There are times when everything to be done just seems like too much, an impossible feat. It is at times like these that a sort of purge becomes necessary. That purge, for me, comes in the form of a makeover. The immense relief felt at changing even the smallest detail of my appearance somehow makes it possible to accomplish what I thought I could not. From superficial to deeply emotional, makeovers change people, often providing the boost needed to make it over that first or final hurdle to accomplishment.
Television has taken advantage of this necessity. There are even entire shows devoted to makeovers. TLC’s What Not to Wear makes over not only hair and makeup, but also entire wardrobes. Women often describe themselves as being “stuck in a fashion rut,” that overwhelming feeling when they just don’t know where to even begin to transform their wardrobe. Their purge is in the hosts’ throwing away all of their clothing. Though unwilling at first to accept certain changes, the men and women receiving makeovers usually end the show with their praises and promises to feel better about themselves.
There are also shows that take physical makeovers to a new level. The Swan and Extreme Makeover give participants plastic surgery to completely transform their appearances. The Swan has a beauty pageant at the end for all of the women who took part in the makeovers. Contestants walk down a runway in full evening wear brimming with self confidence they had lacked for years. Though extreme, every man and woman on Extreme Makeover and The Swan felt they were due for a change, and experience a mental transformation along with their physical. Suddenly they are happy with their lives again.
Home and Garden Television has devoted itself entirely to makeovers, not of people, but of houses. Just as comforting as a new personal look is a new look for one’s home. Whether the makeover is for personal pleasure or to sell a house, the effect is the same. Change is necessary in every aspect of life. The task of redecorating, though sometimes overwhelming, brings joy to homeowners, much like new looks bring joy to men and women everywhere.
Makeovers are not reserved just for television. My own extreme makeovers happen at least once a year. Obviously plastic surgery would be a little excessive that often, so I go under a different sort of knife. I cut my hair. Not just a trim, that’s not enough. I cut off whole inches, or rather, I have someone do it for me. The feeling of giving over control of something reduces stress. I emerge from a hair salon a changed woman from just an hour before. I am suddenly able to take on any task with ease; it’s like I have a new identity. This new confident woman with short hair can do anything, even rock super short hair that takes longer than her old hair to fix perfectly.
My mother, too, loves a good makeover. She, however, doesn’t settle for any old haircut or makeup change. She makes over entire rooms. My childhood was spent painting the kitchen at least once a year. I’ve seen apple green, barn red, Shaker blue, and her current pick, white. While some might call this indecisiveness on her part, I disagree. She’s really very decisive. She knows when a change is needed, so she makes it. And she plots, not plans really, but schemes how best to beat away the boring, that which does not add excitement to her home. Sneakily, she’ll change first one small piece of furniture or painting. Then suddenly she attacks! Paintbrush in hand, she defeats her nemesis, the mundane. She enlists the help of her soldiers, her children, and together they’ve kept their enemy at bay.
Governments need makeovers, too. Throughout history, there have been some very bloody makeovers. The leaders of the American Revolution decided it was time for a change from British rule. So they changed their government from one across an ocean to one a little closer to home. The French, so focused on outward appearance, gave not only the government a makeover, but their old monarchs received them too. Though not generally agreed to be the best look Marie Antoinette sported, the guillotine certainly changed her appearance. So whether by revolution or election, leadership is given a makeover on a regular basis.
We come by this love of makeovers honestly. After all, even Mother Nature loves a makeover. After an icky, gray, cold, winter, she loves to surprise us all with bursts of color everywhere. Brown trees suddenly bloom with white pear blossoms, which then fall and leave beautiful green leaves to enjoy all summer. The bare ground is full of yellow and white jonquils, then pink and purple tulips, and little red flowers. It’s a new look that comes every year, yet we never tire of it.
A haircut, a new wardrobe, a new color on the walls, a new government; all mirror nature’s own makeover. It’s a reassurance that, no matter how dark and gray our lives may seem, we too can have bursts of color and life again.