Monday, February 20, 2012

it's natural

i am growing out my hair (again).  it's in an rather awkward stage since i refuse to trim my layers.

what?  you say it looks the same?  behold, october 2011.

it's longer, i promise.  inch by excruciatingly slow inch, it is growing.  i've made a pact with myself to take better care of it this time around, which means no peeling my split ends (gross i know, but it used to be my worst habit), not washing it more than a couple times a week (easy peasy.  my hair's really dry so i can easily go 3 or 4 days between washes.  ahem...not that i would), heat styling.

say what?

i don't know if you can see how bad my ends look, but let this be a cautionary tale.  do not mess with your split ends.  and also get a trim more than once a year.

i spent years fighting my hair, blowdrying and straightening it every day (which was a waste of time in georgia, because as soon as i stepped out of the house into the humidity it would frizz back up.)

hello, awkward high school heather with a middle part.  see how great it looks with my front cowlick?

i envied everyone who had straight hair and got up at 5 every morning to beat mine into submission. 

ah, the part has moved ever-so-slightly to the side.   

why do we do this?  it's a bit ridiculous if you think about it.  we don't like our hair, so we straighten/curl/perm/bleach/highlight/dye it.  we use makeup and artful shading to play up our cheekbones or make our noses look smaller.

eyelashes not long or thick enough? use mascara, false lashes, or get extensions.  don't like your skin?  foundation, blush, highlighter, bronzer.   eyes too small/big/close together/far apart? reshape them with eyeliner.  hate your eye color? colored contacts.

spanx for our lumps and bumps.

push-up bras.  because bigger is better.

high heels.  add instant height and have shapely legs!

pluck your eyebrows.  shave your legs.  

how did it come to this?

now, i have nothing against any of these things in particular.  i have blonde eyelashes, mascara is my best friend.  i get bored of my hair easily and would dye it a different color every week if i could.  and any bra that can make me not look like i've had two kids is a winner in my book.

embrace your natural baldness and strangely-placed long wispy hairs.

i guess i'm just questioning the underlying assumption that we need these things to look good.  the assumption that the way we look on our own, without any extra help, is not good enough.  

why shouldn't it be good enough?  that's how we were made.

i'm not trying to be all hippie-dippy crunchy granola "reject the man's image of perfection and embrace your natural goddess!"  but i have been undergoing a bit of a paradigm shift.

i spent years hating (truly loathing) my body, and it's taken me years to slowly come to terms with the fact that i might be okay...just the way i am.  for the first time i'm not yearning to look like someone else.  so what if i have stretch marks and a little extra tummy?  so what if my natural hair is less "sexy beach wave" and more "i drove here with the windows down"?  so what if i don't have a year-round all-over golden glow?  so what if my teeth are not quite white and i wear a retainer?  just because you're different (from the perceived "standard of beauty") doesn't mean you're wrong.

i heard a talk several years ago that gave me pause.  our bodies are gifts from God.  when we abuse them, whether verbally, physically, or emotionally, isn't that offensive to him? 

“For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift?” (D&C 88:33)

president faust has said that ingratitude is a form of pride.  when we are engaged in a constant cycle of self-loathing and body-hating, we're not being humble--we're being prideful.  i'd never thought of it like that before.  

when i realized that i was being self-absorbed and not appreciating the beautiful gift of a working body that i had been given, my attitude began to change.  it's been a slow road, but i think my perspective is gradually becoming a little clearer.  (i also think that not being a teenager helps.)  ;)

it's funny, something about having children really improved my self-image.  maybe it's because i'm not so focused on myself anymore.  

and maybe it's because an ambulance of firemen saw me naked and screaming when i was giving birth to tesla.

but my self-acceptance level is miles above what it was when i was in high school, even though i was thinner and stretch mark-free.  i've made peace with my body, and it feels amazing.


by the way, if you haven't seen enough pictures of me, here's a real blast from the past.  behold yet again, young heather, in all her awkward, gangly, pre-teen glory.  (i'm the one on the right.)


  1. You are hilarious. Point blank and hands down. Stop READING for heavens sakes and WRITE me a book! I would give to read ANYTHING with your fresh voice and humor in it! I mean it. (And I could use a fresh voice and some humor here. All I hear all day is "da-dee?" and "Did you know guts look like this?")

  2. sarah--thank you so much! what a confidence booster. and i can definitely relate...all i hear all day is "Ere's Daddy? E's a skoo!" (where's daddy? he's at school! repeated x100) and "do you want to see what [insert disease here] looks like?")

    robin--looking forward to it!

    mom--thanks. when are you going to start a blog? :)

  3. Amazing post! Man I miss you guys. Too bad we have super busy husbands. Our boys would be best friends I just know it.

  4. agreed. they'd be excellent little troublemakers together.