That was the subject line in the most recent email I got from Sephora. Why I have kept myself on their emailing list, I have no idea. It’s probably the Chinese in me that can’t stand the idea of missing out on a good deal. But beyond that, anyone who really knows me knows that I would be more lost than found in a Sephora store. The rare times I enter, I try to avoid the salespeople because I feel as though it’s literally written all over my face that I don’t have the least idea about proper makeup. They ask if they can help me find something. I respond, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be looking for. Get me my basic Bare Escentuals mineral veil and foundation, and I’m done. My discomfort with the store and ultimately with myself only grows, the longer I linger and browse at the endless beauty products and all their promises of sultry lips, smoky eyes, luscious lashes, flawless skin. I really didn’t know I needed all that until I entered the store. (Well, besides the flawless skin. I know Heaven isn’t all about me, but when the grace of God brings me there one day, I am secretly looking forward to finally having pimple-free skin. And believe me, I will be praising God for that one.) I was quite content until the ads and the model-ish faces and the promises printed with italics and exclamation points started to tell me that perhaps I needed something more. Perhaps I needed to make sure I had the right mascara.
One of my dear friends who has two young children once shared with me how she was so greatly encouraged by another young mom’s reminder,
Don’t compare your internal with other peoples’ external.
They talked about this in the context of new motherhood, and how easy it can be for new moms to feel terribly flustered, and on top of that, feel the additional weight of guilt and incompetence when they see other young moms who appear, in that brief moment, to have things all together. Little do they know, those other moms are thinking the exact same thing about them. I wish I could be like her. What’s her secret?
Isn’t this how we are with so many things in our lives? Physical appearances. Job performance. Relationships. Artistic skills. So much fodder for comparison and envy, until we get honest and see that 99% of the time, what we see around us is not the real picture, or at least not the full picture.
In my recent trip to the Pacific Northwest, what I quickly re-realized is how much I love being behind the camera, but am terribly uncomfortable in front of it. There I go again. Feeling my insecurities and thinking about how other people are so much more photogenic than I. It’s still so hard to get away from that.
Alas, I will end this post on a lighter note. These two gentlemen clearly didn’t feel so self-conscious about what other people thought of them. While I don’t know that I’d ever do what they are doing, respectively, I’ve got to give them kudos for their level of comfort with themselves.