Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I Like to Call It Hollywoodized

Ever since the open house last Thursday, I've been looking around my office at all of the other things I've accumulated or put on display here. It's interesting to see what I surround myself with and the little things that make me smile and reminisce.

I have postcards, photos, and prayer flags; fortune cookie messages, refrigerator magnets, and tiny stuffed animals; CDs, bookmarks, and handcrafts made by my kids. There are typed, handwritten, and "plaqued" quotations, magnetic poetry in a box, and even a pearly white curly ribbon "bow" from a recent birthday present.

I even noticed, with new eyes, my collection of refrigerator magnets.

But then there is this picture that I keep at eye level, tacked to the corkboard just to the left of my computer monitor. Any idea who this couple is? (There's a clue in the photo.)

Well, if you haven't guessed, I can't tell you just yet, so let me tell you why I keep this photo first. (I promise to tell you by the end of the post!)

I keep this photo to remind me, more than any "stars without their makeup" or "stars at the beach after firing their personal trainers" photos have ever been able to do, that, well, we're all human...all average...all just regular people who can go unnoticed without all the fuss that it takes to create a more glamorous, camera-friendly, audience-appealing version of a regular old everday human being.

You see, I've been cursed with the desire for "feminine beauty" ever since I was a young child (like, preschool?) when people would say to my mom, "Oh what a cute little boy."

Dammit, people!? The dress should have been a clue...I don't care if it was pale blue! And I couldn't help it that I didn't have hair long enough for pig tails, pony tails, or even those cute little colorful barrettes with the flowers or animals on them. And that was long before my mom cut my butt-length hair (sorry Mom, don't mean to bring that up AGAIN!) into a Twiggy-esque "pixie" because either there was no such thing as detangler or she wasn't into the stuff. Oh yeah, and the whole tomboy thing after that.

So, all that to say that I had a gender-unspecific childhood and was always curious about the feminine beauty techniques that never got passed down, for whatever reason, and it made me insatiable to understand how "beauty" was made. And I suppose there's a lot more going on in there, but that's a book in progress I think, so suffice to say that I always felt like I was being measured by a standard that I neither understood nor was certain I cared to understand. And yet. There it was. An undercurrent of confusion in my self image that persists until this very day.

I still remember the first time I did happen upon one of those "stars without their makeup" tabloids in the checkout line. (I don't know if you remember, but for a long time, celebrity beauty was wrapped up in the mystery. Now there's a relentless push to "catch" stars looking, "ewwww....normal!"...a sort of backlash from the old Hollywood glamour I suppose.) It was at that point that I became aware that the flawless beauty ideal that was all around me in the consumer world was just an illusion...slight of hand, tricks of lighting, and camera angles; oh, and air brushing. What a relief.!

But still this nebulous idea of "feminine" beauty persists in my psyche, not nearly as dramatically as before though I suppose. At any rate, to combat this ghostly sense of not fitting in, I keep that couple's picture where I can see it every day. And I look at it. And I think, "If Sharon and Ozzy were normal before they were Hollywoodized, then all any of us is missing is a trip to Hollywood where the imagicians could work their magic on us too. And who needs that? Really."

(Who am I kidding? Just knowing it's a possibility is enough.)

But seriously. Just knowing that, without the imagicians, even Sharon and Ozzy would look like anyone else I know, is always a relief.

Call me crazy, but it's how I get around one of my weaknesses. =)

© Nicole J. Williams, 2008, all rights reserved.


Camellia said...

Now I am going to be pondering this. YOu know the movies Hollywoodize everything, with sound track. And the night I told my beloved I wanted to be beautiful, and he said, isn't being wonderful enough? And I still wanted to be beautiful. But he was right. Wonderful is way more than enough.

Anonymous said...

I had no clue! Good message, especially for our girls.