Posted by: monsonmadness | October 10, 2012

You’re so vain. I bet you think this blog is about you.

Vanity. An interesting topic, and one that I’m learning more about constantly.

When was the last time you went out in public without any make up on? Didn’t do you hair? Wore old, scruffy, non-fashionable clothes?

Would you go out like that to run errands? How about on a date? How about living like that ALL the time?

How long can you go without getting your hair or nails done? How much money do you spend on your appearance?

Don’t get me wrong, we should take care of ourselves and be clean and neat, but how many of us take it a lot further than that?

I used to care a lot more about my appearance than I do now. I’ve been teased enough in my life about the way that I look, that making an effort to at least be “normal” and “fit in with the crowd” became an important part of my teenage and early adult life.

I think the most vanity-related stress that I ever felt was after I got married and didn’t feel like I fit in “fashion-wise” with those that I came into contact with. For years afterwards (and sometimes even now) I struggle with feeling I’m not good enough, or pretty enough, or that I’m not wearing the right things. No one wants to look like a fuddy-duddy or be looked down upon, but at the same time, we all need to find the beauty within, and be comfortable enough with ourselves that we don’t place such a huge emphasis on how other people view us.

Easier said than done right?

I think that 99.9% of the people reading this are my friends from the USA and UK (although I do get random readers occasionally from countries like Serbia, Korea, and Panama!), and no offense to any of you, but I think that people in these two countries have it tough. At least I have a hard time when I am there with intense feelings of pressure to look and dress a certain way to be trendy or fashionable. It was hard enough when I was a teenager but it’s infinitely worse these days. I worry about how much peer pressure to conform will exist in ten years when I have 7 teenagers!

Anyway, here in American Samoa, people dress how they want. Being comfortable and cool are the most important issues here, and I love it.

I sometimes put on makeup for church on Sundays, and I very rarely do anything with my hair other than pull it into a ponytail. No-one looks down on me or treats me any differently. You don’t need to feel self-conscious about yourself and the element of judging people by their appearances is almost eliminated.

I so wish that the rest of the world was like this. I worry about whether I will fall back into the vanity trap when we come back. Will I feel like I have to have the latest fashions, that my hair has to be done a certain way?

Why do we spend so much time, money and effort on these things that have no lasting significance at all?

Well, I feel like I’ve been doing really well in becoming “less vain” since we’ve moved here, but I had a test last week, and I failed miserably.

Remember the before and after picture of my hair on this recent blog?

I was pretty happy that my hair had grown so long since I had been here for a couple of reasons.

#1 – Hannah and I are having a race. We both had short hair when we came here, and we decided not to cut it for 2 years and see whose hair would grow the longest. The loser has to take the winner out to Yogotogo when we get back.

#2 – You may know that in an effort to rid myself of vanity and trying to do good at the same time, I have been donating my hair to Locks of Love since 2003. They will take a minimum of 10 inches, so every 2 years, I grow my hair long, get it cut and donate to Locks of Love, and then start the process all over again. I have done this five times in a row now, and was on target to be able to do it again next summer.

Anyway, when I saw this photo of myself with Hannah, I realized that my hair needed to be trimmed! When it was cut short before, it was angled and was shorter at the back, longer at the front. I wanted to give it a trim so that it was the same length all the way around.

Easy task I thought to myself. No need to pay anyone to do that. I trim the girl’s hair, I know how easy it is, I’ll just have Michael give me a trim…

Are you laughing yet? Would you let your husband give you a haircut? I was trying to be trusting, and of course, as has to be a conscious decision for me, trying not to be vain. I washed my hair, combed it through, and we went outside for the trim.

Although Michael was nervous at first, I reassured him that you can’t go wrong with a trim, not to worry, and just to make it straight all the way around. I asked for 1cm off the back, and then just straight all the way around.

After a couple of minutes, Michael was acting very confident. “Oh, this is easy” he said. “I’m really good at this”, “It is perfect” “Maybe I should ask Ron Sparks for a job” (Hairdresser friend of ours) I was pleased.

When he was done, I looked down at the floor and was shocked to see 4 inch pieces of hair on the floor. “What did you do?” I cried. “I only wanted a trim”. I ran inside to look in the mirror and burst into tears. All I wanted was for my hair to be the same length all the way around. Look what I got instead…

Stop laughing.

Michael couldn’t understand what the problem was, and I couldn’t understand why HE couldn’t understand what the problem was! I shouted at him that it was totally uneven and was mad for about 30 seconds (REALLY good for me) before I was able to step back and laugh about it.

He hadn’t wanted to do it, and as he kept reminding me, “You get what you pay for!”

He was laughing at this point, and I was trying oh so hard to be humble and kind. He reminded me about the book Pollyanna that we just finished reading in home school, and how the main character Pollyanna makes a glad game out of all the bad things that happen to her. “You should be glad…” Michael told me, “at least you have hair.”

Right. At least I have hair, and at least I don’t have to live in the USA or UK with this hair. Thank you for the unsolicited learning opportunity Michael.

I also have a daughter who is very excited that I’ll be taking her to Yogotogo next summer.


  1. You are too cute Helen. I love reading your blog. You put a smile on my face. 🙂

  2. Helen, your posts always make me laugh or help me look at things in a new perspective. Today’s blog made me laugh! Because I did the exact same thing about 20 years ago. We were poor college students and I needed a trim. Someone had told me if you put your hair in a ponytail on the top of your head and then cut some of the pony off, it will layer the hair nicely. So I talked Shawn into cutting it, he questioned my method (and rightly so) and I assured that it would work great. He was still hesitant but went ahead and cut my hair. After one cut, he was horrified (and rightly so) When we took out the ponytail, he started apologizing….it was bad! We rushed up to the mall to the Jc Penney Salon (it was the only thing open) Talk about embarrassing, to admit I did that to myself.

  3. Ha ha ha haaa!!!! I’m sorry, but that IS funny!!! I can just picture you seeing it all uneven….ha ha!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe Michael didn’t think anything was wrong with it!! But you are still beautiful even with wonky hair! 🙂

    I wish we could walk around here in whatever is comfortable! I don’t wear make up and have NEVER been anywhere close to being fashionable…..but I do always wonder when I’m changing from pj pants to jeans for preschool pick up why I can’t just wear my pj pants and not care??

    Remember the time that you dyed your hair black??? Haaa!!!!

  4. Your wit and willingness to put your ‘life lessons’ for all of us to read is amazing. I love you beautiful woman for so many more reasons than your hair!!!!

  5. I was just admiring your hair in the pics from your Australia trip. It looks great now. Thanks for sharing life’s lessons with us!!! =)

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