Unorthodox and Unhinged

Tales of a Manic Christian

Beauty and the Least

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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.


Author: celticjlp

Episcopal priest, 23 years. 14 years, balanced and bipolar. "Associate for Liturgy & Hilarity" at Emmanuel on High, Alexandria, VA. Bibliomaniac desk jockey and docent at Library of Congress. Washington DC born and bred. Half marathoner and avid pedestrian. Friend to many and mother of four. Blogger, Storyteller & Mental Health Evangelist.

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