By Lauren Barrett of Lauren Barrett Writes
“Is everyone getting Botox but me? And what is a butt dimple?” I questioned on more than one occasion, long after my son had gone to bed, while scrolling through my Instagram feed.
Two years ago, in my pre-baby and pre-Instagram days, I was the type of girl who cared about my appearance but not in an over-the-top kind of way. I valued looking put together, but I didn’t spend an exorbitant amount of time or money buying makeup products, scrolling through Pinterest, and watching tutorials. On a scale of 1-10 on how much I cared about fashion, I hovered around a 5-6.
As my friends know, my mom and husband often picked out my wardrobe (I know, facepalm emoji), but every now and then I liked browsing Lulu’s and Target for some cute clothes. I mostly spent the day in running clothes, but I enjoyed a night of getting dressed up. My makeup consisted of free samples, Dollar Store products, and many-year-old tubes and containers (estheticians close your eyes) of blush, eye shadow, and mascara. I’ve never had a skincare routine. I wasn’t too skilled at styling my hair, but I would watch tutorials to make it look decent and dabbled in balayage. Overall, I was happy with how I looked, relishing in the seemingly never ending days of my youth.
That changed over a year ago when I had a baby and everything wasn’t as tight and fit as it used to be. On a rare night when I would venture downtown or to a bar, it was blatantly apparent that my attire wasn’t as fashionable as I deemed it to be, racking my mind with trying to pinpoint the last time I purchased new clothes. The 20-somethings strutted around in their chic clothes with their perfectly fit bodies, flawlessly made up faces, and elaborately coiffed hair. I was painfully aware of how frumpy and plain I looked. I rushed home that night and pleaded with my husband if we could make it work in our budget for me to buy some new clothes.
Several months later, I joined Instagram for the sole reason to post my blogs. I liked “The Gram” (Do people call it that?). It had less visceral political hate spewing from its feed, and plus I enjoyed seeing people’s kids in their stories. I was bombarded with ads, products, and items girls were “literally obsessed with.” These things thrown at my fragile new mom state made me feel as if I had to get in order to keep up in the world of beauty.
One particular evening, I was reading a 12 page essay posted by a semi-famous girl. She was going on how the old her would have been embarrassed to post this picture because in this said picture she had a (singular, not plural) butt dimple. “What is a butt dimple?” I squinted at the picture and then zoomed in to what I only assumed was a microscopic dimple in her butt next to her evenly smooth, tanned skin. “If she was embarrassed by that, I can only imagine what I should be embarrassed of in my posts.”
Flash forward a couple of months, and we were knee deep in a global pandemic. Before, thanks to motherhood, I had little time to pick apart my flaws in the mirror. But now with virtual meetings as the new norm for the time being, I had ample time to get up close and personal with my face. No longer a minor annoyance, my wrinkles in my brows and forehead glared back and taunted me in all their ugly, deep set glory.
Later, one night, I was back on this celebrity’s Instagram. She had recently been in the news for some drama, and I was there to sip the tea. (Did I use that right?) I stumbled upon a post where she joked if Botox salons can be considered essential workers. And then it hit me in one big surge overtaking me. “Is everyone getting Botox but me?” Perhaps Botox has become the new contacts and braces, something people just do without a second thought. In the midst of my heightened level of insecurities, I finally had to scream at myself that enough is enough. And I clicked the unfollow button and signed out.
I’m sure this woman has her own self-doubts and is empowering other women to embrace their imperfections. But she wasn’t for me. I had to get rid of the source of whatever was causing me to not fully love myself.
My post-pregnancy body is amazing. My c-section scar is a reminder of my son’s journey into this earth. My breasts were once the sole providers of my son’s nourishment. My arms lift him up and down, up and down and push his stroller on runs. My hips are the perfect place for me to balance him on. My legs endlessly chase him around. My wrinkles are evidence of all the times I laughed and cried.
I still lounge around in running clothes most days, put on Dollar Store makeup, and throw my hair up into a messy bun, but I have also bought a pair of high waisted jeans and tanning lotion. I occasionally scroll through Instagram and acknowledge all that’s out there: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Now, I brush it aside more easily when my mind starts to question my beauty. Who knows? Maybe one day I will get Botox, but for now I am content with myself. Why? Because I am a mom.
About the Author
My name is Lauren, and I was born in New Jersey, grew up in West Virginia, went to college in Pennsylvania, and now live and work in North Carolina. I’m a high school teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing by day, a cross country coach by the afternoon, a writer by night, and a full time mom to an amazing toddler. I love my faith, running, watching baseball, chocolate, scrapbooking, pretending I would actually do well on the Amazing Race, re-watching The Office, listening to Bobby Bones, and helping out all moms. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenBarrettWrites/ Twitter: @WritesBarrett Instagram: @laurenbarrettwrites Website: laurenbarrettwrites.weebly.com