Friday, February 19, 2010

In Pursuit of Pretty

Lately, I have been hounded by the question "Is it important for a woman to FEEL beautiful?" Sounds like a simple question. Maybe it is to some, but beauty is something that has confused me for years. I feel like I'm the only girl in the world who is still dealing with this subject. Like I should have dealt with it at puberty. I don't think that the Bible has any opinions. So I feel lost. I don't feel pretty, but I have felt pretty sometimes.

Growing up and even into college, I was terrified that people would think I was trying to be pretty. As if I was trying to be something I wasn't. I wanted to be comfortable with the fact that I was not. I felt like a bit of a joke when dressing up. Again, it was like people would see through my facade and realize that I was just a plain or even unattractive girl being a try-hard.

My husband tells me daily that I am beautiful. I know he means it because if he doesn't say it with his mouth he says it with his eyes. And sometimes there's lust there, and sometimes it's just that he sees me as beautiful. He will say it in the morning and he will say it when he comes home from work. It doesn't really matter what I am wearing or how horrible my hair is or whether I have make-up on or not. One would think that would be enough.

But sometimes I still hear the boys in High school laughing at me for being ugly. I hear that boy in grade 8 say "she was ugly before... she's even uglier now" referring to a change in my hair color. I see that car of boys barking at me. And then I feel that maybe I don't have the right to feel pretty. I have never been "the pretty one" but the ugly friend, the side-kick, the funny girl.

Funny how, at 30, those voices are as loud as they ever were.

But, at 30, I think I should be over it. I have made 3 kids, a very womanly feat. I am symmetrical. My body functions mostly like it should. And I have a husband who thinks I am beautiful, and he sees me more than I do. So I have been wondering how important is it that I feel beautiful/sexy/pretty? Part of me thinks it may be worth the journey. Part of me doesn't want to try. I don't want to care. I want to just be a good person and allow that to satisfy. Some days it does, others I'm not a good person, or it doesn't make a difference.

I always look like me. I assume I always will. I'm just not sure when that will cease to be a disappointment.


Jen said...

You have shocked me with this post. From the moment I heard of you through Noo, I saw you as beautiful. Then when I did meet you after hearing many wonderful things about you, well I have to admit that I felt intimidated because to me you were one of the beautiful people. You are gorgeous and you radiated happiness with this lovely round pregnant belly(and correctly big, especially compared to mine at the time), your personality just shone through and it was beautiful :) . I felt intimidated because I have never fit in with the beautiful people, and always feel as though I am a fumbling fool amongst them, just waiting for them to tease, taunt or completely humiliate me (high school angst much?) I am certainly not one of them. I do not mean by that that I expected YOU to do any of those things to me, I mean that you are beautiful both inside and out and until this moment I thought that you had always been one of the beautiful, popular crowd in school and beyond, I cannot picture the alternative that you have talked about here.

I have people say lovely things to me, especially lately while reading some of my blog posts and I think, really? that's what you see? I am my own worse critic and expect everyday to wake up to a negative comment or all the followers to have disapeared, because why would they want to read what I have to say? But they don't see me as I see me. I'm taking a guess that others do not see you as you see you either :) I certainly don't.

What you wrote about how your husband sees you was lovely :) .

I totally understand your last sentence and I also wonder that (for me)

claire said...

erika, from the moment i met you, and even now,and i havent seen you in years, i was arrested by your loveliness of face and spirit. all i can remember thinking is...not many of them left for our boys. it is the misfortune of the daughters of eve, that we should forever doubt ourselves. but beauty should be compared to skin of a fruit,a pomegranet. lovely, smooth, soft, appealing it should serve only to to be appealing so that what is INSIDE can be experienced,tasted, enjoyed, shared. no one eats the skin,we desire the contents.there is where our pride of self must lie. and the bible says much about that,and erika,you are beautiful

Lian said...

This is really well written, Erk. You really gave me a sense of what you're feeling. I'm not sure how I feel about that - smart and're really not the hot-stuff trophy wife I thought you were...


Lian said...

Jen, I couldn't help but laugh at your post. I suppose we only ever see ourselves in mirrors which could be good or bad reflections. We can only form our idea of what we look like by others responses.

Thanks Claire. I want to "BE" beautiful so much more than I want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes my insecurity about my "pomegranate" skin limits me in the choices I make. It makes me crazy! I wish I didn't think about it at all!

Nicole said...

We women are constantly reassuring ourselves with the likes of- 'within every face there is something beautiful' and 'true beauty lies within'. I get a bit annoyed with this...

Some people are smart, others aren't. Some are funny, some not so. Some people have many talents, others have none. Why should 'beauty' be any different. Some people are beautiful, and some people are plain. Some, dare I say it, are downright unattractive.
Let's all just move on - to things that are actually important and worth the depletion of emotional resources.

I'm a big fan of yours, Erika. I like your straight talking. I like your strong opinions. I'd much rather read a post on what it is you love about yourself.