Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When Did Pretty Stop?


J and I were sitting at church, waiting for service to begin. A perky lady came over to introduce herself. She greeted us then said, “Well, aren’t you a pretty little thing!”  I looked over at J’s daughter, thinking she was talking to her. She was talking to me. Really? Me? Pretty?

I don’t know when it happened but I lost the concept of being pretty. In fact, I’m not sure if I ever knew what “pretty” really meant. When my twin sister and I were kids, I always thought I was the ugly twin, even though, clearly, we were identical. We would look in the mirror at our similarities and differences’; determining which one of us was pretty. I had dimples, Twin 2 didn’t. She had an awesome beauty mark, I didn’t. For a few years, (thanks to knocking my four front teeth out, at the age of 4), I was without teeth, while she had hers. I was the one that was gifted with bad eyesight so by age 8, I wore thick glasses (which resembled stop signs). I put them on as I got out of the car but the moment my mom drove away, they were tucked away in my pencil case.

Kids aren’t born seeing the beauty the way adults see beauty. I have lost count of the many times my daughters handed me a weed and said, “I brought you a pretty flower.”  The hand that was holding it out to me saw it as pretty.

My niece Mariah is gorgeous and cute at the same time. She's 16...the very age where most teens are identified by the clothes they wear and the styles they choose and the people they hang with. No matter how many times she is told she is pretty, she doesn't believe it. Her smile radiates across the room, yet, she wakes up in the morning and says, "Ewww, I'm so ugly! I'll never have a boyfriend." No matter what she is told, she still believes she isn't pretty.

I started thinking about the first time I realized ugly. It was when I was three years old. This boy pulled his eyelids down and rolled his eyeballs to scare me. He succeeded! Not only was he scary but at that moment, he was pee in my pants ugly!

The more I thought about this ugly vs. pretty thing...I wondered who held the deciding factor of what was pretty? What would happen if ugly was pretty and pretty was ugly? (Sorta like a Twilight Zone episode.) Would we, could we, start a trend? Could we change the world's view of what really is significant? Is it possible to see life through the eye of an artist or a photographer, viewing everything around us as magnificent?

I challenge you today to look for something that would be considered by typical standards as being ugly, and see it for what it is, pretty. What do you perceive differently now, after reading this blog post?

19 comments:

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Your post made me think of the actor Steve Buscemi. Not a handsome man, by today's standards. But he is so cool, who cares?

Shelly said...

This is a terrific post. I teach middle schoolers, and the idea of beauty they have is based on so many things they have no control over.

I will be looking for something today to perceive in a new way.

Mari said...

Good post! This culture pushes physical beauty and youth, and it's not the real beauty.
I think this is something we all need to be reminded of!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Great post....I never thought of myself as pretty even today but my hubby tells me I'm pretty all the time...sometimes I believe him. Thanks needed this reminder today to look beyond what you think you know.

Beau's Mom said...

I think the upside-down of pretty has already happened where humans are concerned. Skeletal remains are worshiped as the perfect size to be. Goth has been replaced by boob jobs for teenagers and "pretty" has lost its original definition. Only us old folks can still see it in another person who is actually beautiful from the inside out.

MissKris said...

I have a dear friend who is physically disabled because of a neurological disorder that has affected everything about her. Her speech is slurred, her motor abilities are so limited now. But one thing it hasn't robbed her of is her billion dollar smile. When she smiles it lights up the whole world. Now, THAT is beautiful!

Brian Miller said...

this is so true...and a really good exercise...being taught ugly, yes i think we are...and it is scary because it depends on who is teaching us...

Sweet Tea said...

I love your reference to the Twilight Zone episode - I remember it well. "Pee your pants ugly"? Not sure I've ever seen anything that ugly. LOL. I think young people think more about "pretty" than we older people do. When I think of pretty I think of flowers, a sunset, perhaps a dress, or well-decorated room...I will take your challenge though and look for beauty around me today.

Anita said...

I was watching GMA this morning and they had a feature on the "most beautiful woman" in the world; an 18 year old selected as a natural beauty. She was indeed attractive, however, I don't know that it would have crossed my mind if it was not advertised.

My 14 year old daughter was watching with me, and after the segment was over,I had to tell her that while the girl on TV is pretty, she is only one example of pretty; that I'll bet the judges were all of European backgrounds.

If children continue to buy into these images and sterotypes, where are we headed as a society?

I think everyone should appreciate their physical assets, however, it should not be the main emphasis. Your niece should get busy with sports, art, writing, etc. I know she's at "that" age, but help her to realize she's more than a face and a body.

As you can tell, this is a subject that I'm passionate about, but I'll stop here.

By the way, you are a pretty 'lil thing!

Nezzy said...

It's funny how we never see ourselves as others see us. They look as us callin' us pretty or beautiful but when we look in the mirror all we see are the flaws. Why is that???

We all need to look beyond the surface of others and look at the hearts, like Jesus does.

Wonderful post sweetie...it really touched me.

God bless and have an awesome day sweetie!!! :o)

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I started thinking about insects which I detest, and thought about their little markings and their purpose and I can see the beauty in that. But I guarantee that within 10 minutes I'll forget their beauty again and smack one dead. ;)

But I've see you, and you ARE beautiful!

"Auntie" sezzzzzz... said...

Oh sigh... Pretty... Ugly... All, in the eyes of the beholder. -sigh-

And how (especially) teens are so, so, so hard on themselves. -sigh-

Individuals... We are all individuals... Yes, even you and your twin. You had little differences. But sadly, you saw yourself as "less," because of these difference. Oh sigh....

We all remember those things-about-us, which we worried over, all by ourselves. If only we had voiced them, to a gentle adult! And had those worries, whisked away.

You write a lovely post, my Dear. I'm happy I happened on your blog.

Gentle hugs,
"Auntie"

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Good Morning Sweetie...
Oh how this share so touched my heart. People judge so harshly, and kids can be so cruel with words. Stings that we carry for the rest of our lives.

It has been 2 years now since I lost most of my speaking voice. People stare, and say horrible things both to my face and behind my back. No I do not have the most beautiful voice in the world, but God left me with a voice, and for that I am grateful. I do not see it as ugly anymore, it is beautiful to me, because it is mine.

If only people could read our hearts. That is what I love most about blogging. Here I have a voice, people can see me for who I am. I am not judged. Thank you for allowing me to call you friend.

Many hugs and much love, Sherry

Chatty Crone said...

I think of the man who danced on Dance With the Stars and he was a beautiful person to me. sandie

Lin said...

Oh, you know by now that I find beauty in the strangest of places--my frogs, caterpillars, praying mantis...

There is beauty in all things--we just have to find it. :)

But I agree--we are awfully hard on ourselves as women. Why do we do that? Why don't we believe it when someone calls us pretty? We need to change that thinking in ourselves to change our daughters.

Buckeroomama said...

I think once we have kids, all definitions of pretty and ugly get rearranged.

Reyna said...

Thank you for that post.

All my childhood I was the ugly one.

As the weed being a pretty flower, it is the Maker who sees us for the truly beautiful beings that He created.

It is beautifully written!

Veronica Lee said...

Love your post as always, Simone.

I see many pretty people who are ugly inside and 'ugly' ones whose beauty radiates from within.

Krispie said...

You know its taken me a long LONG time to see what real beauty is.. And it is not what we can see. It is in who and what you are. Beauty is only skin deep or all the way to the bone..

 

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