I Am A Little Vain

While I do my best to hold myself to true beauty standards, I am not above vanity. Yes, I am proud that my Twitter avatar is not photoshopped and is sans-makeup. However, it’s also a lucky photo of me, and I could name eight things wrong with it.

I may not primp for photos and vlogs because I want to be me, but I love it when I happen to be having a good hair day on a vlog. I also rarely take one picture and pop it up. I often have to take five to be happy since I have one where I fall over, one where I am kissing something for no reason, two that are blurry, another where I’m rapping, and the rest have flaws only I can see.


I finally went with the last photo because it seemed the least weird, which probably makes you question my taste in weird.

In my vague defense, I took three photos of my dog before I posted him to Facebook so it’s not like I’m only into selfies.

The bottom photo is the I finally used to illustrate our poor puppy is teething, and I still felt bad because he had eye goo. I also felt as ridiculous as I did posing with a book six times since I’m now thinking my dog is also a reflection of my makeup-less vanity. I find that if I just say SCREW IT and pick a photo, I do better than if I keep going. I see more flaws the longer I click my iPhone. In real life, when I feel the worst about myself, I take time to look a little nicer in the most comfortable clothing I own.

These lines we draw are not supposed to be perfect anyway. I’m just as likely to be caught caring about my appearance as not caring enough about it. I watch women more put together than me, and I am simultaneously envious and inspired. I watch women less put together than me and I think: I should’ve worn my slippers today, too. In the end, I strive to set a strong example for myself, my children and anyone struggling to look in the mirror, that my self-worth is well beyond my hair and eyelashes, but on occasion, I photoshop my face to perfection and delete it because it’s not me.

Mostly, I remind myself that I’d rather look better in person than on the Internet. And many days that’s true. I wear sweatpants and jeans and dresses and makeup and no makeup and ponytails and a wild blue mane. I wear what I feel like wearing and today it includes mascara and jeans and a ponytail.

Beyond all that, I want to control my vanity remembering that vanity is a self-centered focus on appearance that can as easily be telling ourselves we look so terrible as we look the best. Yes, it’s okay to put effort into my physical presentation, but I want my appearance to be secondary, and when it is what people notice first, I have to work even harder to make it second. I also have to put aside my reaction to other people’s appearance. If I am quick to judge them as better or worst than me, my vanity is showing.

So this is not just for me and my well-being, this is about how I treat others — strangers and friends. I have to be well-aware of what it means to be healthy and kind to my outsides versus picky and pushing myself to towards the photoshopped photograph I delete.

It’s blurry with weird lighting, but it is the first shot.

Blurry Me

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

16 thoughts to “I Am A Little Vain”

  1. This might be weird to say, but one of the things I admire about you is that you post “real” pictures of yourself. So many people (me included) are terrified to post a picture with out make up or the right lighting or the right….whatever. I totally rock the no make up pony tail sweat pants look around town but it’s hard to find a picture of me without make up on. So I love that you are real in real life and in photographs.

    1. Thanks Julia — it means a lot that you noticed even before this post.
      I want to be the same person online and in real life although, of course, the place I’m the “most real” is at home with my husband no matter how hard I try.
      As with posting the “real” photos, I just had to start doing it and let my comfort level catch up.

  2. You are gorgeous in and out. Love every thing about this post even the blur that makes me like I’m drunk…only I’m not because I’m drinking tea and ate about a row of Oreo Birthday cookies.
    I wish that I had confidence to just be. I’m all self concious about shit that in the end…means absolutely nothing in the grande scheme of life.
    I don’t want my headstone to read “Kim, her hair was always fucking amazing.”
    Love you.
    PS. I don’t think that I ever thanked you for your Christmas card. It’s still on my fridge. I’m an asshole for not thanking you.

    1. I’m so glad you loved the card!

      I still get self-conscience, too. I think that’s why I wrote this post because I didn’t want it to seem like it’s effortless to put myself out there all sans-makeup and in my pjs somedays. That I have deflect my own insecurities, too, but it gets easily. Sometimes confidence comes when we just start stopping.
      It helps that I’m lazy.
      Kim: She Could Eat A Oreos Even When Her Hair Was Messy. RIP
      Alex: She Only Liked Blonde Oreos But Was Too Lazy To Get Dressed To Go To The Store And The Store Had Rules About Wearing Slippers. RIP

  3. I think your first photo is lovely. You and your family come across as wonderful people who love each other and your children very much.
    I enjoy your snippets of family life, 🙂

    1. Aw, thank you so much! We do love each other a lot so I’m glad express that well even when I’m all over the place on this blog.
      Oh and I actually debated between the first and the last photo, but in the first photo I thought my neck looked weird — it’s that probably-only-noticed-by-me and leading to 5 more photos that prompted this post.

  4. I really loved this post. It spoke so much to me. I feel exactly like you do on all points. While I do not put my face out there as freely as you do, when I do it’s me…unaltered…pure me. Sometimes i like getting dressed up other times i like just being me. It is a hard balance between loving who you are on the outside, showing others you love and care for who you are on the outside, vanity and loving ourselves inside as well. Internal beauty is so very important too. You are so very right as well in that we must remember the same when we are looking at others.

  5. I do struggle with this. I want to be the blogger who can take selfies at any given moment and look amazing, but it’s not me. I have to take and take and take and pose and pose and pose to get a photo that I think is presentable. But would anyone even notice? Would people look at the ones I wasn’t happy with and think, “YUCK! This chick is uuuuuugly!” I don’t know. What I do know is that when I often look in the mirror or into my phone camera, I think “Ok. I look kinda ok here.” Then I snap the photo and it’s like my face morphed into a goblin. Terrible that I think that, right?

  6. Awesome post. I think we, as women, are just too hard in ourselves because the picture of what beautiful should be. I go through that too, I take a million pictures before I find that right one and even then – aint happy w it. I think you are beautiful w your blue hair and wonderful heart. Though I just started following you and haven’t really seen the rest of your family too much, I’m pretty sure they are just as beautiful

  7. “If I am quick to judge them as better or worst than me, my vanity is showing.” – True. And hard to swallow, because I know I’ve done it. You know: that mom is more put together than I am, but that one over there looks even more disheveled than I do.

    Oh, just to type it hurts me. I never want to be that person, so I think I need to be more conscious of my damaging internal thoughts. What we think can be just as dangerous (sometimes more so?) than what we say. Time to get my not-so-kind thoughts under control!

  8. I am really glad there is another blogger out there that has to delete pictures due to kissing things randomly…it’s like a weird quirk I have too. I often delete the pictures where my eyes look like they are popping out of my head, which unfortunately is pretty often. Lately all of my kid and pet photos look like rainbow blurs. Why can’t they just sit still for one second?

    This sentence, “If I am quick to judge them as better or worst than me, my vanity is showing.” brings up so many questions for me. I catch myself doing this too. Not just with how I look, but also with other things. Where am I on the scale of parenting? Of cooking? Of blogging? If I think people are above me or below me I lose either way. It just makes me feel bad and it doesn’t mean anything anyway. I wonder how this becomes part of us? It’s silly, but it is there.

  9. Oh my goodness, you had me in stitches with the “I had to delete the rapper and kissing pictures.”

    You have me thinking that one of the reasons Mommy blogging might be so popular is that we can create a whole persona without ever having to reveal the real, physical self. It’s really disheartening that we as women aren’t proud of who we are with or without make up. I am guilty of it and I am guilty of the same comparisons too. And part of me hates it because I am even comparing myself to you saying, “Well of course she can be unedited and no makeup because Alex is gorgeous, not me. ” We all have to stop doing that to ourselves.

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