SOCIAL MEDIA

Sunday, May 31, 2020

I FEEL PRETTY


 

Last week I watched I feel pretty, a romantic comedy about an insecure woman who suffers a head injury, which causes her to see herself as she always wished to be; beautiful. While the film was indeed funny it was also heartbreaking. In one of the early scenes, Renee, the protagonist undresses in front of the mirror, wearing only spanks she considers herself. Minutes later she walks away defeated and forlorn.

 

I didn’t know I was crying until a tear rolled down my cheek onto my hand, how many times had I done the same exact thing? How many times had I stood in front of a mirror searching for my flaws refusing to look elsewhere until I’d numbered them each? How many times had I asked myself, am I pretty?

 

“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you (Song of songs 4 vs. 7).”

 

It’s no secret everyone loves beautiful things people included. It doesn’t hurt a male to be handsome but I’d argue a man’s attractiveness is less imperative to their perceived value in society than a woman’s. As women, teens, and young girls we constantly battle the idea of self worth being tied to our beauty. In this age of vanity featuring hourly selfies, Instagram models, follows, and likes level of attractiveness feels like our only identifier. But you, my sister in Christ, are more beautiful than what your mirror is capable of reflecting.

 

One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do is love myself, I’ll let you in on a secret, sometimes, I feel like I’m still learning to do so. Like most young girls whenever I looked at my reflection I was dissatisfied, I didn’t see the prettiness I was told is there, all I saw was my nose that I wish was smaller and straighter plus everything else that wasn’t quite right. I hated mirrors; in fact from the age of thirteen to sixteen I did my best to avoid them. I remember working retail in a shop with multiple floor length glasses and doing my best not to look into any. It was a difficult coup but I learned to look past my face and only at my hair (something else I hated). Then something life changing happened, I grew out of my awkward phase.

 

I blossomed, seemingly overnight and boys noticed. Guys vied for my attention, my affections and it felt gratifying. In my eyes I looked exactly the same but it no longer mattered that I didn’t feel pretty everyone else thought so. I began flaunting a confidence I didn’t feel, completely borne of the superficial compliments I was receiving. I, who hated mirrors became, addicted to them checking my reflection in every reflective surface I past. But like any glass house my confidence shattered with the throwing of a stone. If I didn’t get the same amount of compliments on any given day as the day before I would question how beautiful I actually am.

 

I became consumed with my looks: shopping all the time, living in heels, and practically starving myself to maintain my size zero body, which I also hated. I loved the attention I was getting. I always had someone in my back pocket, someone willing to do anything to get close to me but I had no intention of ever dating. Whenever I was in of an ego boast my I’d call them up. Back then, I would often say, “I’m not involved with anyone, now the number of people thinking they’re involved with me is a different story.” Literally, all I cared about was being beautiful so much so I leveled my self-respect against that desire.

 

During my sophomore year in college I took a summer course in an old mostly non air-conditioned building. Feeling hot and sticky I got on the elevator hoping for a brief reprieve from the heat. From the moment I walked on I was greeted with uncomfortable stares. Standing in mixed company of students, professors, and maintenance workers I subconsciously tugged at my too short shorts. The janitor must have felt my discomfort because in a booming voice he said, “everyone, stop looking at the young lady.” Usually I enjoy being admired but I didn’t then, in that moment I realized I wasn’t being complimented I was being chided. Daisy dukes, a tank top, and heels didn’t exactly tell the fullness of who I am. But it did say something very important, “she’s desperate for attention.”

 

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy woman of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful (1 Peter 3 vs. 3-5).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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