Beauty and the Least

cover girl makeup

Joani Baloney. As a kid, it was not for nothing that I was called “Joani Baloney”. You see, I “carried a bit of “baby fat” long after I was a baby. Though my mom called me the “prettiest baby” of her six, pretty apparently did not survive the cradle.

Or at least so I was told.

Dressed in my brother Tim’s hand-me-downs, in grade school, it was virtually impossible not to look like a boy. I did my best to deny it. I curled my hair in pink plastic rollers, rolled up with Dippity-Do. I would tie it back in a velvet bow — a little femininity in my denim and dungarees.

My high school days were hippie-dippy days and we hippies did not care, of course, how we looked. Though we worked very hard to get it right.

I parted my hair down the middle and wore it down to my waist. The hems of my bellbottoms were properly fringed and barely held up with a macramé belt. I wore tie-died t-shirts and patchwork skirts. On my feet I only wore flats – little canvas Mary Jane’s – from the Chinese grocery. And when it was cold – an army jacket or a Navy pea coat from Sunny’s Surplus Store.

And no makeup, of course. Natural. You had to look natural.

No problem. My mom never taught me and I never asked. In high school, makeup was very uncool. Oddly though in college, my mom more than hinted that I could use a little. She set me up with the complete line of Mary Kay cosmetics. I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. All pinked out in its display case, it gathered dust in my bathroom for years.

Joani Baloney was a pretty plain Jane and she worked very hard to keep it that way.

I grew up camera shy. There are very few photos of me in my youth. It seemed safer to hide. Invisible to the lens.

I wore pants and rarely a dress.

I wore turtlenecks – no decolletage.

Dark colors not bright.

Nothing revealing — because there was nothing to reveal.

Until I had therapy. Lots of therapy.

In therapy I discovered that this bipolar soul is a beautiful soul — lovely on the inside. But it took a lover to convince me that I am also beautiful to behold.

Beautiful on the outside.

Beautiful from head to toe.

Beauty is in the eye of the Beloved.

So beloved of myself and beloved of my God

— I have shed my cocoon and emerged as a passable butterfly.

Four sizes down, my wardrobe has gotten all dressed up – a bit of frills and frippery from Anthropologie and designer duds from consignment shops.

My nails are polished. My lips are glossed. My hair is fluffed. My ass is buffed:)

Cinderella I am not – but I do have a Rent-the-Runway account – for that occasional gown.

Mirror, mirror in my purse,

This beauty thing for me’s a first.

An ugly duckling I thought I was

Or just average just because.

But looking deeper in my soul

And reaching deeper in my gut,

Something lovely there I touched,

Someone lovely all along.

Once a duckling,

Now a swan.

Beauty is in the eye of the Beloved.


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