The vain act of maintaining vanity

Liz Moreno

I broke one of my cardinal rules recently and it didn’t take long for me to remember why I had that rule in the first place – to keep vanity at bay. 

I’m one of those women who like to think I am low maintenance. I don’t relish shopping for clothes; I’m not a shoe diva; I wear very little makeup; I’ve never dyed or tinted my hair; and the list of “I don’ts” goes on. However, I didn’t heed my own advice a few weeks ago when I decided to have a pedicure and a manicure to get ready for a night out on the town with my hubby. (We are still newlyweds, after all!)

The rose-colored nail polish looked absolutely beautiful when I walked out of the salon, but reality hit quickly. From the first day to the next, little pieces of hot pink color started disappearing, first from one finger, then from another. I wasn’t going to let a little disappointment mess up my day, so I tried to act as though no one else would see the imperfection.

Instead of stopping at a little damage, my nails added a few more chips every day. As my nails started growing back, the bottom of each painted nail began to show flesh colored skin a sliver at a time.

After two weeks of slowly watching them shrink, I decided to just get the nail polish remover and put me out of my perceived misery. It took a whole lot less time to take it off than it did to paint it on and I was glad that I didn’t have to worry about causing damage to what had started out as a work of art.

I’ve always marveled at women who consistently have beautiful hands and nails. I’ve never been one of them. Then I got to thinking about vanity in general and the things we do to put on “a good front.”

My mother realized she was caught in the trap of vanity when she was in her 60s. Up until then, she had dark black hair and she kept it black for years and years. Then she had an epiphany – her efforts were useless because there was always something there to remind her – her roots. She found freedom when she finally admitted that she didn’t have to keep up her charade. Her hair grew out to be a beautiful snowy white, with a few flecks of pepper mixed in. She found life was a whole lot easier when she just let nature take its course.

Vanity is not limited to women. Think of the other kinds of things that men and women do for vanity’s sake: clothing, cars, housing, hairstyles, electronic gadgets, etc. 

When King Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes, he said that everything is vanity. Read that book if you want a real wake-up call because Solomon, the wisest man in the world, spoke from his own experience. And if and when you get caught up in trying to keep up with the Joneses whether in possessions or physical looks, just think about Solomon’s words: “Vanity of vanities,” saith the preacher, “all is vanity.”

Psalm 39:5: Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Psalm 94:11: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

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