At the moment on my commute I am listening to the audio book of Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Today I heard a section that really struck me. She was talking about a concept of reclamation, of going back to nature, to a woman’s natural way of being. She talks about the times when we don’t have to worry about what we look like, about bleaching our hair, painting our nails or making sure our make-up is perfect.
I have always had this idea of being natural. I’m not quite sure where I got it from, but probably because my parents were semi-hippies. I was brought up a vegetarian and we were eating brown rice before clean eating was in fashion!
Maybe nature’s aesthetics are sometimes not as perfect as what we can achieve with make-up, or an injection here, a tuck there…. But they are real.
When I was a teenager I suffered endlessly at school. If any of you have ever been to Carlisle (NW England) you will see that many of the girls and women are very much made up. Hair and make up are big things up there. I was teased and berrated because I didn’t pluck my somewhat unruly eyebrows, didn’t wear copious amounts of eyeshadow and foundation and thought neutral lip gloss was cool. I begged my mum to let me wear make-up, to let me spray my hair until it was rock hard with hairspray and wear blue eyeshadow, but alas, she did not give in.
Once I got into the 6th Form, when I was 16, I realised that I shouldn’t have to conform to local ideals of “beauty” and cart a huge make-up bag with me wherever I went. I resolved that if someone didn’t like the way I looked they could damn well not look at me. I stopped trying to strive for an ideal and (at the risk of sounding like a load of hippy clap-trap) I accepted my natural beauty.
For me, hours spent in front of the mirror are opportunities wasted to do other things. Of course, there is nothing wrong with make-up if you want to wear it, or if you want to dye your hair, pluck eyebrows, whatever, but I have decided I don’t particularly want to be a slave to that. I don’t want to transform my face, my hair, my body into something they are not. Sometimes nature needs a bit of a helping hand, true, but in the meantime, I would rather keep it natural.