My little family recently moved from a small town to a big town. I left my extended family, friends, and the hometown I grew up in to follow my husband’s job south.
In the process, things I once thought very little about—like my hair, clothes, and eyelashes—suddenly become noticeable in comparison to people around me. Everyone is gorgeous here! So tan! So many friends! I am not tan and have no friends. This did not used to feel so problematic.
I’m a naturally introverted person, so living in my hometown felt like constantly fending off invitations from family, friends, volunteer, and work opportunities. I’m not popular, but you end up knowing everyone by accident when you live where you grew up.
This quiet mama who craved slower days back at home starts to feel a little restless, and the highlight of my social life becomes the “good mornings” exchanged with the crossing guard at school drop off.
Going to church once a week and mingling at the playground after school isn’t enough, either. I sign up for two Bible study groups, but they haven’t started. In the meantime, I’m left with a lot of time to stare at my face.
Why are my eyelashes so short? Is this the problem? It feels like everyone around me has lash extensions, and they look gorgeous. A quick peruse of the salons near my house reveals I could have these lashes for around $250, plus monthly (?) upkeep. Sounds like a lot.
I head to the internet. I order some semi-permanent, glue-on ones . . . just to see if this is the missing piece. When I put them on, after much stabbing of my eyes with glue and tiny lashes, my husband says I look great. I do look great. Very friend-ready. Very fun.
My 5-year-old does not agree, “You look weird, Mum. You don’t look like yourself. I like you better with your normal eyes.”
My daughter is a trendy lady who’s been putting together coordinating outfits since she was 18 months old, who loves to walk around the house in my heels and sandals—so her opinions matter. I know she’ll always tell me the truth, and she likes me better with fewer improvements. She wants to recognize me, her mama, the one she loves.
At night, I’m left with even fewer natural lashes after tugging off the falsies too vigorously. I contemplate about how fun it was to look good all day, and how I love everyone else’s lash look. Then, I put the box of plastic lashes in the bottom drawer of the sink for later. Or maybe for never.
These are the prayers of a short-lashed girl:
May the friends I make in the coming season love me for what I am, not what I look like. If I can’t make a friend without lashes, I don’t want those friends.
If the purse I carry to school pickup doesn’t have the right logo on it for someone, let that person walk on by. My people will find me, and they won’t care what car I drive or what bag I carry.
May I participate in my culture’s standards of beauty and practice self-love and self-care as much as I feel like, for myself and not for others. May I adorn myself with love and playfulness, not with feelings of insecurity.
May I know that no matter what goes on or in my body, I am enough as I am in every moment, exactly as I am. May I remember that adding often only subtracts.
Let me model to my daughter a deep comfort in my own skin and a freedom from the pressures of beauty and consumption as she enters middle school and high school—the place those insecurities were first planted in me.
May I remember that even outer perfection can cover inner emptiness and focus on filling what matters, not what doesn’t.
May I pour out my love for her over my own body first, so it comes from a truer, deeper, bottomless place. She’ll make her own choices as she grows, but she’ll see me choosing love. And that will be the legacy we give to the women in our family. And I pray that it ripples around us. We are enough.