Today my gratitude goes out to Kimberly Wilson – yogi, writer, do-gooder, entrepreneur, and eco-fashion designer – for showing me that it’s possible to be both spiritual and stylish. You can check out her blog at www.kimberlywilson.com.
Like most pre-teen girls, I was teased a lot about my appearance when I hit the “awkward years” around 10 years old. First, it was my bucked teeth, then the acne, the frizzy hair, the glasses. To make matters worse, I’d had years of stunted fashion sense wearing a uniform in Catholic school, so when I hit the public middle school scene wearing bright indigo tennis shoes, pink wide-leg cords, and a pony tail held back with those little “ball” holders . . . well, it was traumatic, and I’m still recovering. My response to that experience was an attitude I held to tightly for many years – “It’s what’s on the inside that counts, and fussing over my appearance is superficial.” I tended to look down on my peers who took great pride in their appearance and pretty much wrote them off, never seeing my own arrogance and superficiality in that behavior.
Never mind the fact that I also looked down on the other nerds, geeks and dweebs like me. I wanted to wear trendy clothes and look beautiful. I was obsessed in private over my horrid skin, skinny figure, clothes, etc. I just denied that I cared so that I wouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to look nice.
(Yes, I was crazy. But I was also a teenager, so craziness came with the territory.)
I’m so grateful I grew out of that distorted view. Today, I believe taking pride in my appearance is just as important to my self-care routine as praying, expanding my mind, eating right, becoming financially fit, and having a clean and serene home environment.
The key is balancing my choices between self-worth and self-acceptance.
I am worth buying shoes that fit at the department store instead of suffering with a cheap pair from Walmart, and I must accept that my funds are limited, so I shop sales or sacrifice something else in my budget to make it happen.
I am worth spending extra time on my hair some mornings, and I must accept that means I’ll have to get up a little earlier and perhaps even go to bed earlier the night before to accommodate a half hour with the curling iron.
I am worth well-fitting, attractive clothing, and I must accept that being petite and on a budget will often make this a challenge. Ebay is a great alternative to Ann Taylor. I am worth dressing my age, and I must accept that shopping in the juniors section may not always be the best idea, even if it does still technically fit me.
I must accept that I have a beautiful, sexy body, and I am worth wearing flattering styles that downplay my sexy side and minimize the male attention that isn’t good for me. The sexy undies, however, are ok; only I know when I have them on!
I must accept that I’m powerless over my genes and hormones and the zits and chin hair they produce. And I am worth the trip to the dermatologist, the laser hair removal, and the miraculous soap and moisturizer from Israel that keeps my skin gorgeous.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to look my best. So often I focus so much on the “inner” work that I do to become emotionally healthy that I neglect the outer work that takes so little effort. One of my greatest desires is that my insides match my outside. It’s okay to work on both a little at a time. In fact, working on my outside may very well be what attracts someone enough to ask what I’m doing for my insides.