Yesterday I went to a wedding as someone’s date and as I looked at the dress I had for the wedding – a teal tea length dress with purple and blue butterflies on it – I couldn’t help but despair. I couldn’t help but be embarrassed by myself, by my too bright hair and my freckles and my curves. That mood was carried with me most of the morning. Thoughts that often float in the back of my mind were at the forefront of it.
I’m not telling you this because I want compliments, I’m telling you this because that’s a dialogue that most females walk around with in their mind. We’re taught that we need to look a certain way to be any sort of attractive. We’re taught that we need to blend in to stand out as beautiful (let’s think through how stupid that is sometime, yeah?), and we’re conditioned to believe that even when we feel comfortable in our skin, it’s in spite of our imperfections, not because we’re actually beautiful.
We go to the gym to make ourselves smaller, for fear of being fat.
We wear make-up to hide the pores and wrinkles on our face, even though those wrinkles could be from laughing, which is such a beautiful thing.
We do our very best to blend in, and we try so hard to fit into what it is that others demand of us, but the thing is… we’ll never be enough for their demands. We’ll never be what is asked of us, because the one who made us created us with beautiful differences – differences in personality and style that shape so much of how we look.
And so you and I, we’re different. We each have marks that make us who we are. Some of them we’re both with – like the birthmark on my chin and the freckles that are littered all over me, including a smiley face on my left forearm. Some of them we create on ourselves as an expression of who are are – ‘love’ tattooed on my arm, and hair that I decided I wanted after wrapping a My Little Pony at Christmas time. You have your own marks, too.
“There’s beauty and grace in the flaws of your face
All candor and style in the crook of your smile
There’s beauty and grace in the flaws of your face
All candor and style.”
You – and dare I admit it, me – are pretty. We’re pretty brave. We’re pretty strong. We’re pretty bold. We’re pretty smart. We’re pretty beautiful. Maybe one day that will be what we tell each other and tell ourselves, instead of this self-condemnation we so often live with.