Feb 18, 2012

how to tell the difference between what's good and what's real

dove ad via i know this ads get mocked a lot, but i couldn't help myself.

being real is something that will be fundamentally different from person to person. i can't tell you what real is or what it looks like, but i can tell you a little something about what it feels like. real is free of guilt and second-guessing. or at least it is once you've been brave enough to try it.
with good, you can never keep up. 

there is always something you can be doing better, because, let's face it, you're a human being and there are only 24 hours in a day. anyone who's ever done academic research will relate to this one: when you're researching a topic, you start to feel like you've gone down the proverbial rabbit hole. you read a paper, and then find 20 citations at the end. if you read all of those cited papers, each will have another 20 citations. your exam or your thesis defense date rolls around, and you have not read every paper pertaining to your topic of study, because you've been stuck in cited-papers hell for weeks or even months. it just isn't possible to read everything, and you have to do the best you can and then let go. there is no choice but to be real on this one. real is about doing your best not doing it all, and doing your best is almost certainly going to be enough. if you're dedicated to something and you give it your all, people respect that. they aren't looking for perfect. they're looking for real effort.

when you embrace that you are never going to be perfect, reality will start to set in (in a good way).

these are some things that i have come to accept as reality: i will never have angelina jolie's lips. my hair always seems to be a bit frizzy no matter what i do, and i will have dark circles under my eyes for as long as i have allergies. (so forever.) there was a time when i tried to be good and fix those "problems." i spent time researching lip plumpers, hair products, and concealers, and then i spent more time buying and trying all of the products i was promised would change my life. y'know what came out it? less money in my checking account and a higher balance on my credit card. that's about it.

here's what knocked me back to reality on this one: i tend to put in all this effort only during the school year, because i want to look professional. magazines and shows like 'what not to wear' have told me that frizz and under-eye circles are NOT PROFESSIONAL and unacceptable. over the summer, i get lazy, and i generally air-dry my hair and skip the makeup. that stuff just isn't that important to me on a daily basis. i do it because i think i'm supposed to and not because i genuinely want to. the only person who notices my descent into aesthetic apathy is my boyfriend, and he probably only notices because he is pretty anti-makeup, so he's glad to see it go away. no one is rude to me, people don't avoid me, and i'm still taken just as seriously as ever. and do you know how that makes me feel? awesome. free. it makes me feel like i've stumbled upon a great secret that all of those suckers applying two kinds of concealer, foundation, and powder haven't gotten in on yet:


to be clear, this is just an example of a couple times when i have gotten real with myself. if choosing and applying makeup makes your heart sing, you shouldn't give it up unless it's taking over your day or your finances. sleeping 15 minutes later makes me happier than getting up 15 minutes earlier to do a blow-out and full makeup. it's not for everyone, but it works for me.

good can make you feel good, but it is ultimately about appearances and pleasing or impressing others, not about you. real makes you happy from the inside out. which one would you prefer?

what "realisms" have you found in your life? have you ever been forced into getting real? i'd love to hear from you! food for thought: some words from audrey hepburn, who always seems to nail it right on the head.

via young turk

Feb 17, 2012

good vs. real

my last post has been rattling around in my head long enough that i think it's time to put some thoughts on electronic paper. are you interested in being less good and more real? here are some ideas to mull over and get you started on the path to reality.

good vs. real

the perfect blowout vs. natural hair texture with a touch of frizz
a spotless home vs. a space that looks lived-in
reading the books chosen by the new york times vs. reading whatever you want
airbrushed foundation vs. tinted moisturizer
a wardrobe dictated by a fashion editor vs. buying pieces you love and making them work
meticulous calorie counting vs. eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're satisfied
giving your life completely to your kids vs. taking good care of yourself and your family