Comparison Complex

Comparison Complex

This week I finally had my first visit to the hair salon in months. I was so excited. Finally to be able to sit for over an hour with no children, while someone washed and coloured my hair for me, not to mention the head massage.


I thought I am definitely going to use this time to relax and ponder what I want to paint in my next series. How I am going to approach it, what my subject matter will be (or more to the point, which house plant I will choose this time). I was in my hairdresser’s new salon, a beautifully fitted out space. So calming and relaxing with lovely huge round mirrors, even the lighting is amazing.

But I didn’t just sit there and ponder, or relax and sip my English Breakfast tea from the little white cup with the adorable little matching white teapot. Instead I stared at the ageing face in front of me.

The one that all of a sudden doesn’t have to wear a mask and should have applied more make up. The one that is now early forties and has had two children and may have spent way too many years living la vida loca in London and it now shows all over said face. I literally spent an hour picking apart every part of my own face.

Comparing myself to the absolutely stunning hairdressers now fussing around me. Ho do they look so porcelain? How do they have no flaws that reflect back in the same mirror?

How do hairdressers do this, they are all so good looking.

While my hair was being washed and I’d been given time away from the mirror, I thought to myself, why am I comparing myself to the 20 & 30 year old hairdressers? I am at least 10 years older than them. Why am I comparing myself at all? I am me and I have enjoyed my life and I have some lines to prove it.

When I returned to the mirror and I sat down, I asked myself what if I looked at the woman in the mirror a little less critically and accepted that she is a woman who has had a really blessed life? A woman who has enjoyed her life. Who has two beautiful children, lovely friends and family. Who has experienced many ups and a few downs, but continues to enjoy this lovely thing we call life.

So I did just that. I sat down in front of that mirror and instead of frowning at myself, I sat down and smiled. I smiled and I thought about all the wonderful things in my life and how truly blessed I am and that changed everything.

All of a sudden I was no longer comparing myself to the beautiful hairdressers who surrounded me. Nor did I care about how I looked in the reflection. I could look at myself in the mirror and just see me for all my flaws and imperfections.

When I got back in the studio I didn’t over think what plant I was going to paint. I didn’t sit on Instagram for hours comparing my art to all the other ‘successful’ artists.

I just began painting and kept on painting.

Today you are you,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive,
who is youer, than you.

— Dr. Seuss

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