I always try to look for the lesson that is to be learned. I believe in the good and search for the silver lining in the most difficult of times while believing that I am an optimist at heart. That doesn’t mean that I like the tough moments any more than the next person, but I believe in the power of choice and how I react to those times is up to me. Memories of “The ugly Beauty Store” have been resurfacing since I finally took the time to write about it. I say “finally” because I carried it around with me for too long, trying to deal with it on my own while finding my way back to myself. I was lost for awhile and writing about it was a way to get it off of my chest and find a certain level of relief.
But not everything during my time there was all that bad, it never is and it actually taught me a lot about human interactions and human behavior. Some of it was an eye opener and some of it I just couldn’t relate to. Considering that my job fell into the category of working in a retail environment, I always thought that it was so much more than that. Sure you could buy an outfit or whatever speaks to you and feel pretty darn good about it, but this was different. I encountered many women who had formed a certain stigmata about this place I called my work. I could see the intimidation to set foot inside this high end beauty leader, maybe there was a lack of confidence, a sense of not belonging there, of not being pretty enough, being worthy, perhaps a feeling of being out of place. After all, the employees were a vision of beauty (to the clientele) with their perfect make up and artistry skills, perhaps a vision the customer was aspiring to but was afraid to ask for help. If they did it would have to mean an admittance of being in need for help, not knowing how to apply that fierce cat eye which in return could expose vulnerability followed by judgement. So many hid behind the PC screen watching you tube tutorials instead of seeking human interactions for tips and advice. I always felt very sad about this and I was always committed to show the ones that ended up at the store a good time by making them feel good about themself and by thanking them for their trust.
I was very aware of the feelings my clientele was having and I could relate to the courage that was required to come into my store. It was always my mission to squish those feelings, to teach that there could be confidence without conceit and it was the sole reasons why this was so much more than a retail job to me. It was an opportunity to empower another woman or man, to make a difference in their life, to teach and train a variety of techniques, but most of all to make them feel good about themselves and give confidence where there had been a lack. Those were the moments I cherished but of course there were also the ones that walked in, so full of themselves and who had taken their confidence to an entirely different level crossing into the realm of arrogance. The ones that believed to be “All that” and treated everybody around them as their servant. My pet peeve I might add and in my humble opinion nobody is better than the next person. Some of us are just more fortunate in various ways and should have a bigger responsibility to help the ones that are not, instead of using the often inherited power to become self righteous and entitled. But that subject deserves an entirely post on its on.
During my time working at the “Ugly beauty store” it became apparent how tough we are as women amongst each other. I’m not sure what happens to our motherly, nurturing ways and where they have gone to hide. I learned that jealousy, envy and competition are closely related to each other and it wasn’t a friendly competition I might add. I remember a beautiful woman walking into my store one day. She was humble and kind, not the self righteous, nose up in the air type. Right away I noticed some of the looks of my employees and while in their mind they had to acknowledge this beauty, they also were searching for ways to cut her down, discredit her wardrobe by looking for any fault they could find. Maybe it was a little too revealing even though if they could have pulled it off, I’m sure they would have worn that same outfit. Somehow she was viewed as a threat, a someone that was prettier (in their sad but insecure minds….I say sad because something perhaps out of their control may have lead to that) and therefore automatically became the enemy. Maybe it was this and maybe it was that….nonsense all together if you ask me. I remember helping her and the thought of her being a threat to me never crossed my mind. She was beautiful and I felt a compliment was due and that is exactly what I did. Compliment her. Her face lit up as I did, even though she initially seemed a bit surprised. It lead me to believe that it probably was not the typical response she was getting and perhaps she was more used to the looks that were lingering on the faces of my employees. I too had things that I wanted to change about my appearance, and ladies are we truly ever happy with our looks? We can aspire in a good way but with goals that can empower and lift each other. I never felt jealous or envious of this gorgeous beauty standing in front of me and our interaction was genuine and real. However I have noticed that many women feel the need to dismay and cut down another women. As if it is a way to feel better about themselves and it is a problem. I might open up a can of worms here and by no means is this a one fits all scenario. It merely resembles my own experiences and the pain I felt of others not being able to relate to me. How could I have said those nice things they might ask while I ask if it is really that hard to pay a compliment? Are we so insecure in our own skin that we turn to envy, jealousy and competition in the hopes it will make us feel better. I struggle to understand and can’t side with it if it means that we have to degrade another being, to discredit them, only so we can empower ourselves. How could we ever find beauty in that? I never seen men do that and I don’t know why we do that as women. I realize the pressure society places on us about what the ideal woman is suppose to look like is not helping. Judgment isn’t either and it’s just another form of poison.
We still have the power of choice and we can envy somebody in the right context, maybe a little jealousy can even spark our own motivation to create a little friendly competition. Anything else is destructive and demeaning, leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Looks are skin deep and while we may look perfectly on the outside with our fancy make up, it is our actions that convey the true beauty of our hearts.
My challenge is to try this on, each and every day and to take the time, as it only takes a moment. Do you remember the last time you paid somebody a compliment? I know you remember how good it feels when it happens to you and it feels equally good to give one, you might just make somebody’s day by paying it forward 😉
I hope you share your thoughts with me and I would love to hear about them. I know it’s not going to be the most popular subject, but I know many have experienced this with great pain before.