Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 58: Greetings from South Dakota!


Yes, I'm writing from South Dakota; Custer, SD, to be exact.  Custer is a land where the buffalo still roam, and were the deer and the antelope still play.  (I just enjoyed a delicious meal of venison sloppy-joes as proof of such things.  Yum!)  This is the state where my mom grew up, and where my cousin just graduated from high school.  I'm here with my family to celebrate (Congrats Alex!). I've been in Custer since Thursday (Day 55), and tonight I'm at the airport waiting for my flight back to California.  It's been an interesting trip, so I wanted to "reflect" on some things before I leave.

If you didn't pick up on this from my "venison sloppy-joes" comment, I'll put it plainly: Custer, SD is very different from Los Angeles, CA.  The cost of living is much lower, the air quality is better (it smells like pine trees and you can see the stars at night!), and it snows... in May.

Another big difference is that people here seem to be a lot more down-to-earth.  This leads to some significant cultural differences, as far as beauty and self image go.  I'm not saying that folks here don't care about their appearance, or that they don't look fabulous - they do, and they do!  But, I did notice that there seems to be a little less fuss and a lot less plastic surgery.  Perhaps most refreshing: even at special events, like graduation parties, the spirit is much more come-as-you-are, and a lot less come-as-the-latest-trendy-celebrity.  I wore the exact same tee-shirt on two days during my four-day visit, and nobody cared.  Actually, my mom said, "Oh, I LOVE that shirt!" both times.  Yeah, I still put on my makeup, but there wasn't a hair-dryer available and it didn't bother me.  I think that Custer, SD is the kind of place where I might have managed to overcome my bridal body-insecurities without a no-mirrors intervention.

How about mirrors in Custer?  Oh, they're still everywhere.  In fact, I caught a peek of myself in a bathroom mirror this morning, but I was too groggy for it to really register.  I've grown accustomed to having curtains covering all the mirrors at home, so my reflection kind of startled me.  Luckily, in addition to being groggy, I was also not wearing my contacts or glasses, so I didn't really see myself, just colors and shapes.

Later on, when I was washing my face, I was very careful to keep my eyes DOWN, so it wouldn't happen again.  Just my luck - I could see my reflection in the sink drain-cover!  I took a picture of it to share.  As you can see, it was fun-house-style warped, and didn't reveal much detail below the neck (or above it, for that matter!).  I found myself wondering, why haven't I ever seen myself reflected in my drain-cover at home?? It struck me: this sink has been cleaned recently!  Oh well... 

Fun memory: My young cousins, Sadie and Julie, were really intrigued by my makeup-without-mirror skills.   They actually watched me apply everything, step-by-step, to prove that I could do it.  (I did it!)  I even gave eyeliner a try, and was promised it looked "normal good".  Yippee!


Some closing thoughts:  Sadie's 14th birthday is this coming Tuesday, and my family gave her a pretty extensive collection of drugstore makeup (purchased at the local Family Dollar) as a gift.  I signed the card and sang the song - I love this little girl/woman!  But I feel a little mixed about the subliminal pro-makeup message we'd sent along with the gift.  Sadie, if you're reading this (and you should be, since we set you up as an email subscriber!) - please have FUN with your makeup, but know that you're beautiful with out it, okay?   I'm twice your age, and still working to believe this, myself... I hope that reading about my experiences will help give you and Julia a head-start at having a healthy body image.  Growing up in Custer won't hurt either! :)


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  1. :) I assume this comment was left by Aunt Sarah? Love you too!

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  2. Ah! Well, I'm glad that the mess at your apartment is helping with the project, but how about I come over and help clean it!?? I will leave the sink stopper a bit grimey, but there are many other non-reflective surfaces that could use a major wipe down! (no-offense). We can put most of the blame on M... How about a study/cleaning/wine drinking date sometime in the next week or two?

    Also, I owe you money for parking so remind me to pay you.

    ok, I'm realizing that my comments here are a bit off topic since you forgot your phone this morn and I have no other way to contact you. Call me when you get back, and great post! I was curious about what you were writing while on the trip;)

    Hanna

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  3. Hanna - O.M.Gosh, YES! I would really like a cleaning/study/wine date with you ASAP. As I've mentioned to you several times... the mess has become stressful. I could use your organizing genius help, and will happily supply the vino!

    What days are you available this week? I could even do this tomorrow, after my 10am apartment viewing. Thoughts?

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