The Price of Beauty

Last week, as I was standing inside a spray tan booth, freezing my buns off...literally shivering, teeth chattering, the whole thing....I started asking myself "Why? Why do I do this to myself?". I mean, on the scale of unpleasant things you can deal with, shivering in a spray tan booth is pretty low on the totem pole, but it really that important for me to be tan?

Apparently the answer is yes. Since I quit tanning in tanning beds about five years ago (yay me! I'm still proud) I have been a religious spray tanner. Literally at least once a week almost every single week you will find me at the local spray tan salon. I've been known to miss a week here or there, and those weeks I honestly feel kind of blah. Before I gave up actual tanning, I went several times a some points in my life daily. For years. I would say I regularly tanned for a solid 10 years. When I think now about the damage I've done to my skin, the potentially deadly habit I was so addicted to, I panic a little bit. I'm so glad I stopped when I did, but geez, I hope it was soon enough.

But what is it that makes me feel the need to have a beautiful bronzy glow at all times? I honestly think I look a little bleh when I don't have a tan. What's that all about? I was born with nearly-see-through, super white skin. I can't tan in the natural sunlight to save my life. Clearly I'm not meant to be tan. But I can't stop.

And it's not just tanning. I haven't had my natural hair color since around the age of 14...just about the time I started with the tanning. I spend hundreds...actually, possibly thousands (ugghhhh, gross) every year to keep my hair looking the way I want it. Whhhyyyy?

And what about waxing? Am I the only psycho out there who tortures myself with this cruel and unusual punishment? Not a chance, judging by how difficult it is for me to book my appointments. But, I don't like hair. Never have. So I have it ripped from my body. I've always said if I'm ever super rich I want to have all of the hair on my body lasered off...other than my hair and eyebrows, obviously.

There are so many things we do to our bodies so that we can feel beautiful. There's this crazy standard of beauty that we feel we need to meet. The other day A and I started talking about the Victoria's Secret fashion show, and he said people were freaking out saying how bad it is for women's self esteem. I agreed that people were going a little overboard with it, but I did say he has no idea how difficult it is to be a woman, or a girl, and to be constantly slapped in the face with this idea of womanly perfection.

Growing up, until...oh, just a few years ago...I never felt pretty. I never thought I looked good enough, because I wasn't perfect. I didn't have perfect skin, a perfect body, the perfect ears, or teeth, or feet, or whatever...the list of things I've obsessed over in my lifetime goes on and on and on. I was one of those girls who would constantly compare myself to celebrities in magazines. Maybe because I wanted to be an actress, maybe just because I was a young girl and that's what young girls tend to do...but I honestly never thought I was all that great to look at.

Now, I look back at pictures of myself in high school and I think...what was wrong with you, crazy??? I was incredibly thin and fit and blonde and honestly, just pretty. And I couldn't see it. Even now, it's hard for me to type that out, but why should it be so hard? Why can't I embrace it? Of course I wasn't, and I'm definitely not now, perfect. How many people do you actually know that look like a Victoria's Secret model? I Seriously. But I know so many gorgeous women. Maybe not gorgeous by societies standards, but gorgeous because of their compassionate hearts and their quirky smiles and their imperfectly perfect teeth. But how many of them feel gorgeous? Probably not too many.

If I have a daughter (fingers crossed!) I hope that somehow I can instill in her a confidence that I never had. I hope that she will feel beautiful even if she doesn't fit into the perfect mold that she has been told she should. I have that wish for all girls, all women. And even myself.


  1. I think it's getting even harder in todays time to instill those values and make sure girls feel beautiful in their own skin. My step-daughter is 17 and I see the things that go on in her school - Instagram accounts to post pictures of 'hos' and bullying via Twitter and Facebook. Our kids are facing so much pressure these days. I feel like we are having to work so much harder to instill confidence.

  2. I am the same way... I look back at photos from years ago and think why was I so hard on myself? I look good! I swear we are the worst critics of ourselves. I read a blog post a few weeks ago that was talking about how women are bullied by themselves the worst... and it's SO true!

    ~ Lora @ Crazy Running Girl

  3. This is the most amazing post! I worry often about how I can properly raise Kenley to be confident without being vain. It's so hard out there for girls and women and the lengths we will go to make ourselves feel more beautiful is pretty insane. And if you ever want to have a chat about being Tanorexic, I'm your girl. Tanning is my FAVE!

  4. Coming from a skin cancer survivor...I am so glad you stopped tanning in tanning beds. Fingers crossed and prayers that it was soon enough. I stopped my first year in college (back in 2002) and in 2006 is when they found it. The damage was done when I was in high school I think. All my friends still tanned, but I didn't throughout college. I would be wearing the 50+ SPF and avoiding the sun and they all made fun of me. I was so fearful of getting skin cancer, turns out my fears became my reality. I was a VERY LUCKY one and it was found SOOO EARLY!! I didn't have to do anything but have surgery to remove it. No chemo, no radiation, nothing...and I thank the Lord every day for that. If your at all worried, you should go see a dermatologist just to get your skin checked. You may never know. The mole they found it in was so tiny and was suggested to be removed from my Gyno at a regular yearly check up! This post is so great! It is so true and when Tate tells me how beautiful I am without makeup...I laugh. This is one fear of mine if I were to ever have a daughter...I would never want her to feel like she needs to fit a independent, be different, be yourself!!!! Great post Celeste!!!

  5. If you have a son, it's just as important to raise your kiddo thinking of girls and women as beautiful even if they don't choose to conform to social standards of beauty that aren't right for them. If we could break down the cycle of reinforcing the standard, everyone would have more freedom to choose what beauty rituals and routines they want to do, to make themselves feel dressed up or fancy or whatever. Not just having ones they feel compelled to do because they don't "look right" according to how they've been trained people should look.

  6. Love this! I struggle with beauty and finding/believing in the beauty i posses. I hate that when people say my son looks like me that i take it as an insult to my child. My mind literally wants to yell at them How dare you say my childs ugly! Then when i least expect it my son tells me mommy your so pretty and I remind myself to try harder. Much harder

  7. Such a good post and a good reminder to embrace our own natural beauty rather than looking to the media for reinforcement. Not even Victoria Secret models look like Victoria Secret models, thanks to the magic of Photoshop.

    PS - I honestly can't remember how I stumbled onto your blog today (a sponsor post somewhere?) but I'm so glad I did. :)


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