Monday, May 16, 2011


by Laura Bickle

Surrounded by images of artificial perfection, it can be tough to be wholly comfortable in one's own skin. I have a box full of hair rollers and a drawer brimming with makeup that attest to my desire to be pretty-perfect. Or at least, socially acceptable.

I find that the older I get, the more tolerant I am of imperfections as they emerge: a streak of grey hair, little bit of droopiness at the corners of my eyes, a softer middle. I work out, slather on anti-aging creams and worship at the altar of Miss Clairol every six weeks. But these are things that feel routine, now. Not some terrible indictment of the fact that I'm getting older and less attractive. It just, well, happens to everyone. If we're lucky.

I don't do all the primping that I did in my twenties. I feel perfectly okay with leaving the house with just lipstick and my hair pinned up. I don't feel the need to own an eyelash curler, any longer. I can't remember the last time I worried about whether I looked hot. Looking appropriate while heading out to work or a workshop, sure. But...I no longer obsess about perfect.

I've come to see imperfection is a constant part of life, in all aspects of it. This is my skin, and I'm mostly okay with it. Sure, I have bad days. But, for the most part, I am okay with what I am. Mostly because I'm loved, and that makes me feel a bit more like I can love myself.

In the spirit of imperfection, here's a photo of me taken at the local zoo on a rainy day a few weeks ago. No makeup, hair pulled back. I looked very imperfect that day. But I had a wonderful time cooing at the animals. I was happy. And I think it shows.


  1. And honestly, hanging out with a monitor lizard is really pretty damn cool. :)

    Fab post - I think being comfortable in your own skin is probably about the best thing out there as far as sex appeal. One only has to look at Hollywood and that Botox waltz they're all doing to make one wonder if they're really as happy as they ought to be...

  2. I think you look great in that picture. The happy definitely shows. =o)

  3. aaaand you look mahvelous (done in my best Billy Crystal imitation)

  4. Allison - thanks. I think our definitions of beauty have really gotten beyond anything that could be construed as spontaneously occurring in nature - as I'm reminded every time I catch The Real Housewives of Wherever on television.

    One of the things I think was useful about doing belly dancing was realizing that there are a lot of ideas of beauty out there, beyond the singular one that we seem to have here.

    Thanks, B.E.! We got to see polar bears and otters and monitor lizards...oh, my!

    Thank you, KAK! It was a wonderful day, and we had a lot of fun.

  5. Happy and reasonably secure in your own skin = sexy, in my opinion. Male, female, doesn't matter. Perfect is so subjective, anyway.

  6. I totally agree. Of course, the fact that you look gorgeous no matter what, doesn't hurt!

  7. Yup, Marcella, perfect is entirely subjective. And very hard to manage as a result!

    Thank you, Jeffe. Mwah!

  8. I think you look lovely. Confidence may just be the sexiest thing out there. Your post reminds me of Phenomenal Woman, by Maya Angelou, from which I pulled the following:

    Men themselves have wondered
    What they see in me.
    They try so much
    But they can't touch
    My inner mystery.
    When I try to show them
    They say they still can't see.
    I say,
    It's in the arch of my back,
    The sun of my smile,
    The ride of my breasts,
    The grace of my style.
    I'm a woman

    Phenomenal woman,
    That's me.

  9. I love that picture!
    Is that a Komodo Dragon statue?

  10. That's a wonderful poem, Kerry! Thanks for sharing it. :-)

    Sullivan, that is indeed a Komodo Dragon statue. Alals, there were no pig statues to pose with. ;-)