I saw a photo of some little girls on social media the other day, all dressed up for Easter Sunday.
They had on little hats and gloves, and white patent leather shoes.
When you’re a little girl, and you get all dressed up for Easter Sunday or some other occasion, you hear people say, “Aw. Isn’t she pretty?!”
Most little girls heard that. I don’t remember ever hearing it. People complimented my hair, but no one ever told me I was pretty. That stung. And it stuck.
I have pretty much felt like the ugly step-sister my whole life. I’m the one they describe as having a good personality, but they fail to mention my looks. I always felt this was with good reason.
But now that I’m in my 50s, I have decided that I just don’t care if someone doesn’t like the way I look. I don’t look like the chicks on the magazine covers. Never have, never will. And I’m OK with that.
I’ve actually been OK with this for a few years now. At some point, I decided that I like me, I’m OK with what I look like, and I just don’t give a flying fig if you don’t like the way I look, act, dress, talk, etc. As long as I make God happy, I’ll be happy. I do not, repeat, do not have to make you happy.
Here’s what I have learned about beauty over the years:
• In my childhood, I looked at other girls who had perfect, straight blonde hair and tans, and then back at my wild, curly red hair and pale skin, and I felt ugly. The fact that I was told this by other kids didn’t help. I believed them. So I spent my childhood believing I had no beauty. It was everywhere but on me.
• In my teens, I began to really develop my personality, and my sense of humor. I thought that this was where my beauty lay. I could make people laugh.
• In my 20s, I learned to forget the rules. Just because I didn’t have straight hair, it didn’t mean I was ugly. I learned to like my freckles. I started to develop my own sense of taste about everything – clothes, shoes, decor, friendships and romance. I also learned that there is so much more to me than the way I look. I am a total package. And I began to understand that those who didn’t get that didn’t deserve to be a part of my life.
• In my 30s, I began to more closely examine what I do have, looks-wise, and embrace it. I have freckles and fair skin. I like them. I have curly red hair. It’s part of who I am, and I like it. I learned that how I feel has very little to do with how I look. I learned that I am attractive, not because of what I look like, but because of what I bring to the table.
• In my 40s, I realized that I was too old to be a young fool, yet too young for Depends. I learned that I’m not perfect, but I’m a pretty cool chick. I learned to not stare into the magnified side of my makeup mirror for too long, but when I do look there, to embrace and appreciate what I find. Each wrinkle I discover is part of me – part of a roadmap of my life. When I closely examine my face, I see that I have had a lot of joy in my life. And I now love my crazy curly red hair.
• In my 50s, I find that I am fabulous. I know I don’t look like I did 20 years ago, but I’m OK with that. I wouldn’t want to. I want to look like me…now. I want to look like I have lived a life full of joy and awesomeness. I don’t regret the fun, so I won’t regret the wrinkles. I plan to keep my sense of humor, and I plan to laugh at how my face and my body shifts around as I age. Might as well laugh. It’s better than crying. I have fully embraced the fact that looks can hide beauty. I am fully immersed in continuing to develop my compassion, strength and faith.
As for the future, I’m not sure. I’d like to think that I’ll continue on this same path. I may never be considered “pretty” by other people’s standards, but I don’t really care about their standards. By my own, I am working each day of my life to be the best me I can. And that makes me feel wonderful.
And I do plan on still having crazy red hair when I’m 95.