Best Friends…Forever? Session Two
Last week we read chapters 4-6. You can find the previous sessions here: www.krystenlindsay.com/reading-guide.html
In Chapter 4 Landry has a nice visit with her grandparents and then stops at the big department store to check out the decorations. She goes to the Little Rose Cosmetics counter and she gets taken in by the gorgeous ads. The models for that makeup company always look amazing and she looks up what colors they’re using and buys them to try and replicate the look on herself, but it doesn’t look the same on her. She looks washed out and even her mother asks if she’s feeling okay.
I stared at my washed-out complexion in the mirror. The lip gloss almost made my mouth disappear. Why couldn't I look like Talisa or the girls at school who didn't even need lipstick or gloss? Why couldn't I look like anybody but me?
Have you ever felt like Landry does and wished to look like someone else? Who did you pick and why did you pick them? Make a list of the reasons and we’ll come back to it at another time when we get more into the series.
In chapter 5, Landry goes to exchange the lip gloss, but the lady working at the cosmetics counter doesn’t make her feel very good about herself.
I started to say I wanted something natural-looking when she cut me off. "Well, not too natural, or you'll look washed out. You're so fair. You need some color to liven you up," she said. "I don't think natural is the right look for you." I felt like asking for the dead-looking lip gloss back so I could go home and not feel worse about myself.
The woman continues to make comments about Landry and she starts feeling worse and worse about herself.
I thought I was looking pretty good when I left the apartment. Suddenly I felt like a big puddle of nothing.
When I was first starting out with makeup, my friends and I would go to this one makeup counter and ask for help picking out colors and every once in a while we’d get a salesperson like this one who made you feel worse about how you looked and then we’d buy more and more makeup to cover up the spots they pointed out we had, the blotchiness, the oiliness, etc. What I didn’t pick up on at the time was that there was no money to be made in telling us we looked fine just the way we were. But there was a lot of money to be made in feeling like we had to cover up our skin with thick foundation because it looked too awful for anyone to see our huge pores, acne, and redness. But at the time we didn’t see that.
Even now I have friends who go to buy one thing and come out with a whole bag full because the lighting in the store made them look bad and the salesperson made them feel worse about how they looked. And notice what Landry’s mom says:
"They always make you feel bad about yourself so you'll buy more of their products."
"Yeah, why else do you think they critique you so much when you're just trying to buy gloss? You walk up feeling okay about yourself and slink away feeling like a hideous troll who can only be saved by eighty dollars or more of products," she said.
Have you ever had an experience like that? Write about how it made you feel. Then pretend you’re the person working behind the makeup counter and someone who looks just like you comes to the store to buy something. What would you tell them? How would you treat them?
We saw how Landry felt ignored by her cousin Lucy and that her modeling jobs weren’t exciting enough as Lucy didn’t seem interested. However, Landry’s dad tells her that Lucy actually was very interested in it.
What did you learn from this and what Mrs. Albright has to say about it? Write about how you feel about what Landry’s mom tells her about being supportive. Have you had any experiences like that?
Mrs. Albright points out the competition thing about the one model being the, “new Talisa.” Landry’s dad points out they do the same competition thing with guys. He tells her, “Just do your best and be yourself.” Adults always give advice like that and I’m sure you rolled your eyes when your read it just like I did back when I heard it. But now I can see the wisdom in it. Back when I was Landry’s age I definitely could not though because I didn’t appreciate what I had to offer.
Have you ever felt that way? Take a minute to list things about yourself that you do like. Then ask a trusted friend if they’d share five things they admire or like about you and then do that for them. And really listen to what they say and why. It’s very easy to blow it off and say, “oh it’s not big deal,” but write it down to reflect on the next time you feel bad about yourself.
In chapter 6, Landry invites Thalia over for a sleepover. Thalia gets picked on a bit and she is someone who doesn’t care what other people think about her. Sometimes her openness about that makes Landry uncomfortable. Why do you think that is? Does is make you uncomfortable?
Behind the scenes: By the way, did you notice the sweater scene back at school? That’s also based on something that happened to me at my old school. So if you’re keeping track, I got in trouble for bright colored socks and a sweater that wasn’t one of the “acceptable” shades of blue in my school uniform. What a rebel I was, right? Ha ha! And yes, my eyes filled up with tears, too, because my grandma bought me that sweater for me to wear to school.
In this section there’s a lot with being made to feel bad about your appearance so you buy more stuff, comparing yourself to impossible beauty standards, and having someone be themselves and that makes you uncomfortable when they get picked on for it.
Yes, I went through all of it and I bet if you asked some other adults who have bought makeup, they would have similar experiences. Once I got to high school, I used to get up so early to do my makeup. I never went to class without full makeup on because I had been told I had such oily skin that I should always wear foundation and powder. For years I spent my allowance on this fancy foundation that’s meant to be used to conceal any blemishes for photo shoots. It was thick and it would break me out if I left it on too long. Sure, I had some breakouts and I will admit I had the oiliest skin on the planet, but did I need to slather on foundation to cover up my skin? Probably not.
Interestingly, when I was in grad school, I got sick right before spring break and during that time I was at home and not putting on makeup or moisturizer, or using skin care treatments. Just plain old face wash and water. Guess whose skin completely cleared up during that? Yup, all that time of not wearing makeup and being too exhausted to do any masks or skin care treatments and my skin looked better than ever. I had basically been clogging my pores with the very products I thought were going to make me pretty. Whoops.
And guess who told me that I was putting too much on my face and I didn’t need all of those products? My grandmother. The same woman who only wore a touch of powder, blush, and lipstick and had beautiful skin in her eighties. You’d think I would have listened, but for some reason it was easier for me to listen to someone at a makeup counter who poked at all my little insecurities and convinced me how flawless I’d look if I just bought this…and this…and that…
So take some time to write about how those scenes made you feel and see if you’ve noticed anyone in your life making you feel less than pretty.
Read chapters 7-9 for next time. The previous sessions can be found here: www.krystenlindsay.com/reading-guide.html
Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.