Walking through the grocery store, I pass the magazine aisle. Glancing at the super-shiny covers, I’m reminded that summer is here and in full swing. Headlines tell me that within the pages I’d find tips to get that radiant summer glow and how to find the maxi dress that’s perfect for my body shape. The women on the covers have both—the ideal summer dress and the glow. The thing is, they look perfect, flawless. Especially their complexion. My summer glow is nothing of the sort, honestly. It’s marked by the imperfection of freckles. And honestly, I am alright with that.
I remember a time in middle school being insecure about my freckles. I’m sure some guy or girl friend of mine had said something about how freckles make you look younger and how no one wants to look younger at that age. They had started to buy into the idea that the beautiful ones are the flawless, grown-up, freckle-less ones. If that were true, then I had to do something about my freckles, I thought. So, I searched for how to get rid of them. The easiest thing I found was to put lemon juice on my face a few times a day. The results were supposed to come in about two weeks, the article said. So, I started. It only took two days before my mom intervened and put a stop to my ridiculous attempt. I remember her giving me a speech about how my friends were going to have terrible skin when they were in their thirties if they kept on tanning the way they were and how I should just be thankful I didn’t look like leather. That was the end of me trying to get rid of my freckles.
Fast forward the years and I’ve remained freckled. I notice everywhere, in magazines, film, and TV that freckled women (and men too) are the minority when it comes to definitions of beauty. Freckles are seen as a physical imperfection, distracting and youthful. All too often I compare what I look like to what I see around me. I accept, without fully realizing it, our culture’s standard of beauty. I can buy the clothes, the shoes, and the jewelry. I can get the look, but I can’t get rid of my look.
As the summer rolls along, I’m tempted to focus on the if only I were tan and not freckled mindset. But I am freckled, and I’ve looked that way for years. Comparing myself to the touched-up complexions on the magazine covers and the actors on TV can damage my psyche if I’m not careful. It’s almost too easy to buy into the culture’s slanted view of beauty, believing that freckles somehow lessen a person’s beauty.
This is my challenge. This is the challenge for all of us, freckled or not. Will we believe that impossibly perfect image portrayed as the ideal of beauty? Will we seek to get it, to conform to it, to adhere to its standards?
There will be times when my heart will be tugged to the perfect impossible. To pick up the concealer and try to hide who I am by hiding what I look like. And that’s when I need to remember what my mom taught me and trust that there is more to me than what can be seen on the outside. This summer, and as years go by, I want to honor the way God has designed my complexion—freckles and all.