We may be too young, too old, single, married, divorced, uninterested, obsessive, or otherwise. Yet at the core of every woman, of any background and any social standing – is this desire to be beautiful.
And not just be it, but have others notice the radiance we exude.
Surely, we tell our friends not to compare themselves to other women or to judge our own beauty by the luck of looks some seem to have. We convince ourselves that flaws are what make a person, not break them. That without imperfections, we would all be signed up for the cover of Vogue or to grace Lincoln Center’s runways. We remind ourselves that everyone is truly gorgeous in their own right, and one day, we’ll find someone who simply can’t take his eyes off of us because he is so captivated.
But it’s not easy.
I’m constantly analyzing my life and my ideas toward it – but more than that, I nit-pick the reflection I see. I see the acne. I notice the scars leftover from zits that were. I notice the slight forehead wrinkles I kindly blame on writing. I try to hide my imperfect teeth. I wish my hair would grow longer or decide to be curly or straight, not an unpredictable wavy somewhere in between. I squeeze the love handles I’ve never loved. I wonder why I can’t get rid of cellulite on the back of my thighs, even though I’ve ran nearly everyday for several years. I make a plea to make me grow just a few inches taller than my 5’4” self.
But, I remind myself I’m a pretty woman (I even have the song to keep my spirits up when they start to fall). However, believing I’m beautiful – that my appearance turns heads on the streets – is one of my greatest struggles. New York isn’t a breeding ground for beauty; there are knock-outs everywhere – but I always find myself encountering women I don’t feel I measure up to. By the standard of attractiveness, anyways.
Not to mention, in my overly idealist notions about how a man should feel about me, view me, and speak to me, I’ve always thought any guy I would end up with or date seriously would have to find me absolutely beautiful. If not, why would he be with me? Doesn’t a man want to end up with the most attractive woman he’s ever met?
A while ago, after an intense and passionate romp with a man I loved, I laid wrapped up in our joint perspiration and the simple silence that follows ecstasy. He grazed and kissed the top of my head and the ends of my fingertips as he asked, “You know what I love the most about you?” Dazed but far from confused, I mumbled to him in a state between warmth and sleep. He whispered: “I love that I don’t have to look at you to know you’re beautiful.”
In that moment, his sentiments matched the energy I was emerged in, and I didn’t question how he arrived at this perspective toward me. However, my inquiring mind asked him the next morning, over omelets and orange juice, what he meant.
“Well, Linds. I’ll be honest with you. When I first met you, I didn’t find you that attractive. Not that you weren’t pretty, just not the typical girl I go after. Just by your looks on that day, I wouldn’t have approached you at a bar. It wasn’t love at first sight, or even lust. But what I love about you is that I fell for you – what you say, who you are, what you write. And the longer I’ve known you, the more gorgeous you’ve become. I don’t know how we got here, but we wouldn’t have without you, just being you. Has nothing to do with your body, your eyes, or anything. It’s just you.”
At first, I was highly offended that he didn’t find me outlandishly breathtaking. In remembering the way we met – something right out of a movie – I thought I was looking quite alluring. I even recalled the tight summer dress and heels I picked out that day. But no, he wasn’t impressed. I couldn’t believe that this man I was dating, who I had shared my most intimate self with, didn’t view me lovely from second one.
And then, I thought about it. It’s actually quite the compliment. Without peering at a face of perfection or a body that’s free of lumps – he saw through to the real me. To the me that no one knows when they first meet me, see a picture, or catch my eye. To a me that acts without hesitation, that displays my everything, without making excuses. He wasn’t blinded by my beauty, but blind sighted by me.
So maybe the trick to feeling beautiful is not putting on more makeup or telling yourself you are lovely, no matter the off-the-charts women you cross. But rather, reminding yourself of those things that make you, you. And not physical characteristics, but character traits. Maybe it’s silly to stand in front of a mirror and say, “You’re funny. Really. I mean, people are always laughing around you” or “You give so much to everyone and they do appreciate it. Your charm is not something someone can describe,” – but think about the smile that’ll rise inside of you to admit your positives.
Perhaps beautiful isn’t so much an adjective as it is a state of mind or a place of acceptance. Maybe it is a destination. To be beautiful, to really feel every affirmative connation that comes with the word – you have to internalize it. Without a man, without reassurance from others, without strangers drooling over you, without comparing yourself to every woman you meet.
And especially, without your eyes open.
PS: Jennifer from Cincinnati, OH completed Love Addict’s survey and won a fabulous glass from Lolita and perfume set fromPacifica. Love Addict will be doing another giveaway soon, so make sure to take the survey for your chance to win! Congrats Jen and thanks for reading!