**Written about 6 weeks ago before I started working full-time again***

The other day I was getting ready to go out.  I’d bothered to put on makeup, did my hair and even threw on accessories.

Since I’ve been unemployed for a few months, I’m living in pj’s or sweats, keep my head in a rag and haven’t touched the likes of my make up bag except on the rarest of occasions. I never wear any jewelry -not even my wedding ring- unless I’m leaving the house & the whole package is done.  Otherwise, if I MUST dress to fit into this society of mine which turns it’s nose up at black women in a head rag who look poor while grocery shopping I’ll still put the least amount of effort -no watch, no ring, no hair, no makeup, no matching, no nothing.  I’m a “clean” palette as they say.

Well, I’ve been a (dirty) clean palette of sorts for 2 months now and I believe my kids forgot what a gussied up version of their Mama even looks like.  It didn’t surprise me much that after making a significant effort -about 45 minutes worth of effort- Ransom said, “wow, Mama, you look really nice.  You must be going somewhere.”  Yes, babe, I told him, Mama’s goin’ O – U – T.

It’s not the first time Ran he’s said something along these lines.  It was about the 10th noticing in the last year, and it hit me: he notices.

He notices and compliments my putting myself together.  My husband does too.  I married a man who notices when I’m a frump and says things like, “you look so cute frumpy,” or “you haven’t shaved in 3 seasons? I hadn’t noticed,” or “why don’t you just wear a tee & jeans on our date?”  He’s a simple man that way.  Which, makes us a good match since I only gussy up on an as needed basis.  (When I DO dress up, full on hair, makeup & accessories I go the long, green mile.  Go big or go home is my motto there).  I’ve digressed.

Ransom notices, my hubby notices.  Even the baby notices each time my hair style changes, sometimes going so far as to not recognize me for a full 30 seconds.  Everyone notices.

I never go around apologizing to my hubby for not shaving my legs or for keeping my hair wrapped up in a 29 yr. old hair wrap for 84 hours straight & not even for going days without showering unless I got these lazy bones off to a workout.

I never apologize to my kids for looking “bummy” when I pick them up for school and daycare (which, of course, I do) and I rarely flinch when I go outside to play with the kids lookin’ a HOT mess.  While I hate how people stare when I look a hot mess in the grocery store, for the most part I don’t care.

Seriously.  I really, really, really don’t care.

I don’t feel badly or embarrassed about posting crazy pictures of myself in my head rag and I refuse to feel badly about posting “glam shots” either.

One of my besties asked advice the other day about posting a silly, rough looking pic of her on the main page of her blog.  My advice was that it was maybe too much for the home page of her blog.  Later, I regretted that advice.  I’m not sure the other advice she got but she wound up putting it in her ‘About Me’ page with the caption “Self mockery > glam shots.”  Good for her.  She will look how she looks.

As a person who feels mostly comfortable whether looking poor, looking hot-mess-like or looking gorgeous, if I’m not apt to apologize for either of these 3 looks at home why I should feel badly about it at the grocery store OR online?

I will look how I look.

2013-07-06 12.42.08

I have never wondered how will someone will perceive me posting a crazy a$$ picture of myself online, but I’ve always wondered what others think when I’ve posted cute fashion shots over and over and over again.  Am I going to be perceived as self-focused or worse yet shallow?

When one of my best guy friends asked me for the 3rd time if I Photoshop my Instagrams -yes, my Instagrams- I finally got offended and called him on it.  “Dude,” I said, “do you really think I’m that vain that I would freaking photoshop EACH instagram photo?”  He said, ‘it’s just hard to believe that you  look that beautiful every day.”  (A compliment for the win).

By the by, I do not own Photoshop in any version on any device.  I fiddle with pictures in Afterlight/Snapseed/Rhonna, but I am an amateur “photographer” and iphoneographer to my bones.  I only adjust fashion shots for the lighting in the horrible bathrooms in which I take said fashion shots.

As nice as that closing line sort of was, it only got my wheels spinning about what others perceive of the days I put myself TOGETHER and more specifically the days I choose to post a pic of that “togetherness.”

i.e. Does this glam shot signify that I’m only interested in looking glam?

Because I’m not.  Everyone who knows me knows this.   Looking glam is about 10% of my life.  Maybe less.

Does this pic unhelpfully communicate that I have all my self worth wrapped up in my looks?  

Because I don’t.  Trust.  I’ve had a helluva lot more self worth wrapped up in my career, which is why I’ve struggled more with the idea of being unemployed than actually being unemployed and more with the idea of being unemployed than piling on 35 pounds in 2011 which it took all of 2012 to lose.

Do my glam shots make you think there’s not a lot going on up in that brain of mine?

Because, I’m smarter than I am cute, y’all.  (Ahhh, just kidding, that may be a toss up).  Okay only kidding again.  I get the stereotype though.  Brains AND beauty  isn’t a popular concept.  But let’s let that one go all ready.  A girl really can be SUGA SHARP and still love the Lord her God while getting her Master’s Degree. [Drops Mic]

The point is, I wonder just how much judgement goes into seeing a glam shot over a slouchy, ratty shot.  I just wonder.  I wonder because of what my friend said. I wonder because I found myself thinking something similar about a fellow instagram peep who neva’ met a selfie she didn’t adore.  But who the freak do I think I am judging her based on her numerous selfie’s, which, by the way, are BEAUTIFUL with a BANGIN’ BODY to boot.  Honestly, what’s in her head, what she does with her life, it’s just not. my. place. to. judge.  And especially if I’ve noted that judgement is coming primarily from a place of jealousy over her rock hard abs, something I enjoyed from 8th-11th grade which promptly left and have never returned.

Beauty, true beauty is the way about a woman, we all know that.  True beauty is loving others, it’s serving others.  It’s sacrificial.  It’s pouring out.

Being pretty is being pleasing to look at by 6 billion different opinions.  (Because that’s no pressure at all).

Being pretty can also mean giving a modicum of effort to coordinate an outfit,  some thought to a working hairstyle, a few minutes to enhance certain features.  It’s pouring in.

There’s nothing wrong with putting in the effort to be pretty every once in a while. (If anyone ever told me to attempt pretty everyday I’d stab them with a knife, in the their throat and turn it 3 times).  Seriously. Unless it’s your JOB to be pretty everyday #AintNobodyGotTimeFaDat.

Pursuing being a beautiful woman on the inside is of FAR greater value to me than pursuing being pretty on the outside.  I hold these two solidly in tension.  I have never once believed I couldn’t pursue both as long as I was careful to remember my value isn’t about my performance in either.  Both are equally tempting to pursue for the sake of value finding, for the sake of compliments, attention and worth.  Motives are equally important.  For me as a woman, this tension-holding is key.

I will pursue being a beautiful woman.

I will pursue being a pretty woman at least 2 of every 7 days.  Self love, yo.  It’s of value.

I will do both of these unapologetically.  I know who I am and I will look how I look.

Some days I will look crazy.  I will look how I look.  And it’s just fine.

Some days I’ll be a knockout.  I will look how I look.  And it’s just fine.

I will very rarely just be in between because I seem to have a hard time with in between.  But I will try!  And it will be just fine.

I will release my ideas about what people may think of my many fashionable instagrams or facebook profile selfie’s.  I will not value glam shots over ruff-n-tuff shots.  I will not value ruff-n-tuff shots over glam shots.  I will be me.  I will look how I look and it will be just fine.

I will be comfortable in my own skin which is, for the most part, HOW I’VE ALWAYS BEEN and it’s only this WEIRD INTERNET that’s made me second guess my mostly normal and healthy relationship to my wildly swiveling appearance.

I hope we will all learn to be comfortable with the “image” of ourselves we put out there for these crazy interwebz.  May it not be a carefully manicured internet image in favor of a real internet image.  May it not be a hiding of beauty nor mess but a revealing of reality. 

The reality is, each of us ultimately chooses through our actions whether or not we will be a beautiful soul.

Each of us chooses whether we will value ourselves or not put in any effort.  And I encourage us to do both.

Ladies, let’s hold both beauty and pretty in tension.  It’s not a trade off!  It’s not a trade.  It doesn’t have to be.

To borrow a line from Loreal)…you’re worth it.

photo-8

Almost perfected that Miley twerkin’ tongue/right eye wink action!

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  • http://www.rocksinajar.com/ Aubrey

    That last shot *might* be my favorite Grace-pic of all time. :)

    • mongupp

      Agreed! :)

    • https://gracesandra.com/ Grace Biskie

      ahahahahaah so hilarious, Aubrey!

  • Beth

    Nice to hear I’m not the only one who either doesn’t care what I look like or goes ALL OUT :)

    • https://gracesandra.com/ Grace Biskie

      absolutely not the only one!!!

  • Arnebya

    I tend to remind myself that I can’t control how another person takes something I say or the way I appear. I don’t wear makeup every day, not even every week (my husband notices when I do. I like that he notices but it’s not enough to make me repeat it a few days in a row). I wear the same gray pants 2-3 times a week, switch up the shirt/sweater/shoes. I don’t care. They’re clean. Some days I’m raggedy as hell. Still don’t care. If I make it to work, that’s what I need you to focus on more than what I looked like when I got there. While I may draw the line at pajama bottoms or slippers in the grocery store, I refuse to judge anyone else I see out like that (OK no that’s kind of a lie. The pajama bottom thing kinda irks me. So, I’ll amend that to say I do not make a judgy You Look Disgusting face at anyone. Especially in the grocery store because 9 times out of 10 I’m pretty rough myself).