"I’m not shunning giving and sacrifice, just that we are taught, along with the notion that feminine beauty is everything, that our value lies only in what we give, not in who we are".
At age sixteen I moved from a farm in Central Washington, to New York City to work as a professional model with the Elite Modeling Agency. My mother came with me for about two weeks, and then returned home to care for my then four-year-old brother, Aaron. My career, which included being Revlon’s Charlie Girl in the 1980’s, took me to Milan, Paris, Munich, and eventually London where I quit modeling and studied English Literature.
As grateful as I am for my foray into the fashion world, (I would never be where I am today without it), it did significant damage to my budding teenage sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
In her cigarette smoke filled office in Paris, my agent informed me that I was in the top 1% in physical beauty in the world. For most people, this comment would have spurred a sense of satisfaction or maybe power, but for me there was a significant split in reality. I was working with the top photographers and designers in the world, yet I felt lower than dirt.
Having failed to develop internal value in my youth, I looked for it externally in a business that could never give what I so desperately needed. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t feel pride, but rather that my appearance was an abstract and not part of whom I was. I would criticize my too big thighs, crooked lower teeth, and flat chest among other things. The world told me I was lucky to be considered beautiful, that this was the highest attainment a woman could hope for, that I would find a rich man, marry well, and live a charmed life because I possessed this thing: this thing that fades.
One thing I have learned is that the world is crazy. At age fifty-three, I have worked hard to create a sense of self that honors who I am, while loving and caring for my body, without clinging to it for handouts. I did not marry the rich man, or live a charmed life in the general sense of the word. I am divorced with two teenage daughters with a career as a professional makeup artist and YouTube creator of content for older women. Many of us struggle with ageing and feeling less and less valuable not only to our partners, but also to the weird ideological worship of youth in the work place. Finding self-worth in a world that teaches us that youth and beauty are everything takes determination and a strong daily practice. What do I mean by that?
The Dalai Lama commented in the Vancouver Peace Summit in 2009 that, “The world will be saved by the Western woman.” How are we to save the world? It feels far-fetched that, in our sometimes-mundane lives, we have the capacity for such enormous influence. He also stated that, “. . . females have more sensitivity for others' pain and suffering,” and that this gift is the catalyst to invoke change. I would also like to postulate that we best connect to this powerful gift of sensitivity through self-care and self-love, not through giving and sacrifice. I’m not shunning giving and sacrifice, just that we are taught, along with the notion that feminine beauty is everything that our value lies only in what we give, not in who we are.
As women, our focus needs to be on nurturing and caring for ourselves, so that we can bring our sensitivity and spiritual connection to the world. On a personal level, I am a huge fan of meditation. There are many types, but my favorite is the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza. I’ve worked with him a great deal on Gaia TV where I am head of the makeup department. In any case, meditation, long walks, inspirational books, music, and a really good haircut all help to keep me feeling nourished and heart centered. What is your program for self-care? How do you tell yourself, every day, that you are cherished? It doesn’t need to cost anything, much to the chagrin of Capitalism. Silence the vicious inner critic that tells you that you are not worthy or beautiful. Give voice to the fact that you are here to transform yourself and the world.
Suzanne Blons, our guest blogger, offers professional make-up services and beauty coaching, and her passion is consulting with mature women. A long time Wildflower Group supporter, she is so knowledgeable and just plain fun to work with!! Please contact her here https://thebeautyshaman.com