Monday, June 25, 2012

What really is pretty?

I used to hate my nose.
I used to wish my parents could afford braces for me.
I used to think my arms were too hairy.
I used to think I needed big boobs.
I used to think my ears poked out a little too much.
I used to think my skin was embarrassing.
I used to cry about my stretch marks and post-baby saggy belly.
I used to think my calves were too skinny.

I thought there was more wrong with me than right. I thought about it a
whole lot.

Well, I
used to. Being pretty is the easiest route to validation. Superficial validation. Your chances of being accepted are inherently better. It just is.

But, the question is, whose validation do you seek?

If you are seeking validation from the men at the gym, the women at church, the neighbors, and the mothers at the school, you will find no satisfaction. You almost need to be prettier...
prettier than the rest. It's a daunting, impossible task, with very little reward. Sure, maybe you get a few cat-calls, jealous glances, and gobs of compliments. But, is that enough? Maybe for some, but not for me.

I have come to know there is more I want for myself. I don't want to spend my time and energy worrying about not fitting into society's mold of perfectly pretty. I definitely want to feel attractive to myself, but far above that...FAR ABOVE THAT, I want to be a beautiful person. You know, beautiful on the INSIDE.  And, to me, beauty is dictated by our priorities. I used to want to be pretty, more than a lot of things. But, then I grew up. 

Now, I want to feel good about who I am.
I want to be a good friend.
I want to be a great mother.
I want to inspire and teach others to live their best lives.
I want to be a good example. I want to serve others.
I want to constantly improve myself.

If I can do and be those things, I am beautiful.
  I have validated myself. I don't need to be pretty. I know that there is a purpose for me...big nose, crooked teeth, saggy belly, and all. I have come to realize that all my supposed flaws are what make me real, what make me human. Obsessing about them whittles away at my beauty, robs me of a happy life, and leaves me with very little to offer others.

Do those insecurities ever still creep up on me? Sure. But, I just give them a good smack in the face, and they take off mostly. Everything about me knows that I am more productive and appealing to myself, and others, when I'm just real. When my priorities are straight. And, there's something about feeling good about who you are inside, that makes you sorta...pretty.

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