I was a believer for a while. I cleansed myself with purifying potions (usually the fruit scented kind). I went down on my knees (softened by Cocoa Butter lotion), and raised my hands to the Gods (well manicured hands, nails done up with the latest hot colour Revlon had to offer). Yes, I admit it….I was once a loyal member of The Church of The Little White Lie.
I regularly gave my offerings to the Gods of Adverts, heading to my local drug store weekly to make my purchases. I diligently studied the texts that all good followers read: Elle, Vogue, Seventeen, Glamour. I did my best to emulate the heroines of these sacred tomes, wanting more than anything to be like them in every way. They wore Maybelline Fat Lash, so did I. If they used Herbal Essences Nothing Smells Better Than This, then so did I. The lipstick, eyeliner, hairspray…I did my best to do what they did, to get the look that they had. The results were rarely what I’d hoped they would be. But isn’t that the way it is when one attempts to achieve Nirvana, one often misses the mark. But attempt I did; I refused to give up!
And then one day, when I was 16, perusing the pages of Seventeen, it hit me! I paused…and it was as if I’d suddenly awakened from a trance. The scales dropped from my eyes and I took a good, hard look at the woman on the page. Suddenly, I knew the truth! I wasn’t like my heroine, sprawled across the glossy pages. I could never be like her, if for no other reason than that I wasn’t tall, wafer thin and Caucasian. But the most important realization was that I didn’t really want to be like this woman!!
The Church of the Little White Lie, that I had attended faithfully, and whose doctrines I’d adhered to unquestioningly, had me blind and bound to a commitment I could never fulfill. It had me believing that no matter who I was, no matter how rich or poor, if I only: bought this product, wore that shoe, applied this make-up, I too could be PERFECT! (CUE THE ANGELIC CHOIR…). Sure, PERFECT is nice, I’ll admit to that. But whose definition of PERFECT was I to live by??
My epiphany allowed me to acknowledge that which the Gods of Adverts didn’t want me (or any other woman to acknowledge): that I am PERFECT just as I am. I may choose to wear mascara, but I don’t HAVE TO. I may want to use their fancy shampoo but I don’t NEED TO. I am who I want to be, and who I love to be, living by MY standards and not the industry that only lies to me to get my money.
I’m glad I left the Church; I feel much more free. There are times, when I see a commercial for the latest nail colour, or the next season’s hot lip stick, I think I can hear the Gods of Adverts whispering my name. But I take a quick peek at my not-always-well-manicured nails, and I smile, and tell myself, they’re PERFECT.