I have been traveling a lot lately, and inevitably the entertainment comes down to trashy magazines. My laptop battery is decrepit, I run out of new podcasts, and I need something more akin to cotton candy than whatever heavy, dense, fruitcake-of-a-book I happen to be reading (because, of course, it makes me feel good about my English-major-self to wade through books like this and check them off my list, but my attention span just isn't up to it). Enter: a glossy mix of celebrity gossip and fashion/personal care magazines.
They're fun and pretty and indulgent, but after flipping through two or three of them in a row, it starts raising all sorts of concerns in the far corners of my brain. For instance: I do not have a Skin Care and Beauty Regimen to speak of. The magazines declare this is a critical problem because, if I do not adhere to some sort of 5-step program, my skin will spiral into disrepair and LOOK OLD. Never mind the fact that it will, in fact, one day BE old--nasty, wrinkly, crone-face old--I never under any circumstances should look my age, and the time to moisturize is now. The magazines instill a sudden Sunscreen Paranoia I never knew I had. Usually I just wash my face when it starts to feel greasy; who knew that I was unwittingly propelling it even faster into the future?!
I can't even enter the Fashion arena because, a. even if I had the disposable income to spend on a purse with a four figure price tag, I couldn't bring myself to do it, because WHAT PURSE IS THAT AMAZING? and b. clothes are fun, and I like to look cute, but beyond that I am not terribly fascinated by the coming and going of trends.
Outcome of all this? I am a shoddy female. I probably spend the most personal care time on my hair, but that only happens every three days. I DO NOT SHOWER EVERY DAY (If that's a friendship deal breaker, I understand). I wear makeup, but usually when I'm forced out into the public. I hope my husband isn't too fond of the makeup, because if he tells me I'm beautiful too many times without it, I might just quit.
I guess this is where I'm confused: if all this "Personal Care" is really for myself, to make me feel good and for my own well-being, why is it so focused on what I present to the world? My (many) insecurities render me susceptible to how everyone perceives me, although I really really REALLY do not want to care what other people think about my hairshoesjacketeyeshadowrockhardabsjewelry. But I DO care, and I can't help it. We all do, even if it's just the slightest lack of confidence in one small area. And the glossy magazines are getting to me. Evidently there is all this stuff I should be doing, products and regimens to care about in the name of womanhood; an ever-expanding realm of personal care to be insecure about. I suppose there will always be some aspect of my body or appearance that I'm not whipping into feminine shape & order (And I don't even live in L.A., Manda- the body obsession must make you CRAZY).
Yeah, I'll be taking a break from the magazines for a while.