Vanity and the Wall

Anyone who has known me for longer than 2.5 seconds (especially my female friends) know that I seek positive results obsessively in a few aspects of my life. I always want to be thinner, stronger, faster, smarter. (cleaner, quicker, funnier, helpful–er, frugal-er,  yadda yadda yadda) and like most women I can’t claim the mad-beast metabolisms of models, and running just always seems to be more sluggish than the speedy ninja getaway I always plan — I constantly am coming up short in my own eyes. Still, I love the mirror. I don’t know if it’s a girl thing or if it’s a 16 years of ballet thing, but if there is a mirror (or a shiny car, or a shopping window) I’m probably going to look in it, make sure my bangs are straight and that I’m still sucking in. The whole thing is a wall I’m forever running into.

No one said it was healthy and this is not a confession-time blog, I have a point here.

Today I received a beautiful gift in the mail from my 11 year old sister in law. She’s been telling me its coming all week and so when I sent her a picture of the envelope (upon which she had crayoned two beautiful sparrows) she responded immediately with the words “Have you seen what’s inside?!” I opened up the homemade envelope — the first fold was colored in and in beautiful handwriting it said “you are beautiful” the next turn of the page revealed a picture, hand drawn and colored, and a miraculously deep little poem written in crayon. The whole thing held up to every little hint she’d given me about the present I should watch for in the mail — she had every right to be excited and proud of that beautiful note.

But something else caught my attention here. It was her response to my excited text about the beautiful envelope. I know that those sparrows took delicate handiwork — they would have taken me half an hour to draw, but she paid no mind to them once they had been colored, what mattered to her was that I got inside the letter and saw what the whole content was really about. In her mind, the birds were just superfluous to the actual gift.

So here is my point.
There is a time to work on everything on the outside — the clothes, the hair, the stomach, the arms — and there is a time to see it. But it’s the development from going through that initial fold of our homemade envelopes and opening the pages to see what the content is truly about. While half an hour can be spent on the birds, we should spend twice as much or more on the inside picture, no envelope could ever be exciting — no matter how beautiful — if it only opened up to a blank page.
By the way, that’s just self care. However, we should consider the same for every different face we meet in our lives. I hope to surround myself with beautiful people always — the ones with the poems laboriously written on their souls, not just painted whims on their faces.

Happy writing,


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