The Glow Up


Every time I sat down to write about The Glow Up, I felt inadequate. Like, I hadn’t glowed-up enough.


A Glow Up, if we are to believe popular culture, is when one transforms into a better version of themselves. Ask Mary J. Blige!

A Glow Up is imperative after a major setback. Stella got her Groove back. She-Devil avenged herself against cheating Ed Begley Jr.


Is a true Glow Up even possible, though? In order to Glow UP, once must first have been DOWN. A reinvention of the self must take into account the past, which cannot ignore the harsh and painful realities from which you are attempting to Glow. For that matter, can a Glow Up even exist without showing the contrast to that which you are Glowing Up From??? The “After,” without the context of the “Before,” is just a pretty picture. Nice, but, who cares? But side-by-side with the struggle is where the Glow Up really shines. Pardon, I mean, GLOWS.


I feel like, at the stage of life I’m in right now, everyone who knows me, sees me as the “Before” picture. Hi, I love you all, but don’t think I don’t know you pity me right now. Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate the kid gloves, but every time you go out of your way to be nice to me, it’s another reminder that I am the Walking Wounded. Oh, did I say “STOP”? Nah, just kiddin’, it’s ok. But every time I see that look of panic in someone’s eyes as they almost slip and mention something that might kick off a crying jag in me, I remember: “Oh. I’m pathetic.”

And how do I stop being sized up with watery eyes, awaiting my inevitable breakdown?


I gotta GLOW UP, friends!


Yeah, so, I’ve been basically working overtime to Glow Up, at least, on a surface level, to show my family and friends and coworkers that Really, I’m Fine, or at least fine enough to be normal again. I mean, how long must I wear this shroud of black mourning? It’s weighing heavily on me now, and I’m dying to tear it away, but according to the rules of Glow Up, I must only do so when I can reveal a stunning surprise of sequins underneath. Ta-Da! You thought was downtrodden — heckin’ BAMBOOZLED! Was fabulous! And….scene! That’s a successful Glow Up, kids!


But I’m growing skeptical of the Glow Up, which implies a flip of a switch from “crap” to “CRAYMAZING!!” It feels…dishonest. Like, those weight loss commercials where actors hold up giant photos of themselves in dowdy clothing and unflattering hairdos, ostensibly to show the “change” in their appearance. “That was me, before NutriSystem…And THIS is me now!” Girl, you look exactly the same, you’re just telling yourself you’re different. The same goes with the Glow Up. Can I actually, sincerely, arbitrarily decide that I have emerged from my chrysalis somehow “new and improved”? No, no, no! Healing is a process. Can I even pretend I’m over shit that happened years ago? Of course not. It’s a part of me. Like, as if a Breakup Haircut will solve all my problems. Look! A statement bob! I’m so clearly over all my trust issues and low self-esteem, wow! Girl, bye.


The Glow Up, which might serve as superficial signaling to the world that I’m all good now, really, I promise, would only be a lie that floats on the surface. You can’t wipe the slate clean with a makeover and a new wardrobe. Life is like a box of chocolates, and we can’t just pretend some of them didn’t have walnuts in them (ew, walnuts). I sincerely doubt there will come a day when I wake up, stretch my arms over my head like they do in the movies, and realize that I have finally transcended all of my bullshit, and thereby, GLOW UP.


So I guess this is my statement for everyone waiting on that Glow Up: It’s not going to happen. Not “glowing” to happen? Sincerely. I’m just getting back on my feet, I can’t take on the added pressure of emerging new and victorious to prove some kind of point. I’m just trying to glow with the flow, and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.



UPDATE:  I told my therapist all this, and she looked at me and said: “That’s it. You moved out, and you’re living your life. You glowed up.” SO! That’s settled.


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