I learned in art class in 7th grade that our eyes are directly in the center of our head. You don’t really realize that because our hair distracts us and makes us think they’re further up, but nope. They’re center stage. Look at your face, or someone else’s, and you’ll see it. Given this fact, it makes sense why eye brows are such a crucial feature. They frame the eyes and separate the bottom half of our head from the top half. Our eyes are one of the most essential parts of our body, not just because it’s typically the first thing people see, but it’s how we see! So the brows, which frame and highlight such an indispensable feature of the face, matter.
You’ve all seen the brow gone bad.
Eye brows are crucial to the structure of a face. The shape, size and stature of the brow can kind of make or break someone’s appearance. Ok, maybe it’s not that serious, but it kind of is.
Over the course of my 28 years, my eye brows have been all over the place. Too thick, too thin, over tweezed, under groomed, and everything in between. Back around the same time when I learned our eyes are in the center of our head, it was trendy to have very thin, super tweezed eye brows. Today, bigger is better. (Unfortunately, for the most part, that rule only applies to eye brows and boobs.)
Much like other areas of my life, it’s been a long road of “shaping” over the years. They are finally starting to look how I want them to, but it has been a long, hairy road! (See what I did there!?) My eye brows, like my life, are still a work in progress and I realized there are a few lessons in this ongoing “brow” shaping process.
1. There is such a thing as too thin.
Our society has set us up to believe thinner is better. There’s things like “thinspiration” and sayings like, “nothing tastes as good a thin feels.” Its sick and unhealthy and absolutely devastating to the confidence of women. The unattainable images of perfection we are flooded with on a constant basis simply set us up to strive and work toward something that doesn’t exist. I spent years of my life literally dying to be thin, and it almost worked.
Thank God these days it seems more acceptable to be a little fuller. Brows included. We are starting to appreciate and understand that healthy is beautiful. In terms of eye brows, thicker makes us look younger, more vibrant and natural. Similarly in life, too thin and things start looking strange. When women look too hard, sharp and aggressively groomed it becomes too much and overtakes their natural beauty. Same thing happens in our lives.
2. A small change can make a big difference.
I have been amazed at how just a few extra hairs or a couple accidental plucks can make an enormous difference in the look of my eye brows and face. Eye brows are relatively small so apparently, every hair counts.
In life, small adjustments can yield big results, positive or negative. One small bad habit can snow ball into an addiction, just as one positive habit can turn into a lifetime of healthy choices. We tend to think, “Oh that’s such a small thing, it won’t matter.” What my eye brows are teaching me is that, like it or not, every “hair” does matter.
3. Growth takes a long time.
Recently I looked at my eye brows and realized they were too thin. I’d gotten a little carried away with the tweezers and lost control. This has happened many times in my life, both with my eye brows and other things. In trying to control the “hairs,” I’ve gotten carried away and over done it. This has played itself out in a variety of ways over the years, but the lesson is, sometimes you have to let the hairs be what they are and leave them alone. When you don’t and things get “over-tweezed,” it takes an unbelievable amount of time to re-grow them.
Waiting out the growth period can be excruciating. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, and downright ugly at times. You end up with hairs everywhere, poking out in places it appears they don’t belong, even if they do. Initially in the regrowth, they look out of place and there’s a temptation to pluck them back out; but if you do, you’ll end up right back where you started. You have to endure the process in order to get where you want to be, whether it’s growing out your eye brows or your life.
4. Sometimes we have to fill in the holes; and that’s ok.
During the awful growth process, we can end up with holes. Areas of missing pieces and open space. Awkward gaps and strangely shaped patches of unruly “hair.” It’s painful and ugly, frustrating and difficult.
During these times you have two choices. Leave the patches open, or fill them in until they grow back themselves. I have learned it is often necessary to do both. For some things, there is just no way around the awkwardness. No way to avoid the empty, open space in between the growth. But for others, It is beneficial and even necessary to fill it in.
In terms of eye brows, we can simply use a brow pencil and draw in the missing pieces. In terms of life, we can find ways to fill in the gaps until they become authentically whole. Ideally we fill in the holes with healthy things, but many of us choose other routes. On the healthy road, we can do things like get counseling, take care of ourselves better, seek out friends and family for support and cling tighter to God.
The holes are painful and ugly. They change the entire structure of our life. As much as we have to wait it out and endure the growing pains, sometimes we also have to fill in the holes until they grow back on their own. Sometimes we have to do a little “fake it til you make it.”
“This tragic brow, these closed eyes, eyebrows raised and knotted.” Frederick Leboyer
5. You do have to do some maintenance.
Just like eye brows, life requires maintenance. We never have it made. Once we think we do, it may last for a short time; but inevitably, things get hairy again. If you want well groomed, healthy eye brows, you have to do the work to maintain them. Same goes for life. Everything requires upkeep and effort, time and attention. Once we get things how we want them, we have to work to sustain the balance. Too far one way or the other is never good. It’s a lifelong process of walking the fine lines, maintaining the balance, plucking and pruning, waxing and waiting. We have to learn to enjoy the moments when we have achieved the goal, while also enduring the necessary periods of growth and preservation.
So there ya have it. A few nuggets of wisdom I’ve gleaned from my eye brows. There are great lessons in the little details of life, if only we open our eyes. 😉