No one has ever accused me of being a natural beauty. Ever. Oh, I was a cute enough baby and toddler. But, eventually my mother's high palate and buck teeth and my father's wretchedly bad skin collided with my 1970's shag haircut and not a cool Sally Hershberger-shag, either. Then, like a cherry on the top of my homely and awkward teenage cake I ended up with glasses. And believe-you-me, in 1977 glasses were not the cool hipster accessory to be wearing with adolescent skin, buck teeth and a bad shag haircut.
Eventually, my teeth were fixed and my skin break-outs were somewhat under control and I bought contact lenses. By my own admission, I am really not that bright probably because more than a few people felt free enough to step forward and convince me. It was obvious that no one honestly believed that I had it in me to make it through college. So, I didn't go then and saved us all the expense and embarrassment of me failing.
Like most young families in the 1960s, we weren't poor, but if there wasn't money for something then we went without it until we could afford it. There were no credit cards or shopping sprees or needless spending. Ever. And in all fairness, I always had what I needed, but deep in the very center of my chest in that hollow place where some people think my heart is supposed to reside I wanted something more. Not like I simply wanted more stuff, but like I wanted something more than I had something my family could not provide for me. I wanted an effortlessly prepossessing image to cover up all that homely maladroitness I saw when I looked in the mirror.
In an effort to off-set all of this teenage angst and ugliness, I focused on giving to myself what nature had so cruelly neglected to provide for me. My remedy was to work hard at looking, at the very least, acceptable with aspirations of decent. I bought Teen Miss and Seventeen and later Glamour and Vogue and even later as an adult InStyle and Elle and kept up with the season's lookbooks and worked hard to appear impeccable all of the time because I felt my margin of error was just so very slim. These resources helped to show me how to become what I so desperately wanted: To be beautiful and effortless and chic. They also showed me the way to my most prideful ruin: the I-wants.
I am no longer an ugly and graceless teenager, but I still have the I-wants. I am a grown-ass woman who knows that true beauty comes from the inside out not vice verse, and for the most part I honestly believe that. But--and it's a big but--I still get caught-up with my teenage anxieties and the I-wants. And lately, my regular low-level smoldering case of the I-wants has become one long insatiable and unsatisfying wantgasm.
Coinciding with the beginning of 2014, I am taking it back to basics. This situation has gotten out of control and I have spent too much precious time perusing and coveting and thinking that just one more JCrew cashmerefuckingwhatever would be just what I needed to soothe away the old predispositions. Word to the wise, people; it never does. This is why I conjured up The Better Me Project.
The rules are very simple. I am to do no perusing, dreaming, coveting or shopping either online or in person for anything. I am allowed to replace toiletries; prescriptions; tried-and-true cosmetics and hair products no experimenting with the newest or the greatest; I am allowed haircuts and color, as well as brow grooming because a girl can only inflict so much disturbing reality on those she loves. I have not determined an end date as yet because I will know when I am done; I reserve the right to change the rules at any time to fit my life and my needs and my growth; however, I promise to not change the rules to my detriment. Maybe these rules make sense to you, maybe they do not. To me, they make perfect sense.
I have already been faced with a shopping/purchasing dilemma and I found it supremely difficult to walk away like, when I quit smoking kind-of-difficult. But I just know that I will come out the other side a better Darya, or at the very least a Darya with a few bills paid off and some extra Benjamins in her savings account.
So, when you see me posting about The Better Me Project, now you will know, at least in part, what the hell I am talking about. Wish me luck! Feel free to cheer me on or at the very least please do not send me any catalogs or flash sale emails--I swear to you I am as fragile as a crippled kitten.
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