Some of the guys I’m working with have joked about initiating a no-shave summer. You know, a summer where you just let your facial hair grow and get all long and manly and unkempt? Some can make it work. Others… not so much.
Well, a few of us girls thought it’d be funny to pretend like we’re doing a no-shave summer, as well. In Clarkston, it’s actually not too difficult to pull off. When you basically have a dress-code of wearing jeans and a t-shirt all summer long, it’s not hard to justify putting down the razor. I mean, let’s be honest: shaving your legs is a drag and just a tad unnecessary if no one can see them anyway. Am I right?
But in a moment of complete honesty, I AM doing no-shave summer. Ladies and gentleman, I am not shaving… my upper lip.
Yes, I have hair on my upper lip!
(Men, ask around and you’ll realize most girls do)
There’s this stigma surrounding the idea of girls having hair on their upper lip. I mean, girls don’t really want to be associated with mustaches. Especially this girl right here. I swear I’m like part Italian, part ape. My hair is so thick and long and dark. It’s just always been that way, and the hair on my face isn’t much of an exception.
But shortly before I came to Clarkston, I decided to stop trying to mask it. Why?
Because I was spending so much time worried about what I look like when the truth of the matter is that PEOPLE DON’T CARE.
I stopped including shaving my upper lip in my weekly maintenance schedule, and no one noticed.
The only person to mention my sudden growth of a mustache was my boyfriend. And he doesn’t count because he’s a lot more acquainted with my face than most people.
Not only that, but I stopped tweezing every week. How many people commented? None.
And then I stopped wearing as much makeup. Who told me I was ugly? Nobody.
Then I decided to wear my hair back in a messy bun just about everyday, cutting down on the time and stress that maintaining this wild mane usually required. And guess who cared? No one.
And I don’t think it’s because people are being nice. I’m at the point with my roommates where I know they’d say something if they noticed an obnoxious uni-brow growing on my face.
The truth is that I have spent a good majority of my life trying to make myself look perfect when I could’ve just let those things go and nothing would have changed.
I would still have the same friends. I would still feel just as pretty.
And please know that this security I have only came through practice and persistence. I was pretty horrified when I looked in the mirror the first couple days after letting the hair on my face grow back. But I stuck with it. I was THAT tired of caring.
Yes, I’m still tempted to hide all these imperfections. I want to smooth down my hair and pluck my eyebrows and get rid of my girl mustache. I want to keep my nails painted and get rid of the calluses on my feet. I want to lose a few pounds and whiten my teeth.
But the longer I hold off, the more victorious I feel.
In a way, I feel like my persistence is my way of standing up for the women who feel like they have to hide behind acne treatments, diets, and tweezers. This is my way of fighting the fear that us girls have of our NATURAL beauty. And I don’t mean the kind of natural where you use a nude lipstick and a gold-shimmer eye shadow. I’m talking about the unshaved, unmasked kind of natural. The natural we only let our pets see.
I’m tired of being insecure around anyone and everyone who isn’t my dog. I don’t want to feel like I have to hide my under-eye circles or leg hair just to go out in public.
And I certainly don’t want to shave my darn mustache.
Girls have hair on their upper lip. Deal with it.
It’s no-shave summer, baby.
P.S. I’m fully aware that people are now going to start noticing it more. WELL, GO AHEAD AND STARE. At least I called it first.
On my dresser mirror in large font, I have written in Expo marker the following statement:
“The foundation of ministry is character. The nature of ministry is service. The motive of ministry is love. The measure of ministry is sacrifice. The authority of ministry is submission. The purpose of ministry is the glory of God. The tools of ministry are the Word and prayer. The privilege of ministry is personal growth. The power of ministry is the Holy Spirit. The model of ministry is Jesus Christ.”
When I first stumbled across that quote, I absolutely loved it. I wanted it to be displayed as a reminder of my goal and passion for ministry, something to live by and encourage me. After a few weeks, however, it no longer registered as there. Now when I check my reflection in the mirror, I look past the words. I must pass it at least 10 times a day, yet not once since its discovery have I actually really let it sink in. That is, until today. When I happened to glance over at the mirror today, I was surprised there were words I don’t even notice half the time. I began to read. That’s when it hit me- If this is what I say I want to do and this is who I say I want to be, why am I not really striving for that goal?
In the distant future, I see myself accomplishing all my dreams and being an amazing woman of God. Right now, I find myself not taking many steps to actually get there. I think that amidst all the high school drama and freedom from any heavy responsibilities, I’ve forgotten the distance I still need to cover to reach my goal in life. I want to live for the glory of God, but I’ve put it off as something to do in the future when I have time and money and I’m not just a kid. What I don’t realize is that every single one of those traits listed above are something I could be exemplifying now. For the most part, I just choose not to.
If the foundation of ministry is character, am I actively molding my character to build a worthy ministry?
If the nature of ministry is service, am I involved in helping others and am I gaining more wisdom and love for others through experience?
If the motive of ministry is love, am I loving others in such a way that people see Jesus through me?
If the measure of ministry is sacrifice, am I giving up the things I love and cherish to help build His kingdom and display His glory?
If the purpose of ministry is the glory of God, am I not at all seeking worldly riches and fame through my work and service for others?
If the tools of ministry are the Word and prayer, am I continuously using these to gain more wisdom and understanding to bring others closer to God?
If the privilege of ministry is personal growth, am I going to never subconsciously preach something without taking it to heart?
If the power of ministry is the Holy Spirit, am I completely trusting my life to the Holy Spirit instead of believing I can accomplish something apart from God?
If the model of ministry is Jesus Christ, am I pointing to Him?
Right now, the answer is no for the majority of these questions. But by surrendering to God and using the time and skills I have now to build what I dream of accomplishing, I can transform the answer for each question to a yes. Throughout my day, I want to remember who I’m living for and what I can be doing at that very moment to bring myself closer to where I one day strive to be. I know God has an amazing plan for me, and by continuously seeking His will and trusting Him with every aspect of my life, I will slowly but surely be shaped into the woman I know I’m meant to be. I still have quite a distance to cover, but I have no doubt in my mind that I can do this.
I’ll be honest, I am guilty of judging others from time to time. While I don’t exactly know what’s going on inside ofpeople, I judge them by their actions and words. I see how they’re living their lives and make assumptions and opinions off of that without really finding out what’s going on in their hearts. I won’t deny that a person’s behavior and attitude can reflect the heart. What I’m saying is that though that may be true, it’s not right for me to think I get the whole picture, know their whole lives, understand what they’re going through, or see who they really are. There’s always going to be some part of them that’s unexposed to even their closest friends and relatives. This is true for everyone.
Realizing this, I know it’s unfair for me to judge people, even the ones I think I know inside and out. I can be a very controlling person and when people don’t do things how I think they should, I sometimes find myself pitying them, thinking that while I’ve got it all together, they’re going to fail miserably because they’re not complying with my standards and opinions on how they should run their lives. The true problem here is not them, but me.
I’m forgetting that we are all beautiful masterpieces of the one true Creator. We all have shortcomings and flaws we’re less than proud of. We are all more alike than we’d really want to admit. Though it’s so easy to judge a friend or neighbor, it becomes almost a nightmare to switch the lens and focus the camera on myself. I tend to think I know best for myself AND for other people, which causes me to look down on others who don’t meet my expectations and standards. This not only affects my relationships with others, but also affects my relationship with myself. By becoming too proud and not acknowledging my own issues within, I’m setting myself up to fall miserably. I need a reality check to remind me that the path I’m on doesn’t lead to where God wants me to be.
I recently stumbled upon a metaphor that just really clicked in my mind. Like a person who sees a piece of a spinach stuck between their teeth yet doesn’t try to pick it out, so many of us see something within our hearts and lives that needs to change, but we never actually do anything about it. We blatantly ignore the issue and instead focus on others’, as if to distract ourselves from the real problem at hand. When will we finally be able to directly look at ourselves in the mirror and admit the things that are holding us back from living to our fullest potential as sons and daughters of Christ?