My six-month old crawls around my bathroom floor or sits in her bouncy seat as I shower, dress and get ready for the day.
I wonder what she’s thinking as I stand in front of the mirror primping and editing, grimacing at my reflection.
She tracks every movement I make completely mesmerized.
I painstakingly dry and then flatten my curly hair straight, cursing the thickness and amount.
I carefully pluck stray gray hairs from my head and then tweeze my eyebrows.
She stares in awe.
I apply body lotion and eye cream.
Her gaze is wide and bright.
I examine my face with a magnification mirror, picking and squeezing at tiny black heads.
Each of my actions provide a mystery for her to solve.
I scrutinize my midsection and wonder if I’ll always have 5-10 pounds to lose.
Her curious eyes taking it all in.
This little girl is always watching and listening to what I say and do. What messages do I want her to see? What do I want her to hear? It will be years before she has to worry about any of this, but I think about it almost daily. How will I explain my own vanity to my daughter?
I’ll be honest about the work that can go into attaining feminine beauty and the pressures that are placed on even those who work at it the hardest. I’ll explain that these “pressures” are often self inflicted because of what our society says is beautiful.
I will tell her no matter how she views herself or how she thinks others are, that she is flawless.
I will stress that beauty comes from the inside no matter how many lotions and potions she uses and that less is often more.
I will try to convey that to feel beautiful and confident and accepting of herself is the key to longevity.
And I know she’ll believe me, just as soon as I do.