Posts in Beauty
Beauty, tattoos and getting old

Recently my 16 year old step daughter started talking constantly about wanting a tattoo, and to illustrate her seriousness began drawing it on her arm in pen, eyeliner, sharpie... whatever she could find that was water proof. And honestly, its been bugging the hell out of me!

I don't have an issue with tattoos. I don't have any myself, though Ive considered it a couple times, and my husband has several. I have seen many tattoos that I think are very beautiful works of art, and

I believe in the idea of "your body, your rules"

So is taken me a while to get to the bottom of why Ive been reacting so negatively to her getting one.

The tattoo that she wants is the word "Beautiful" written in Japanese characters.


The idea that she wants to somehow establish her identity as "beautiful" permanently in ink made me think about my own looks and my changing relationship with my own sense of beauty, which is at an interesting juncture at the moment. As I'm getting older the way I look is changing and I don't have the same kind of beauty I did as a girl, and I'd be lying if I said that I haven't had moments where I feel a little sad about losing that very easy attractiveness of youth.

But its once again made me realize just how much my beauty is not actually a part of me. It doesn't really even belong to me.  The way I look is an accident of genetics, and it wont last.

The way I look is not who I am.

I found myself wondering who I would be if I took away the way I look, and what I'm going to be like when I'm much much older, totally unrecognizable from the way I look now. I plan to be a wonderfully eccentric, outspoken woman with three lap dogs, interesting art on every wall, great stories of my life and travels and a penchant for too many mojitos. And I plan to have a wealth of life and exploration and endless curiosity till the end. Which brings me to my point.

Why is our "beauty" even relevant?

Its fleeting. Temporary. Its not WHO we are.

The reason my step daughters tattoo choice bothers me so much is because she is SO much more than just beautiful. She is courageous, strong, creative, selfless, fiercely protective of her loved ones and very intelligent.

I would much rather she tattoo all of those amazing attributes on every inch of her skin, than focus on the only one that is meaningless.

BeautyTarryne West
Why beauty is important

There is a beautiful Chinese proverb that reads

“When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.”

This has always resonated with me as I strongly believe that beauty in our surroundings is as important to our health as good food. I know personally that I function better when my home is tidy and well presented. I always feel calm when the space around me has nicely coordinating or complimentary colors. I’m definitely happier when I’ve made an effort to dress in pretty clothes and a bit of jewellery.  One of my favorite things in the world is to walk in the front door and see flowers on the table. It may seem at first vain or superficial, but beauty for me is essential to my mental health.  Unfortunately it’s often the thing we let go of first though when things get hard.


When you’re busy, stressed or feeling a bit low, beauty is often seen as far too much effort so we put it on hold. After all, the extra 10 minutes you need to put together a pretty outfit is time you could spend in bed.  And why would you spend $20 on flowers when you’re broke this week.   Who cares about the chipped nail polish on your toes, no one’s going to see it right?  I had a funny conversation with a friend just yesterday who was telling me that she puts away all her nice wine glasses for special occasions, so she never ends up using them.  I was visiting a friend recently who had the most beautiful candles with glorious smells, but she never burns them. She’s saving them, she’s not sure for what though.  They sit hidden on a shelf barely visible behind some books. 

I’m sure everyone has something of beauty that they never get to enjoy because it seems too special for everyday use but I believe every moment in life is worthy of being a special occasion and should be treated as such.

Every moment of beauty in your life that you sacrifice is a moment you lose to the mundane.

Still don’t believe me?

In this fantastic post Karen Maleck-Whiteley sums it up with this comment on a book called   “Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things,” where Don Norman presents his theory on why we chose aesthetics before function.

“He believes that beautiful things change your emotions in a positive way, making you feel happy and less stressed. Your emotional state then affects your perceptions and your effectiveness in completing tasks. When you are happier and less stressed, most things you do are easier.”

Try it for yourself. Today buy $5 worth of flowers and put them somewhere you can see them, be it your desk at work or coffee table at home. If you can’t do that, go steal some daisies from someone’s garden, or twigs of lavender from a hedge.  They don’t have to be grand or impressive, but the pop of color will make you smile every time you catch sight of them.

Next time you have a cup of tea or coffee, have it out of the prettiest or most colorful cup you can find. If you have a cute matching tea-pot somewhere, haul it out and use it!!

Got a pair of sparkly shoes at home? Put away your fear and wear them to work. Seriously. Sparkly shoes peeking out from below your serious somber black work pants? Brilliant!

If bringing these small flashes of beauty into your day doesn’t at least make you smile a little then I will personally deliver an enormous bunch of flowers to you while wearing a chicken suit.

And don’t forget, there is beauty everywhere you look.  It’s all too easy to tune it out during the hustle and bustle of your day. Once you start becoming aware of it, you’ll find it turning up in the most unexpected places.

BeautyTarryne West