I’m always wary of people who tell me they have a favorite number. I give them the side-eye and demand that they explain themselves. That very few of them can actually do so only reinforces my wariness. When someone asks what my favorite number is, I never know what to say. Because…favorite number of what?
Favorite number of cups of coffee in the morning? Two. One for practical, waking-up reasons, and one for the bliss.
Favorite number of place settings? Twelve. Because my ideal dining room table seats ten, and twelve gives me some leeway for things to break (inevitable) without busting up the set.
Favorite number of pairs of shoes? Based on my current closet space – about ten. Based on my fantasy closet space…I don’t think they make a number that big.
If pressed to choose, I usually answer with a random number in the 4,000s, because I feel bad for the 4,000s. Everyone always wants tiny, single-digit numbers. Big numbers need love, too, y’all.
If I had to pick my favorite number of days, though, it would be 31. My favorite months are 31 days long. I mean, that includes my birth month and Christmas and October, so I admit there’s an unfair advantage there. And despite the fabled 21-day habit formation period, I know that many people have found that it takes a lot longer than 21…or 31…days to make a real change. And whatever the norm for habit change actually is, the time it takes for me to make a lasting change is probably longer. I would guess that I take up to a year, which is why I love New Years Resolutions so much. I’m a slow adapter.
But I also know that, since my commitment to 31 days of no fast food last October, I have spent less money on fast food in the last 7.5 months than I spent in just three months last summer. So positive change, while not complete (because I love me some Whataburger onion rings), was definitely set in motion by the 31-day commitment.
And I think that’s what my beauty challenge needs. A dose of good ol’ number 31.
I look over my pictures in my phone of things – mostly in nature (-ish) – that have caught my eye. For example:
(Rainy day tree)
And I look at the things on my beauty board, and I see a lot of beautiful things that other people have said or done:
- Brazil’s eagerness to share their spotlight with the outstanding work of the other team
- Robin Korth’s naked truth
- Abby Norman’s call to Be Seen
And these are great stories and great words. But my focus on what beauty means to and for other people has allowed me to detach from my own experience of beauty.
Well, no more.
If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that beauty is personal, and it demands to be embodied. For women especially, beauty (and whether or not we think we “have it”) seems to control a substantial part of our personal identity. Many of us focus on inner beauty, not only because it’s important but also a little because we are afraid that when we look in the mirror, we don’t see any outer beauty. But it’s there. Even beauty of spirit will manifest in a tangible way. It might be as simple as the way people carry themselves. It might be in the way someone speaks. It might be in the way someone dresses. But however it decides to show up, it does indeed show up. It doesn’t stay in our heads or in our souls.
Beauty gets physical.
So next month, so am I. August will be 31 days of personal beauty. I am going to talk about myself – what makes me feel beautiful and what keeps me from feeling beautiful. I’ve spent enough time on the sidelines. It’s time to play.