Monday, August 3, 2009

Changes, Pt. 2: Measure of Beauty

Metaphor of the Day: Being around a beautiful girl is like having a pet boa constrictor: a bit dangerous, but it's fun, so who cares?


This blog was to be a searchable, categorized resource for how I can be happy in spite of the stressful things in my life. Looking over the things about which I've written, I realize that so much has changed.

Some things, though, don't change that much.

The Long and Short of It

I still feel most like myself when I look in the mirror and see short hair. For one thing, I just have the face for it. For another thing, I've had short hair ever since I started thinking of myself as an adult. When I cut it short for the first time, I had recently acquired my first full-time job and was in the process of fading out of the Young Women's program and into singles' ward. I left home for the first time not long after that, to come to school in Idaho. My college friends have no concept of what I look like with long hair.

In short (no pun intended), a pixie haircut has become a part of who I am over the last three years. But at the same time, I have become who I am over the last three years. I'm a little scared to grow it out again, in the same way I was a lot scared to cut it short. What if it's just not me? I don't really have an answer to that.

I Could Not Ask for More

Another thing that hasn't changed very much is my concept of my body shape. Let's face it: I am not a tiny person. And sometimes, that's hard. I look at myself in the mirror sometimes and have to close my eyes. The mirror we keep in the hallway of our apartment stretches you just enough to be flattering, without you really noticing that it's doing it. You just feel attractive. There are days that I hate that mirror. I feel pretty when I look in it, but we all know it's lying. So am I not pretty?

I don't say this to throw myself a pity party. Every day I have to firmly say, Sara, stop comparing yourself to them, yes, but that doesn't mean I don't feel pretty a lot of the time. I try to take good care of myself. I could do better, be better, look better. But it could be a lot worse, too. I'm very healthy, so I have a lot to be grateful for. I just have to remind myself of that a lot.

To See or Not to See? That is the Question.

In addition, I discovered a couple of years ago that I simply have Really. Big. Eyes. It's mostly the whites of them that are big, but whatever the case, it's earned me a long-standing comparison with lemurs. I don't find the comparison to a lower primate to be particularly flattering, but I do enjoy that other people notice that I have big eyes. It's part of the Disney Princess standard of beauty.

It annoyed me for a long time that I wear glasses. Sure, they frame my eyes, but since I'm nearsighted, they also make my eyes look smaller. Why on earth would I want that?! Plus, I have no concept of what I actually look like without glasses. I toy with the idea of contacts for about two months out of every year ("toy with" here meaning "tell everyone I know that I am DEFINITELY going to get them this year").

This year is no different in that regard, but in another way, something has changed. Firstly, Cindy was a doll and did a photo shoot with me here in town; a few of the pictures included me without glasses. I like these pictures -- mostly. Secondly, I've met two particular girls. One is in my relief society, another was in a class. They, too, have ridiculously large eyes, but neither of them wear glasses. Looking at them, and at myself in these pictures, I'm not sure that Huge Eyeballs are the way to go. It's a little weird to look at the thing that you rejected out of vanity, and wonder if they might actually contribute to your appearance. I'm over contacts -- ask me again in a year.

What (Not) To Wear

When I first arrived in college, my personal style was a disaster. I was tired of hiding, so believe me, I didn't! My typical attire involved messy short hair, bright mismatched layers, drawn-on Converses (and jeans), the works! Cindy was wonderfully patient with me and my fashion choices, and so I gradually got over it. Then I worked in a very professional job for a year, and for a long time just really enjoyed collared shirts, skirts, slacks, neutral colors, and high heels.

My current style is a combination of the two extremes. I currently favor skirts with Converses, collared shirts, bright colors, and slightly messy hair. However, I also acknowledge that my personal style is not so personal at all; it is very much affected by the tastes of whomever I happen to be hanging out with most. This annoys me, but 2 Christmases ago Cindy wrote an entire short story for me to remind me that the people around us are just as much a part of who we are as the choices we actively make. So I try to be OK with it, and try to keep figuring out what I like best.


On my bathroom wall, I have a picture of Jesus. As silly and incongruous as it sounds, I made a speech bubble for him, written in marker:

"You are always beautiful to me."

All this post really says is that I don't know how to be happy in regards to my physical appearance. However, Christ's love for me is never unsure, never changes. So this is what I keep coming back to, in the end.

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