100% Organic

A roommate of mine once had a t-shirt with the words “100% Organic” written boldly across the chest.  She was a healthy person who bought a lot of organic food, and I thought nothing of the t-shirt.  However, one day she asked my other roommate and myself, “Does this message across the chest imply that my boobs are 100% real, not implants?”  My other roommate thought about it and honestly said, “Maybe.”  I didn’t know.  I certainly hadn’t thought of that.

Today I painted my toenails — red, bright and fun.  I tried on a dress and slipped a pair of Spanx under the dress to keep the curves in the right places. At the beauty salon the other day I flipped through the pages of the portraits captured when a girl came in for a fancy up-do.  I ran across the pages where “Cinderella Extensions” transformed short styles into cascading waves, or elegant lengths.  I was briefly curious, so I asked my stylists about them. (I have shorter hair that doesn’t hold curl, and refuses to grow two inches past my shoulders.  The idea was intriguing if I’m honest!)

I once thought about all the ways that a woman can transform her looks.  Literally head to toe there are “things” that can be done.  The list is long.  Are you ready?  Hair cut, color, style, extensions.  Permanent makeup, false eyelashes, makeup expertly done (or even done at all), lip implants, nose jobs, face lifts.  Breast implants, padded bras. Girdles and Spanx. Padded underwear to add definition.  Liposuction. Pedicures.  Manicures. Fake nails.  I’m sure the list could continue, but there from head to toe the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

Now, I’m a girly girl.  I’ve said that before.  I like to dye my hair, put on makeup, and paint my toenails.  I’ll even admit, I’ve tried on fake eyelashes (and despite the trials of getting them on, I actually had fun and liked the look of glamor.)  I just said above that I own a Spanx shape-wear.  Yes.  I admit these things openly.  The question my former roommate asked about being real, could easily apply to all aspects of beauty.

I’ve enjoyed looking at magazines where stars are free of makeup, Photoshop, and beautiful dresses concealing the shape-wear underneath.  I’ve read articles about the extreme measures taken before the Grammy awards air.  I copied an article once about an actress describing the 14 hours it took to make herself look “perfect” for a photo shoot. These articles help ground me.  They remind me that all the glamor of Hollywood is literally an evening of glamor.  It is not the reality of most of these women each moment of every day.

Why do we do what we do?  This is a good question to ask ourselves in a world where fake beauty abounds; where concealing and hiding have become a religion.  What motives do I have when I paint my toenails, when I put on Spanx, or when I dye my hair.  I believe that none of these things are wrong in and of themselves.  Hardly.  A poorly done manicure or hair color demonstrates that these things are not a cure all.  And really, some of the prettiest women according to the world’s standards, feel insecure.

But I wonder.  Why is it that we think we have to hide?  My niece is two years old.  There is absolutely no hiding with her.  She runs naked through the house giggling at the top of her lungs.  She examines the birthday suites of purney older ladies coming out of the showers at the pool with unabashed curiosity.  She touches my moles and asks what they are.  She then looks for moles on her own flawless skin.  Surprise of all surprises, she found one tiny mole on her foot.  It became her delight.

Whatever you do, regardless of if it physically transforms you in some way, is your motive to hide?  There are other ways of hiding, by the way.  A woman can hide behind being good, or by saying all the right words, or acting in a certain way.  A person can hide in church by praying prayers that sound good.  Or a woman can hide behind children who are polite, well-behaved kids. It’s easy to hide.  We’ve mastered it.

We hide a lot, if we are honest.  Now remember, I’m not saying beauty is wrong.  I’m not saying it is bad to enjoy a manicure or new hair color.  Just as these are not wrong in and of themselves, neither does the use of them always mean one is hiding.  I’m just saying that often we do use these means as easily as a child slips beneath a costume and pretends to be someone whom they’re not.

Who are you?  Before God?  Before your family?  Before your friends?  Are you real?  If you enjoy fake nails or eyelashes or beautiful hair extensions, I wonder if you’ve considered your motives and your value before God. Honestly, sometimes I dress up and feel the lies rising that I’m better off dressed up, that my value has somehow magically increased.  It’s a lie.  Often times on a Sunday morning I’ll peer into the mirror.  I look at the woman reflected back, and I often like the dressier image that reflects verses the woman I see on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.  But sometimes, when I look in the mirror, I gaze deeper.  I look past the surface.  I ask God what He sees.  Am I hiding?  Am I trying to please someone (again, not a wrong thing in and of itself, it’s the motive that’s in question!)  I tell God I want to be myself, to be real.  I want others to know who I am, even if they see dyed hair.  I want God to dress up my inside — that kindness and love would bubble out of me. Mostly, regardless of my image, I want to be 100% real.  100%.  Do you want this too?  To achieve this, constant time spent with Jesus is a must.  I’m getting there slowly.  Real.  100%.  Let’s not hide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *