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October 21, 2010 / Meg

Your Unvarnished Self

As women (no offense to my lovely dude readers out there…hope you’re not offended that I referred to you as lovely dudes), I think society puts so much pressure on us to be “perfect.”  In magazines, movies, articles, and advertisements, we can’t escape the “perfect” size zero, extremely photoshopped image of what we’re supposed to be.

I walk into a store–whether it’s at the mall or my neighborhood pharmacy–and I’m reminded of what “beauty” is.  It’s the perfect pair of stilettos to go with that uber expensive little black dress.  It’s the perfect shade of lipstick to match your perfectly smooth skin.  It’s getting those perfectly flat abs in less than 20 minutes a day.  It’s perfectly white teeth and perfectly shaped brows.  It’s having lips like Angelina, curves like Beyonce, and legs like Cameron.  

This is everything that beauty is not.  Beauty isn’t perfection.  It’s not having the longest lashes, the fullest lips, or the smallest waist.  Beauty is who you are.  Who you are despite the “flaws.”  Who you are in spite of who the world is telling you you should be.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is:

“But nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great, ever came out of imitations. What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the world of becoming yourself…Perfection is static, even boring. Your unvarnished self is what is wanted.” — Anna Quindlen

I don’t know what it’s from.  I don’t even know who Anna Quindlen is.  But I read it once and kept it close to my heart.

Lately in the blogosphere, there has been a perfection protest.  And I’m not going to lie…I’m kind of loving it.

One of the reasons I love the blogosphere so much is that we’re able to talk about these things so personally.  At the same time, we’re able to do something about it.  To make a difference.  To be the change.  If you haven’t done so already, please check out Operation Beautiful.  The movement originated from a blog post.  It’s amazing, really.

I’m not perfect and nowhere near it.  I’m goofy and clumsy and totally okay with it.  Perhaps it’s a bit ironic because I’m extremely type-A and a bit of a perfectionist myself, but I’ve learned that my imperfections make me who I am.

In the celebration of imperfection, here are just a few of my many imperfections.  I embrace them because they are uniquely me.

  • I’m sometimes entirely too honest.  Blunt, if you will.
  • My laugh is quite loud.  And not cute.
  • I feel naked without eyeliner and mascara.
  • I have no problem untagging myself in Facebook pictures.
  • I overanalyze stuff.  I’m better than I used to be, but I still have my days.
  • I’m often wearing socks because my feet get really, really cold.
  • Sometimes I sweat the small stuff.
  • I wear my heart on my sleeve.  All the time.
  • Grocery shopping stresses me out.

Definitely not my greatest attributes, but they are still my own.  I am not perfect.  I have never been perfect.  I will never be perfect.  I am who I am and I wouldn’t change that for some $9.99 miracle solution on an infomercial.  No thanks, I’m good.

This talk of beauty and perfection makes me think of this song.  I’ve shared it before, and it’s undoubtedly powerful and just an awesome song.  It’s a reminder that we have a God who loves us and created us and shapes us and molds us.  A God who doesn’t expect us to be anything other than who we are.  Who doesn’t want us to be like everyone else, because we were each created in such a unique way by God’s unending love.  A God who shows us grace when we need it and also when we don’t even notice it.  A God who sees our beautyinside and out.  A God who encourages us to share that beauty with the world.

There will always be days when we’re tired, even though we’re told we’re never supposed to be tired (and we’re never supposed to look tired).  Days when we’re feeling sluggish, when we’re told we should still run 8 miles and have endless amounts of energy.  Days when we just feel crappy.  It happens.  But I have faith and believe that there is more to life than feeling like you’re supposed to be something your not.

In a world tells us to be so many things, be yourself.  You can be anything in this world.  You really, truly can.  But just be yourself.  It makes the ride so much more enjoyable.

And–I almost forgot!–my perfection protest picture.  🙂

Smile!  You’re beautiful.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. B. / Oct 22 2010 6:03 pm

    Love this! Very great and introspective post. Also, my laugh is very loud, too! Think Julia Robert’s outburst of a whole-hearted laugh….but w/out actually being Julia Roberts.

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