It usually started with a trim. Just a trim. Maybe some bangs. Then it went a bit further. A Dorothy Hamill- is what I think I was going for. (if you don’t remember- google it. Ice skater whose hair every daughter of the late seventies wanted to have. Well, if you weren’t the Farrah- winged type, I mean.)

Then, I usually moved on to makeup. Just a bit more color in the cheeks. Maybe some more blush, eyeliner and shadow. If a little is good, more must be better, right? Eventually I went for the lip color. Time to make it POP.

The thing is- every time I finished a makeover session- I found I’d wrecked another doll. Maybe it was the crayola’s, magic markers and eventually the “Barbie makeover magic makeup” (that probably contained lead, asbestos and pcb’s the hat trick of seventies contaminates.) that wrecked her. Or, it could have been the way I wielded my safety scissors without regard or experience. (okay- who am I kidding? I used my moms “orange handled scissors” the good ones. Of course. Barbie needed a good cut, for Pete’s sake. It’s amazing that I still have digits. Sorry, Mom.) Maybe I was jealous. Maybe I was rebelling against the media’s ideal beauty. Maybe, I was bored. But Barbie? Was mangled.

Sorry Barbie. I confess, I managed to turn every one of your heads into a Picasso. Not in the good way. More in the abstract- “is that Barbie or Ken or a manufacturing defect?” kind of way. Even the disembodied barbie head and shoulders (creepy if you think of it) that was designed to be “made over.” and over. And over. I wrecked that, too. ( Apparently- those prickly pink plastic rollers weren’t good for Barbie- either. I hated those.They hurt!) Maybe I just thought she needed a tweak.  A tune-up. Whatever the reason- Barbie wasn’t pretty enough.

Maybe I wasn’t the only kid who thought Barbie wasn’t pretty enough.

Which now, as I sit looking through magazines searching for my next “Dorothy Hammil” iconic haircut. Is both kind of hilarious and sad. I mean if Barbie isn’t pretty enough- there’s no hope for the rest of us.

We’re never satisfied. Women, I mean. About our looks, often. I’ve met some really beautiful women- inside and out- the thing is- they usually don’t know it. They make themselves over. They make them selves under. They add hair, color hair, clip in feathers and extend their lashes. They wear enough spandexed underwear to set off the latex allergies of a sports arena full of onlookers. Or they give up altogether and do nothing. Of course- there the rare beautiful women who refuse to play the Barbie beauty game…..but they’re rebels. (And something I aspire to.)

The problem isn’t seeking to be beautiful- it’s never feeling- being… attaining: pretty enough. Botox doesn’t do it. Nose jobs don’t. (They also hurt. a lot.)  Boob- jobs don’t either. (although- after 3 kids I’ll be honest that a little bob in the boob would help keep my upright.) but- for some of us…there’s just. always- something. Something to fix, change, improve.

Even on Barbie.

I used to blame Barbie.
Okay- Maybe I was a barbie basher. I gave talks giving the measurements that a real woman would have to be in order to “measure up.” (let’s just say- in order to walk? She’d have to defy physics.) I swore I’d never buy a Barbie for my child. (it’s easier to do when you have boys. ) but I thought about it….What grown woman really tries to look,like Barbie? And if Barbie is an inanimate object, can she really be blamed for my self esteem?

So…i gave up the barbie witch hunt-and started to blame magazines instead. I’ve demonstrated the beauty industries manipulation by tearing out every page of a woman’s magazine that was body image or food related during a talk. Let’s just say- there wasn’t much left. (side note: recipes next to weightloss ads? Still bug me. Way to keep “building” the market. I am not deceived! I’m hungry, and fluffy- but I know what you’re doing magazine companies! At least I have that:p.)

The thing is- this morning I walked past the pepto aisle at Target. (sorry- pepto aisle- my word for the nauseating pinkness of the Barbie aisle.) and I noticed something.

Barbie’s actually beautiful. In a physics defying, plastic , PVC and not safe for food coloring , kind of way. But still. Thinking back? She always was.

Barbie didn’t need my “makeovers.”

All I accomplished was making her look like a zombified version of beauty. By the time I was finished with the scissors and sharpies- Barbie was relegated to the bottom of the toy box/ closet. Deemed: Too ugly for play. While there, she usually met the teeth of a poodle and lost her perfectly formed for heels- feet and or other appendages. (Random Hint: don’t bother trying to give Barbie a pedi. I think its a dog attractant and she’ll just end up with one giant toenail- not a good look. There is no brush small enough for those toes. Unless of course, you have a leprechaun beauty supply store near you. Which, I doubt. but I digress.)

Anyway- Lately I’ve been giving myself a few real life makeovers. The results? About the same as barbie’s. I mucked up my hair color and the only way to keep it from turning into over cooked spaghetti was to totally change the color. It’s okay now, but is in a holding pattern until it grows long enough to fix. I also had a new girl cut it- when I know someone who would have done a much better job……….it was a moment of PMS induced hair insanity. they happen.

I also had some permanent makeup done. Which is pretty much the poor chicks plastic surgery. I had my brows touched up- eyes and lips lined. If you’re curious- Yes- It felt like tattooing your eyelids sounds like it would feel. Which, is because that’s exactly what it is. (I’m happy with it- someday I my even get my face wet in the pool and test it out. Okay- probably not. but now I COULD. But, holy cow! Numbing cream or not- it: hurt.) Fortunately, I left the permanent makeup to a pro- so it does look great. (no sharpies were used- FYI- Sharpies aren’t permanent on skin. I know-Because in a fit of mom cheapness I once tried to substitute one for eyeliner hoping for a longer lasting effect. Um. No. It fades and blurs like a bad tattoo. Unless of course, its a swear word written on a siblings forehead, right before church or something. Then? Permanent and clear.)

I wonder if someday I’ll look back at pictures and wonder why I did all this stuff to myself. Just like I wonder why I thought barbie needed a makeover. I wonder if someday the shoes that hurt my feet -but didn’t make them look fat, will be tossed to the bottom of the closet and chewed by a shorkie like the barbies feet were. (we don’t have poodles.) I wonder if I’ll ever have to give up spanx because they cause asphyxiation or worse-like the generation before me had to give up cigarettes. Which isn’t really related, but could happen.

I wonder if the inventor of Barbie ever got bummed because of her propensity to being “made over”? (of course- barbies inventor could pay for the therapy to recover…. But still. I wonder. I mean there could be whole landfills dedicated to mutilated Barbies. There is a book. It’s hilarious.If inappropriate. Hello- Barbie is naked under her clothes. *Gasp*)

I also wonder if God ever looks at me the way I looked at that Barbie this morning and says- “she really is beautiful. Just the way she is. she never did need- all that stuff.”

I wonder what would be different if I really, finally, got that.

What if we all did?

Did you ever give Barbie a makeover? What did you use? How’d she look when you were done? What’s the most extreme beauty regime- gimmick or improvement you’ve ever tried? I’d love to hear about it in the comments…… I can’t be the only Barbie mangler. Can I? Better yet- post pics of the Barbies you or your kids have destroyed……I may even have a contest;)

More importantly- what do you think your maker thinks of you? If you’re not sure- read psalm 139. Even if you think you know- read it again with me today. We can all use a reminder of how incredible His workmanship is.