Inside Out

My roots are showing. It’s time to visit the salon to get a fresh coat of red hair applied. Many times have I been told that I should have been born a red head; many times have I agreed. Harmless enough to talk lightly about, I suppose.


I read a write-up recently on tattoos in Des Moines. I was struck by the concept that some people get tattoos to feel more like themselves. It reminded me of myself 11 years ago, when I wrote an essay in order to earn my parents’ approval of an eyebrow ring. I believe I said something close to: “when I look in the mirror at my left eyebrow, it BEGS me to put a piercing through it.” Truthfully, I was told many times in those days that the eyebrow ring looked “like it belonged.” The facial piercing is long gone, and while I do have a smattering of tattoos, I can honestly say I didn’t get them because my arm or my foot seemed naked without them.

297_508735588749_1210_nA freshly-pierced, naturally-hair-colored, 18-year-old me.

There was a segment of CBS Sunday Morning that discussed the decline in fashion norms – the current state of “anything goes” in the way we dress from pajamas in public to flip-flops as formal wear.

Hopefully these observations don’t seem disjointed, because to me they all point to the same thing: the outer appearance being inextricably linked to the inner being. 
In one exhaling breath we admonish each other to never “judge a book by its cover,” yet as we inhale we hope that we are being widely admired (or at the very least noticed) for our good hair day or unique accessory. 

This is a dichotomy. This doesn’t work. I think the reason we fall into this trap is because we feel a disconnect between our inner and outer selves…and I think the only way to reconcile that is to own that disconnection; to accept that our physical forms aren’t enough to portray or satisfy our inner life. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t modify or have fun with our outward appearance, but it does mean recognizing these modifications will not bring total fulfillment. In order to fulfill our total selves, we need to spend time nurturing and tending to our inner selves also. We are not just bodies; we are souls, too.

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I recommend the following two links for how I remember to keep my soul fed. The first is from the Bible – the second a breakdown and explanation in case you’re not used to reading the Bible or (like me) enjoying digging into written words for full meaning.

3 thoughts on “Inside Out

  1. Nicole

    After you and I talked and I decided to stop with the unhealthy habits with my weight and appearance…I have been incredibly content. And healthy. I’m sleeping better and feel happier in general. I think realizing that ultimately my body is just a vehicle for my soul – the true me- had profound impact on my day to day.


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