Until I was in Jr. High I never really thought about looks. My face was my face. I kept it clean, had horrible pixie haircuts from the Beauty School and didn't worry at all. Then I entered Jr. High and it seemed like all the girls had taken some sort of class that I had missed. Girls were flirting, wearing make up and obsessing about clothes. I was late to the game but sure, I joined in. I bought Seventeen magazine and desperately wanted to become Colleen Corby. I grew my hair to her length, set my curlers just so and nothing. I was not Colleen Corby so I went on with my normal life. Sometimes I really wished I was a super model but mostly I was OK with myself. Today, I realize I am glad I was never a hot babe.
What is making me think about this? Two things. The first is the Facebook pic that is being passed around of Maria Kang. I will post it here in case you've been lucky enough to have missed it. Maria is obviously in very good shape and pretty darn happy about it. Good for her.
Personally I still prefer Colleen but that's me.
These are very good looking young women. I think emphasizing the word young is appropriate here because everybody gets old and no one, and I mean NO ONE, keeps their looks at that level. Since beauty fades maybe it's pretty dumb to fixate over it so much?
The second reason I really thought about all this is because of my recent flight. I flew home from Portland with a suitcase full of fabric, a Kindle full of books and Spanish papers to grade. My husband sat in front of me because it makes me crazy when anyone reclines their seat into my lap. Unlike Maria Kang I take up my whole seat. My seat belt is extended all the way. There was a seat empty in between myself and the window person and at the last moment, another woman sat there. She was very thin, blond, desperately unhappy and proceeded to drink her away across the country.
You know what comes next right? She got me to talk to her, it's the teacher in me. She was 49 and had been one hot babe all her life. (Not as hot as Colleen but hot.) Her looks were beginning to fade, you could tell she had had some work done. She was in the middle of quite a crisis.
Because of her good looks, she had attracted men all her life. She had focused on her looks and maintaining them. She had not worked on other skills or relationships. She was afraid she would end up waiting tables and alone.
I realized how lucky I was to have developed myself as a fully formed human being and while my attributes won't photograph as well as Maria Kang's, they are real and valuable none the less. I studied really hard and became a teacher. I did drama in High School and attend plays to this day. I lived and studied abroad and speak three languages. I learned how to sew, perfected my skills and now I am quite an accomplished sewer and quilter. I read voraciously and still do. I have a wonderful husband who married me for the person that I am. I have terrific children who were never Photoshopped into my pictures.
I worked on all of me, on supporting myself and developing my mind and I still have all of it in the body that fills the entire airplane seat.
What the woman next to me on the plane was realizing is a lesson that Maria Kang needs to grasp. Youthful beauty fades but the beauty within you does not. And to prove it to myself, I googled pictures of Colleen Corby when she was on Oprah a few years ago. She was on a lot of covers of Seventeen and made bunches of money. I got to excel in High School and College and gain lots of skills. Lookswise, there is not the huge difference between us there was so many years ago.
I guess my attitude is best summed up in Thorton Wilder's play, Our Town.
Emily: But Mama you've to say something about me. Am I pretty enough to get anybody...to get people interested in me?
Mrs. Webb: Emily you make me tired. Now stop it. You're pretty enough for all normal purposes.
Pretty enough for all normal purposes, perfect!
Not being a hot babe has made me the person I am today and that makes me sew happy!
Want to see other things I think about? Check out my Facebook page. Like the page and join the conversation or at get a smile from my quilt memes! If you want to keep reading my blog, you can subscribe. To do so, type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. That's all, you're done. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Want to see a post from the past which blends my reading, teaching, languages and sewing plus some advice? I knew you would. Click here.