@example.com
Aside from shampoo, conditioner and body wash, my “beauty” regimen consists of three products: vitamin E gel for my face, lotion for my hands and hair gel. I wear bare minimum makeup very occasionally (as in there literally needs to be an occasion). That’s it.
I wear a uniform of jeans and t-shirts with, again, the occasional semi-dressy outfit thrown in when need be. My wedding ring is the extent of my daily jewelry adornment and I carry a purse solely for utilitarian purposes. I kind of like shoes, but my 10.5 narrow feet preclude me from shoe collecting since I have to buy the expensive kind and they never seem to look quite as cute on my feet as they do on the size 7 display.
It works for me. I stray from my system on occasion and try some new things, but I generally end up as my usual self at some point or another. I’m fairly certain this is who I’m supposed to be
I don’t think that cosmetic simplicity is for everyone, however. I don’t think that everyone should subscribe to my no frills school of style. In fact, people do incredible things with hair, makeup and clothing that completely awe me. I am intrigued by fashion and astounded by those who have the vision and talent to create it.
I know that as a plain Jane and as a mother of girls I’m supposed to denounce Barbie and princesses and modeling as a career choice, but I have to confess that they don’t really bother me. I don’t get them in the least, but I don’t find them irksome either. I also don’t get an affinity for the NBA, seafood or temperatures over 75 degrees, but a whole lot of other people seem to so I guess we’re not meant to understand everything.
Just because we don’t understand the love of something shouldn’t mean we reject the idea of it for others. When it comes to the enhancement of physical appearance, there’s a point at which we need to detach superficiality from it. Now that I’m viewing hair and makeup and sparkly clothing through my daughters’ eyes, I see that there’s much more to it than just “I want to look like someone else.” There’s an artistry to the whole thing that gets overshadowed when we insist that style is for shallow people.
Style is for most people; we just appreciate it in our own individual ways. Some people understand style through architecture, others through music or the written word. Still others understand it through hair, makeup, clothing, tattoos, piercings and just about any other body ornamentation you can imagine.
If there’s one thing we can learn from Adam Levine, it’s that tattoos, physical fitness and aesthetic beauty do have a place in this society. The issues arise when, like anything, we take physical appearance too far and allow it to define us completely. I don’t find superficiality in caring for and enhancing to our liking that which we were given; I see it as superficial to try to be someone we’re not, whether it be aesthetically, emotionally or intellectually.
There no doubt needs to be greater valuing of a variety of body types and the ceasing of PhotoShopping on magazine covers, but in general I think appreciation for the human body is OK. Making what you think is the best of what you’ve got is OK, even when it comes to appearance.
As a kid of the 90s I-supposedly-don’t-care-what-I-look-like grunge era, I never thought I’d be speaking kindly about paying attention to appearance (although the fact that we were all running around in the same flannel shirt and ripped jeans wasn’t exactly a coincidence). Yet, if you do it right, having kids changes you. It changes the way you see the world, making you care more about some things and less about others. I don’t necessarily care more about how I look personally, but I do care less about how the people around me enjoy playing with style in the fashionable sense.
My daughters are happy to play with Barbies and dress up as princesses, and I’m happy to let them do so (as much as I don’t understand the appeal myself). I just try to temper their dabbling in “superficial” things with reminders about how such things are a part of our enjoyment, not our necessity. I’m comforted to hear a frequent, “I love to wear makeup, Mom, but I know I look just as beautiful without it.” You got it, kid.
Shannon Szyperski and her husband, Michael, are raising three children in Sylvania. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.