Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Be a Child while you can be a Child...

Quite recently I was talking to a friend of mine who teaches elementary school. Apparently there are children sent to school with make up on a regular basis. I understand maybe a little lip gloss or nail polish on picture day. Those flash bulbs can wash out the cutest, darling girl. I just hate to think the precedent it may set with some children. That if you leave without make up, you aren't pretty, or at least as pretty as you are with make up. I realize that sometimes girls will learn this inadvertently from their mothers who always wear make up when they leave the house. I was always fascinated by my mom putting on make up, when she wore it. My mother was blessed with a mother who was an Avon lady, that didn't use her own cosmetics. My grandmother does however use Avon's skin care products. Take note, she doesn't look like she's 75 (That's my estimation of her age, I used to know for sure.). My mother doesn't wear make up pretty much at all now. Her job doesn't require dressing up, so she thinks that it's unnecessary to go with her everyday wear.

I'm not saying that mothers who wear make up everyday are terrible mothers. That's completely untrue. Make up is used to bring out the natural beauty in most women. It's up to the mother to make sure her daughters know they are still beautiful without cosmetic help. You wear your make up, but the make up does not wear you. I like the way I look with make up, but I'm still pretty happy with the way I look without it (except on some sleep-deprived days). I hope to share that philosophy with my daughter(s), if I ever have any. If not, I hope I help some of my high school girls realize that they can be pretty without covering up their faces with powder, rouge, etc.

I don't blame TV for everything. TV is entertainment. If people weren't entertained by the crazy stuff on TV, they'd stop showing it. However, many teenagers are played by women five or more years older than their characters. They wear make up appropriate for the 21 year old women they are, not for the fifteen year old girls they are portraying. These beautiful, seemingly sophisticated women can make girls think that's what they are expected to look like. Obviously this is not the TV industries fault, child labor laws make it practical to hire older actresses to play teenager parts that require long hours. It is the parent's job to ensure their child knows what is reality and what is just TV.

The reality is, we need to encourage our children to be children while they are children. I don't mean sheltering them, and buying them "My Little Pony" coloring books until they are 18 (My sister would like one, and she's turning 27 soon.). What I do mean, is that we need to give them age appropriate boundaries, and be consistent with all of our kids (I do realize that right now I'm talking hypothetical children, and I'm not a parent, so what do I know?). That means if your oldest didn't get to wear make up until one day a week in seventh grade, then your youngest (no matter how much younger they are) needs the same rule.

As a younger child, this may seem against my kind. I had the privilege of having a sister who never really wanted any privileges. She actually asked our parents to change her bedtime back to 8PM, when mine was still 8PM. Neither of us needed curfews. I did have to have a limit on the number of days I could wear heels when I was in middle school. I've always been short, and had an affinity for them. I understood that it was good to make sure my ankles grew properly though, so I obeyed. My sister almost never wore make up. I think the only times I've seen her in make up were for the 8th grade dance, Grease, Once on this Island, and Prom. I wore some make up, but usually it was just lip gloss and nail polish. I didn't wear serious make up at any regular pace until college, and usually it was for church.

Make up is fun. It's an accessory, like jewelry. It's supposed to add to what you've already got going for you. Women are beautiful without make up, and they are beautiful with it. Sometimes there is no amount of make up that can cover up what's most important, the inside. That's a cliche for sure, but it's a truth. On my craziest, most temperamental day, I'm pretty sure my students don't care if I'm wearing make up or not. At my happiest, when I'm laughing, and talking with a good friend, I feel beautiful, I feel good with and without make up. That is how it should be.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Security vs. Freedom: This is not a political statement.

When I was younger (granted this was only about five years ago), I was a big fan of the quote, "Those who sacrifice liberty for security, deserve neither." Politically I was just saying that if we give up our freedoms such as religious freedom, to have our government support us and protect us than we deserve neither our government's protection nor our freedom of religion. However on a much smaller more personal scale, I have been going against this quote for the better part of about the last four years.

We strive to find a secure work environment. I lose the freedom to do whatever I want, but at least I have  a steady income with relatively good benefits. What does this mean? Have I sold out? Well as far as work goes, I haven't. A) I do want to be a teacher, the benefits just come with the territory, and B) We have yet to see if I'll keep my job without being pink-slipped first. So much for a secure job.

As far as relationships with people outside my family though, I've sold out. Unlike most people my age, I am, as I've stated before a relationship gal. I don't do casual, and I don't go out with acquaintances. This is generally a rule, which I have broken, but quite rarely. I don't enjoy putting myself out on the line. That is something a four years younger Ms. G would do, not the 23 year old Ms. G. That's kind of ridiculous that at 19 I was braver than I am now. I'd like to say I was more wreckless at 19, but honestly, she was just a normal college girl who wanted to find "The One." Whatever that means. I gave up the freedom of choosing to go out and have a good time with other young people for the security of staying home and keeping up my own life. As long as you limit the variables, you can micromanage your life, and keep yourself secure.

Lately, I have been a little unsatisfied with my security, and I miss my freedom. My self-imposed routine and rules that I live by are a little suffocating, even to a woman who's liked rules since high school. With no one to write rules for me, I've written myself into a box. I've written myself as serious, mature, matronly, and ever so slightly cynical/bitter/jaded. The world around me has given me some reasons to be so, but I let it impact me the way it did. The worst thing about it is, I'm surrounded by moderately older friends who remind me all too often (through no fault of their own) that I'm just 23. During my not so misspent youth, they remind me I have missed out/am missing out on a lot of what being a young adult offers.

There are plenty of normal young adult things I'm glad I haven't indulged in. I have not drunk myself stupid. I have never been drunk at all. I have never needed to take an at home pregnancy test, or worry about getting checked out for an STI. Life has been stressful enough without those problems. Instead I missed out on having much of a social life my last two years of college, justifying it by saying, "I won't be here for long." I've done the same thing as an adult, fearing my latest pink slip.

The truth is, "I won't be here for long," can also apply to life in general. I'm not going all YOLO on you all. I agree with Jack Black when he says, "YOLO is just carpe diem for stupid people." Not living forever is not a reason to go out and do stupid things. I will not be scouring the nearest bar Friday night for a hot date Saturday. However I will allow myself a friendly chat on one Wednesday, perhaps even two or three. For me that is letting go of some of that security, and taking back some of my freedom. I'm still a homebody. I'm still serious, mature, matronly, and every so slightly cynical/bitter/jaded. I will still get in exasperating debates with my friends who think I should be doing more with my youth. The fact is, I didn't build this box for myself in a day. It will take awhile for me to be used to leaving it. I am grateful for my friends who have helped me open the box and look outside.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Advice

I'm not very good at taking advice, but there's usually a good reason (In my opinion anyway) why I don't take it. It's not because I don't respect the advice giver, it's usually because I come up with some reason why I can't do what I wanted in the first place. Like every time I am lonely, and think I want a relationship, I remember that at any moment this time of year, I could be pink slipped, and then I might have to search for a new position for the fall. Then I'm like, "Will any relationship that could possibly be even have time to form before I leave?" I'm not the traipsing all over Kentucky type. I know that I would especially not be able to do it for a fledgling relationship, and I would feel guilty if a guy did traipse all over Kentucky for me, when I wouldn't do it for him.

I'm not a person who believes in just dating for the sake of dating. Just because you're lonely, doesn't mean you should try to fill the void with the next 20-something bachelor you're introduced to. You can date people you barely know, but if you don't believe in dating for dating's sake, then you're kind of limited. Obviously you can't get hooked up with a stranger and start a relationship. It doesn't really work that way most of the time. You have to know the person, and they have to know you, before you make that kind of a commitment. That's why I generally prescribe to the "Be friends first" method, so usually that means that any interested party has to hang out with my friends and I in a group or be familiar to me from some other area, before one on one stuff. It is just safer that way then just going on random dates with people you hardly know. I don't want to waste my time, while I'm young, going on three dates with someone I'm only pseudo-interested in forcing myself to make merry.

 Also if I was dating, I would NEVER want to date someone else, even if the guy told me I could, because that's just not who I am. Of course, I could not expect someone I hardly know to be exclusively my date, because that's a little overbearing for being someone he barely knows. Call me old-fashioned, call me crazy, but that's just who I am. Then of course, he could become more attached to someone else he was dating, and I may start to like him, and then we'd have a stupid mess.

Furthermore, while I am somewhat bored and lonely, I'm not desperately bored and lonely. Boredom and loneliness can be cured by friendships too. If I rely on a man to cure me of my boredom and loneliness, then I will become forever dependent on a man for my happiness and contentedness. I don't want that to happen. Learning to be content with how you are is essential I believe, before you learn to be content with someone else in the long term. I've been pretty happy, single for the past almost five years. When I was unhappy, my singleness was not the problem, it was my lack of a job, lack of financial stability, and lack of having any friends to talk to in person (Like when I moved to Hopkinsville). I'm not willing to disrupt the status quo for some random guy a lady at church thinks might be interesting without actually getting to know the person first.

So even if I complain about being bored and not having anyone, I know that I don't necessarily want someone to fix my problem, because of the reasons stated above. I don't want to make someone travel for me. I don't believe in just dating for dating's sake. I don't believe that a man is the only solution to my loneliness and boredom, and the day that I believe that will be a sad day indeed. I prefer for someone to come up with something I can do on Friday night that doesn't require a man to make it a great time. I like time with my girls. I'm 23, and with all the junk I have to worry about with teaching, I'm not willing to make whether I become an old maid something I 100% have to worry about. If I meet someone I like, great, but I don't need to ask acquaintances to set me up with any young single man they know.