On vanity.

I get it.

To some degree.

I do my best to make sure my make-up and hair is done before I go out – most days. Yet in recent years, I’ve found myself quite comfortable with an almost natural face and a baseball cap. I am me – no matter what.

I’ve pondered just how much I’m willing to give up to be back in a size four at a stature of 5’10”, and see 125 on the scale again.

I’ve looked in the mirror and see clearly the right eyelid that’s drooped way lower than the left, uncurling the eyelashes I worked so hard to position.

I’ve felt the redness flush my face after a cocktail or moment in the sun, or maybe an emotion or two, blotches breaking out in so many places.

I’ve witnessed the tiny waist of long ago disappear in the midst of peri-menopause, shocked that she’d left me. But she did.

I’ve endured the mood swings – and so have others, whether they know it or not. Inexplicable fury, sadness and hurt. Overreaction, hypersensitivity – a big one, rage. Some will never understand the hormonal chaos that just is. And it’s not fun – believe me. For anyone experience it, or enduring it.

Yet as I sat today with women who were counting every calorie, avoiding every wrinkle and tirelessly trying to be beautiful I found myself – exhausted. And disappointed.

Is that all they have to offer? Their body? Their looks? Their vanity? These beautiful women who had so much to give the world and were brutally suffering in the name of superficial beauty, the surface of our existence?

I just couldn’t. I can’t. At this point in life, I want to live. I want to eat the foods I love, in moderation. I want to avoid doctors and find my own path to good health and quality of life. I want to sleep when I’m tired, wake when I’m ready. I want to pursue my passions and not stress about anything I can’t control.

We all want to be healthy and vibrant. Yet extreme dieting, costly beauty products and plastic surgery will never guarantee happiness. That comes from within.

If superficial beauty is what you need to be happy and suffering each day is how you want to achieve it, I support you.

But if it is what you need that to make you happy – please search more, search deeper. The days I look my best aren’t when my hair is styled just right or my clothes fit perfectly. It’s when my heart is happy and my soul is on fire. Those are the prettiest days for me. It’s when a smile reaches my eyes and I’m not dulled by insecurity or stress.

We have one life to live. Make every second count.

Author: E.M. Murphy

A voracious writer, lifetime learner and eternal seeker who aims to open minds and hearts. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a NASM Certified Behavior Change Specialist, humanity and humor is at the heart of my writing, reminding us that the key to success will always start with a genuine concern for others while making sure to be true to our authentic selves.

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