Friday, March 13, 2009

You're so Vain

Me, I mean.

I've been stewing about this a lot lately. Vanity. Me. How tied I am to it.

It's Lent. And I guess it's a good thing to stew about...if you're trying to be a bit more detached from it. But sheesh, it's like detaching a limb, for pete's sake. Because, yeah, I'm SO vain.
Anchoress got me stewing about it more, with this post. She talks about how hard it is to finally post a pic of her, the real her, be seen on video, with all her perceived shortcomings. And I read it and thought, yup. Gee we are so hard on ourselves.

But I am the worst at it. And I've been thinking about it a lot this week. That's probably due to the fact that I spent far far too long on the sofa, either sitting company with a sick kid (half done, waiting for the other half of kids to fall sick...) or lying sick myself; only barely conscious enough to register my hands bent into old feeble claws and the odd poochy lump that would be my stomach, not the pillow after all. It was made worse when I had to answer the door to the very nice yard guy. Saying hello, his eyes politely flickered then made a studied examination of his clipboard. He hastily retreated back to his truck, business finished. Grateful for the quick exit, I checked in the bathroom on my way back to the sofa. Oh dear, I thought, taking in the wild frizzy gray mop, and the baggy eyes and slack gray skin underneath, the rumpled sweats. I look like hell. Poor guy, now he has to go find some Airborne tabs, quick. And I thought, ah, sick and still vain. So sad.

And now I'm better but still feeling all out of sorts. It's a vague malaise that's been lingering in the atmosphere of my head lately. I've chalked it up to spring fever. I've chalked it up to the waiting blues (court, again). I've chalked it up to just plumb being out of shape (this one very likely) again.

But then I've thought more about it. And you know, maybe this is a sort of Lenten snag, at least that I'm stewing about it now, more. Maybe I'm supposed to stew about it more, now. It's one of my personal thorns. I have always been insecure to some degree (yeah, we all are, but still), some eras really much so and some less (40's really are better, except the failing body thing). Which is vanity, the wishing you were somehow more, better.

So what to do about it? Workout again? For real? The problem with that is twofold: first, I tend to go the compulsive route...I don't just run (ok run/walk, I'm being honest here), I obsess. It's not enough to go a mile or two or three a day...I have to do more, it creeps up, it consumes.

(Me, after my one and only marathon....and I can put this up because I'm proud I did it but it almost killed me and also, I look like what I was, stinky smelly exhausted...so it's oh so apropos for this post, no?)

Second, no matter how hard I work out, I'm not gonna look like I'm twenty-two anymore. I'm 46, 'nuff said. Should I go back to my cheerleader mainstay and say, when I am not working out: "Hey, I've got bigger fish to fry?" That might be true, sometimes. Go back to my postmodern woman mantra: you all know this golden nugget, "Hey, I need to make time for me!" and then slice and dice our daily schedule to make room for my workouts? (And I'm referencing above marathon photo...that was a tough one to carve out family wise...like rearranging the planets. Those days are gone. Aw)

Actually, it's three fold. Third: it's not just about working out or not. It's about that sticky sense that if you don't, and don't follow the current cultural standards closely enough, it's not good enough. This is the sticking point of course. The sickness. The deep seated, bought in, vanity.

Sigh. I don't know. It's very hard in this pressure cooker modern culture of ours to withstand the tide of push pull tug to be some freaky franken-fabu-mama. Can't be done and yet we all scan every new moisturizer that comes out promising the erase the wrinkles or tighten the sagging. (Ok, me). It, this culture, breeds self loathing. Our very culture swims in vanity.

But it is Lent. So I will put this up. Because Anchoress started it, blogwise. Because, I want to detach from this nagging snagging vanity that drains my joy when my jeans get snug. Because I do have bigger fish to fry (no, that's not a Catholic Friday pun...but it could be!). Because I want to be more than what size jeans I wear or how my hair is coiffed or how floppy my jowls are getting.

I want to be holy. Ok, I want to grow in holiness. Really.

And to do that, I have to detach. I have to only want God, not me, not me as I wish I was. Love what God loves. Which, shhhhh, means even me. And then, finally, if I can let go, detach.....maybe I can grow into the most real beauty of all; the kind that counts.
For me, it looks like this.See. Um, clearly.....looonnnnnnggg way to go here. Sigh.
But, it's Lent. And we are in week two. So, something to work on......




This song has been rolling in my head today, sheesh, hence this vain post. But the subtitles make me laugh.

4 comments:

Kristy -Mom To 6 Blessings said...

Beautiful post....thanks for being so real and raw...I have yet to meet a person that doesn't struggle with the same thoughts....except me. HA! Yeah, right! A pair of tight jeans can so ruin my day! I too, long for more of Christ. Unfortunately, my brain works dysfunctionally thinking that it's important for the world to see that you can adopt kids and have a large family and still look like you have it together. HA! Nice huh.........
Hey, I feel like I'm on Becca's blog for confession Friday. :-)
Have a blessed weekend!
Love,
Kristy

coffeemom said...

Thanks Kristy. I know what you mean about the world seeing you can do all this and look like you're together...that's a pressure too (and a whole 'nother post on the different sides of that one...). I guess I'm frustrated w/ the standards of what that means....whose are or should they be. Ack.
But again, I am vain enough to worry that no one understood what I meant. What a dork. have a great weekend and for what it's worth, you've got my vote on totally having it together!

Diane said...

Great post!! Thanks for sharing:)

Erin said...

Oh man,
I can relate to this post. I am only 35, but I have been really bothered lately that I will never be as lovely (physically) as I once was. But I think of the women I love best - my grandma, my mother, my aunt (mom's twin sister) and I really think they are beautiful. And they are beautiful. The tough part about being an eternal being, I guess is living in a temporal shell. I think recently I had a break through on this, though. Thanks for the post.