[NYNY] Glamour

potraitpetals by anitapatterson

I’m going to have a chance to do some map/territory work this weekend, so in the meantime, I thought I’d post a bit about glamour and how I’m finally learning to love it.

This prompt dovetails nicely with my current FlyLady training. One of the first habits to develop is to get dressed all the way to your shoes and take care with your hair/make-up. To this end:

*De-cluttered all old cosmetics, including Halloween/stage make-ups.

*Bought 4 new, high-quality ones for my everyday “look.”

*Did research on how to properly apply said cosmetics, which has left me feeling a whole lot more confident.

*Pampering by freshening-up mid-morning and afternoon, and by putting on some olfactory-indulgent lotion when I wash my hands—nice little boosts to my daily routines.

Having said and done these things, though, I’d still like to point folks to this rather clever little piece of satire for the latest in beauty products, Fotoshop by Adobé. It illustrates one of the dangers of glamour, I think, which is to become so absorbed by an image that one harms oneself mentally and physically, trying to attain an unrealistic expectation of beauty.

Now that I’ve gotten my obligatory raaarrrr-woman rant out of the way, I also have to admit that I’ve been held back by that same feminist propaganda, using it as an excuse to ignore certain tools, namely those of fashion and cosmetics, because “real women” don’t need to bother with such things. (My favorite was my well-meaning parents saying that it didn’t matter what I looked like, because whoever fell in love with me was going to do so for my mind, not my appearance—yeah, that one did a number on me for years.) What this view ignores is that a self-care regimen (which can include *gasp* make-up) is an important piece of building a healthy attitude towards physical health and appearance. So if you want to wear purple eyeshadow and FM-red lipstick, go for it—not to either spite the feminists or support the establishment, but because it makes you feel beautiful, graceful, sexy, and all those other wonderful things that being embodied encompasses.

Which brings me to another mini-rant: the “meat-suit.” Since renewing pride in myself and my physical form, I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with the Zoroastrian dichotomy of matter versus spirit that seems to sneak into every discussion of magical work at some point. Here is where I find an Eastern perspective can be of use (see, I’m still a dirt syncretist!).

Often students in the West can’t wait to get to the spooky qi/energy work that accompanies many marital arts systems. “Why can’t I begin qigong? Why do I have to do all these push-ups?” It’s really pretty simple: the seemingly mystical “qi” needs to flow through a physical form, and that form shapes its nature. If the body is a garden, then the chi is the irrigation system. Qigong, then, is like turning up the water pressure, increasing the flow of energy. But if your garden is full of weeds, more water will only make the weeds grow higher—it’s not going to bring you an abundant harvest. Likewise if you are lazy and of poor character, an increase of qi is not going to fix this—if anything it will amplify these qualities. Physical conditioning and hard work (literally kung-fu) is what builds and maintains your body-garden, planting veggies and pulling the weeds so that when qi flows freely, it will nourish a healthy, whole person.

So yes, we’re more than what we see with our eyes or touch with our hands, but it is our bodies that make us who we are—we’re born into them and our experience here, with each other, with this world, ends when we leave. Being incarnate is something significant, not something to escape. I am of this world, and I love it. Without my experiences in this life, in this form, I would not be who I am when I choose to shed my meat-suit and travel beyond the horizon. My spirit is secured my body; ignoring one at the expense of the other is always to the detriment of both.

Please take care of your gorgeous, amazing meat-suit. It’s still made of star-dust after all.

 

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