28 October 2010

♪♫ you're so vaaaaaaaaain...you probably think this post is about you, don't you? ♫♪

Vanity's been on my mind as of late.

My husband is the most unvain person imaginable. I strive to attain his level of mastery, though I fear it is just something you are, not something you become. He doesn't care about what others think about him because it never even crosses his mind that they would. It's a non-issue for him. I don't know how he does it, but it's enviable.
Pablo Picasso - Girl in front of mirror

Not so with me. I am so concerned about not concerning myself with what others think that I base some of my decisions solely on what "everyone else" is not doing. When I was little I would change my order if anyone at our table ordered the same thing I was wanting. I loved Jeep Wranglers until everyone else did. In church, if someone says, "Let's all lift our hands," I won't. I can't.

But isn't that still vanity? alterno-vanity? or maybe anti-vanity? Whichever it is, it is still basing my decision on what someone else thinks. And I'm not sure that's any better.

When I was in high school  I revolted at the idea of people dying their hair to hide the gray. I thought the practice deceitful and the people who did it insecure. (I know, harsh, but when we're teenagers, don't we know everything and call it like it is?) Well, a couple years ago I died my hair a really dark brown (my favorite hair color, while I was blessed with dirty-dishwater blonde). When I grew tired of the constant re-coloring every few weeks, I started using lighter and lighter colors until I returned to my natural color. When the roots grew out, I noticed a substantial percentage of gray hairs. (I have a great set of early-onset-graying genes.)

I wrote "hair dye" on my grocery list and then suddenly realized that this was a moment. (You know, those times when something monumental reveals itself, and your decision carries with it something more substantial than usual.) Up until now, my hair dying was done only to gradually grow out the dark brown dye. If I bought this next box of Nice-n-Easy, its sole purpose would be gray coverage. I would turn into one of those people I swore I would never become.

All this to say that I've decided to not dye my hair. Part of it is sticking to my younger-self's guns. I really think, that while severe, she understood a truth that I still aspire to. I'm also really adverse to what society has become and though allowing myself to naturally gray will do nothing to fight that monster, it will keep myself from joining that massive Me-Focused Whole.

But at the very bottom of it is the vanity thing. Since most people cover up the evidence of their age, everyone looks younger than they are, thus conversely most will conclude that I am older than I am. Is that really so bad? My vain self screams, "Yes!"

And that's where I am right now. I don't know how else to fight it. When I glance in the rearview mirror and my eyes are drawn to the silver strands on my head reflecting the sunlight like miniature mirrors, I cringe. But then I immediately tell myself, "That's right, Vanity. Deal with it, 'cause it's only gonna get worse."

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