Friday, July 12, 2013

I want to look confident, not pretty.


I got a compliment today. "You look pretty." It was meant to be a compliment and I took it for one, because of the spirit in which it was given.

Each morning I get up 30 minutes earlier than I strictly need to. I do it to get myself dressed in a nice outfit and put on makeup and convince my hair that gravity is its friend and I do all this before I wake up the kids. This morning Marley woke up before I was done with the process. I was putting on my mascara and I could feel her eyes on me. It made me uncomfortable and I put on a cartoon in another room for her, so she would stop watching me.

Some of my desire for grooming privacy probably comes from my mother and I am not sure where she gets it. But that isn't the only reason; part of me is afraid that Marley will see this display of preening and feel she needs to do it too. That it is to be expected and necessary or that it in some way negatively effects her worth if she fails to do it.

Then I have to examine why I do it. Is it for a desire of compliments like "You look pretty"? No, though most of the time a compliment is nice to hear. It's a level of confidence that comes with being polished. It's something like being an expert in your field, or knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you're right about something. Those are both feelings that cannot be duplicated by any other confidence.

So in thinking of confidence as a thing with many different layers, it makes it easier to understand. You can be absolutely sure of your ability as a physicist while questioning yourself about whether or not you just completed a project correctly. Being a good physicist doesn't preclude sometimes being wrong about physics. So imagine the trifecta of self-assurance that comes with being a physicist that knows for sure that he nailed his last project, AND his shoes perfectly compliment his belt. Powerhouse. You don't need the grooming, but it can help you project the feelings of confidence you already have.

Layers of self-assurance each contributing to your esteem but being wholly independent of each other. So in other words if you are an excellent physicist, and you did nail that project, but your shoes not only don't match your belt but do not even match each other, fear not. You may still have enough belief in yourself to get through the workday.

So, in buffing myself to a semi-shine in the morning, I get to  enjoy the feeling of knowing that I am a good student and diligent worker and a mother who does the best she can, who fulfills nearly all her obligations, whose eternity is assured by Christ AND has perfectly groomed eyebrows.

So maybe, I will try to explain this theory of layered confidence to Marley, but I will probably wait till she's five. Which is in two days.

*Edited to say that I do LOVE to tell Marley each day that she is very smart, kind, thoughtful, and pretty. And some day I will rail against her if she tries to dye her hair or wear makeup in true mom fashion. Because you don't need make-up or false things to look pretty. Enough sleep maybe...

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