This morning I was thinking a lot about image. Being photographed for a magazine cover, I did something I rarely do, something I almost called my magical friend Molly to do, which is put on makeup. Yes, to many it's an ordinary thing, but I've somehow convinced myself that "it's hard" or at least, "not my thing" and get away with the requisite mascara, possibly a bit of gloss, and if we're really stretching – blush.
As I swiped the eye shadow, which requires more artistic talent than I'm convinced I have (though I was a ballerina, who am I kidding, I've applied layers of the stuff, thick as Van Gogh's paint) I got to thinking about how we portray ourselves in the world.
In So. Many. Ways.
Who we convince ourselves that we are, even.
For example, as you know, I wear minimal makeup. I tell myself I'm not that girly. Yet I'll wear dresses, I love shoes, wear toenail polish..... so what constitutes "girly" and what doesn't? What a person wears on their face? How much time it takes them to get ready in the morning? How many lotions, and creams and pastes their bathroom holds? What's my story about that? Is it all a lie?
Further....what is my motivation for putting all this stuff on my face today, versus every other day? What face am I trying to show the world that I'm not ordinarily trying to show it? Who am i trying to impress? And beyond that, what is the face that we show to the world, and what is the face we hide from it? (And I'm not only referring to faces) I am the person who (insert words here) and would gladly have you know it. I am a person who would rather not have you know I pick my face, or yell at my kids or what-have-you.
And how much of our idea about ourselves is a selective history.... based on inaccurate memories from some illusive past? - I'm a poor student because of the day in 7th grade I forgot all the details on the test about Jack London, and I couldn't remember what reflexive pronouns were. (True story) - Neglecting the fact that I didn't give a hoot about Jack London; (I thought his stories were repetitive and boring,) and forgetting all the achievement awards and "highest ranking student" awards that I collected during that year and others. Those didn't matter, you see. They weren't in English -the only subject that mattered to me, probably because it was where I didn't earn awards!
What face do you present to the world? What would you prefer they don't see?
What is the story you tell yourself about You? What if it really isn't that way at all? Is there a different story you'd rather tell? What if that story is equally relevant and valid?
What if none of them are true? They are the reflections of clouds floating across the clear pond. You are the pond, identifying with the reflections. Yes, reflections are fun, yet how much deeper are you than that?! Just an image. Only temporary. And fun while it lasts.
The makeup is now off my face. Rolling into another day, it just so happens to be my birthday. And if I identify with the story, this day is significant. If I don't, it's not. Either way, how can I live this day fully, with abandon? As though it's my first, and my last? Because it is. Without attachment to image, it is.
A certified transformative coach, yoga therapist, author, + adventurer, Kathy has coached people to happier lives for over 20 years. (Has it really been that long?)