I read this book once called “Unpretty” and it was about this underground society that worshiped famous artists, committed a lot of terrorist acts and used a lot of drugs.
I don’t know.
But on the cover it had this picture of this beautiful girls face and then the title Unpretty on it.
Anytime I would get down on myself after that, I would think of that word.
In the last couple months I have been noticing this sort of…movement? Over and Over I am hearing things that sort of sound like this:
(There is a song there if you are reading this in an email. You can listen to it here.)
These sort of things make me feel conflicted. These songs and videos that promote inner beauty and pushing off the opinions of the world.
Now, on the one hand they make me feel very happy. As a woman who was raised in the LDS church, I’ve always been taught that I was a daughter of God. I had a Divine Nature, Individual Worth.
Many times in the scriptures it talks about how Heavenly Father cherishes women and he protects them as his beautiful daughters.
I feel that.
I care about women and I feel that we truly are cherished by God.
But that is an objective view, isn’t it?
When I was 11 years old, I remember my father taking me aside one day to have a serious discussion with me.
He told me that I needed to reach out to my cousin who I spent a lot of time babysitting for and have her teach me how to use make-up.
He told me that my mother and my older sister get dressed up and look so pretty and then there was me and it can be embarrassing sometimes.
So, what did I do?
I went to my cousin and she gave me tips on make-up. And I have worn make-up ever since.
But it hurt.
I remember a few years ago bringing this conversation up (which my father now doesn’t remember) to my mother. She told me “Well, yeah! You wanted to be some granola girl who never wears make-up and doesn’t shave. It was unattractive.”
When I was twenty years old (so only two years ago) the discussion was brought up about dating and I remember someone very close to me saying “Look Corrie, you’ve worked in Marketing. You know how the world works. You can have the most delicious candy bar in the whole world, but if it has an ugly wrapper, no one is going to buy it.”
Now, life is full of insults and ugly words. Stick and stones can break your bones and whatnot.
But there are a few things that get said to you that over time they just never go away. Especially when they come from a source you are meant to trust and be protected by.
If the people who love you most are saying that, what are strangers thinking?
I’m older now and when you are in your twenties and molding who you are, a few months can mean you’ve changed dramatically.
So, I really am older. I’ve taken the time to realize that women are beautiful. To stop seeing other women as a threat and be able to compliment them without jealousy. (This is an actual problem.)
But those rules never truly apply to me.
I mean, if I am being totally honest here, the reason I feel I don’t have a boyfriend is honest to goodness because of my looks. My weight particularly.
If I could just lose a little more weight, maybe men would notice me.
If I was a little skinnier, I would have a boyfriend. Like magic.
That’s my number one problem in life.
Because you can’t see if there is a golden ticket until you take the time to open up the wrapper.
You know, last night I took this picture:
This was before I started thinking about this post and I was just looking at my face in the middle of taking off my make-up and I thought: “It doesn’t look that different.” on the left side or the right.
But it’s still difficult to apply those concepts of inner beauty and acceptance to yourself.
And even moreso, I have yet to hear a man sing a song like that.
But I am willing to try it.
So, how do I look exactly when I wake up, if we aren’t trying:
Literally. That’s what I wear to bed. Took that this morning.
That’s me at my most basic.
But in my head it’s not like if I go around like that I will be turning heads.
So, maybe some make-up?
Maybe if I put my prettiest dress 0n?
Now, objectively hours (and years later) how could someone not find that girl beautiful?
But standing in that girls shoes this morning or a few years ago…Unpretty.
In a lot of ways I feel like I have been ruined. I already live in a skin that makes me uncomfortable and I don’t view as being the ideal for anyone.
This is something that has been told to me for years and been in my mind for years.
This movement that women and girls should feel beautiful always is an excellent one, but it’s almost too late for me.
I do have to try.
But I don’t want it to be this way.
I don’t want any other person to feel that way ever. No one deserves that.
So, what really is there?
Obviously I work on my self-esteem sometimes. That’s not what I was getting at. I am simply saying that it is difficult to see yourself the way that others do or even yourself later on.
I don’t really know how I want to end this, as it may have seemed like I really don’t like myself. Which isn’t the case.
I just simply feel that one of my bigger problems in life is my weight.
Here is all I know and all I can think of when I listen to songs like this: If I ever have a daughter, she will be told she is beautiful all the time.
I will be the first person down at her school to fight with her bullies or at least her principle. I will always be on her side and even though I know that she will have to live in a world that will tell her ugly words, I will try my best to not let those ugly words come from me.
Because someone needs to be on her side and lifting her up to know that she can be beautiful without trying.
You can’t see me shrug.Follow @corriekartchner