Beauty Queen Bodhisattva
I haven’t always been so accepting of the fact that I have some beauty queen, girly girl, princess energy in me. That I love getting dolled up and feeling pretty as much as I love riding dirt bikes through the mud with the boys. And while the latter makes me feel cool, I’ve been welcoming back in the little girl who wanted to be a princess-fairy-ballerina for halloween every year.
My mama was not such a fan of that side of me. She was raised in the rising tide of feminism and knew that attaching my worth to my appearance was a road to suffering. She also had a lot of catholic shame programming turned zen buddhist rigidity to impart.
I remembering being 8 or 9, and my mother chastising her friend for telling me I looked pretty, “compliment her on something more important,” she scowled. I blushed red with shame.
I wanted “makeover” themed birthday parties. From age 4-6 I refused to wear anything that didn’t have pink or purple on it. I begged to be allowed to get my ears pierced, to wear lip gloss, to own high heels. I think it nearly killed my mother who wouldn’t buy me barbies and read me Siddhartha as a bedtime story.
I learned that the hyper-feminine little girl in me who idolized beauty and adornment was bad, unlovable. I tried to cover her up with smart girl things, cool girl things, morally superior things. Only catching attention for being pretty if it was mostly on accident. Totally natural.
I chopped off my long beautiful hair into a pixie cut (my mother beamed with approval). Switched to baggy jeans and flannels, focused on sports and academics. It won me a lot more love.
And that sweet little girl developed a very confused relationship to a key part of her essence, this desire to radiate beauty.
It’s been a twisty unwinding amidst religious dogma, the internalized misogyny, beauty culture, feminism, and new age spirituality. But it wasn’t healing by my persistent picking at it.
So, I decided to just let myself want what I want with a little less meaning-making.
It feels like an exhale. As if overnight, I found myself less judgmental of everyone around me. Funny how that works, eh?
And I’m pretty sure compassion and equanimity is the point of all that self work anyway.
I’m making my own Bodhisattva path, breaking as many rules as possible along the way, naturally.
Maybe it’s a contradiction that I can deconstruct core spiritual texts with you as easily as I can philosophize on how Botox may interrupt the qi flow. That I’m chasing forever beautiful and young at the same time as I’m learning to release attachment to the body.
I’m cool with the inconsistency.
We’re all circling the drain after all (as my dear friend Coco says), is it so bad to want to look good doing it?
Not enlightened, just honest,