Let me start with what this is NOT: This is not a fishing expedition. I don’t want compliments, mostly because compliments make it worse. I have never taken compliments well. Here’s what it is, it’s a recognition that you might have dealt with something like this, and what I’ve discovered might help.
I grew up thinking I was ugly. No, let me rephrase, I grew up KNOWING I was unattractive. I know now that I was never ugly, and the way I know that is that Mia, my beautiful, long-haired, gap-toothed, pidgeon-toed daughter, is my mini-me. There’s no question that she looks just like me, and she is gorgeous, so I must never have been homely. But, to my mind, ugly coated me head-to-foot like green slime.
It wasn’t just a fancy of my imagination. I heard it from someone very close to me. He made fun of my over-pointed nose, called me “Banana Beak” and said I should have to wear a bag over my head. That reinforced my media-fueled perceptions that I didn’t measure up. My first kiss was from a boy who was dared to kiss the “ugliest girl in class.” At least, that’s what he and his friends told me. More ugly green slime.
By the time someone else started telling me I was pretty, I had grown accustomed to denying or explaining away beauty. Compliments like “You look pretty today” received the “Oh, I got a new dress” or “You should see my sister, she got her hair cut…” I couldn’t thank them, because I assumed they bestowed those compliments out of duty or obligation, or, worst of all…. malice.
I thought they were joking with me, sarcastically commending me on something I most obviously DID NOT possess.
Every morning, I fight ugly in the mirror. I fight the image I’d created for myself because I listened to other people to find my physical worth.
Time didn’t help, lines appear on my face, around the eyes and mouth; I find infernal gray hairs every few days. Having children did not help, gaining and losing so much weight so quickly has left my stomach looking like a road map or bowl of oatmeal, depending on which way I stand (and now I’ve just guaranteed I will never attract a man through my blog – lol).
I do battle with ugly. My best weapon? Remembering that God put me together and formed my features. Bright olive-green eyes. Nice cheekbones. Graceful neck. He even threw in a beauty mark! (I always thought that ironic, before).
So, God created man in his own image. In the image of God he created them, male and female. – Genesis 1:27
My creator is beautiful. I am a reflection of his image. My daughter is a reflection of that same image and a reflection of me. I am not ugly. I am beautiful. That reminder will be posted on my mirror.
Today, I’m posting a picture of me. No make-up, no hair fixing (not even a shower yet!) because I’m happy to say this is the image of my maker.
Have you ever struggled with false perceptions of your beauty? What is your best feature?