Saturday, November 19, 2011

Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful

I've never been in a fist fight. Though I have been invited to participate in a few, mostly in high school, I politely declined, offering to allow my male friends and neighbors to take my place.

What was the impetus for these invitations? It usually started something like this: "Look at her. She think she's cute. Always wearin' a ponytail." Yes, I had long hair, generally attributed to my DNA. And for style and function, it was often in a ponytail. And for that reason, a number of girls who did not have the same genetic, stylistic, or functional option would invite me to get off on a particular bus-stop or meet them in the chorus room. Without any scientific evidence, I would imagine that the majority of female-centered altercations begin in a similar manner.

At a young age, I came to understand that such invitations actually were not about me, but instead about the other girl's battles with her own self image. At my more advanced age, I now understand that, unfortunately, some women haven't moved past that battle with their own self image.

Keri Hilson's "Pretty Girl Rock" should be a regular feature on our internal soundtrack, ready to play whenever someone looks us up and down and rolls their eyes. (Girls, you know the look.) I don't think you should be conceited, in fact, I've never identified myself as "beautiful" in any serious way. But I'm confident enough that on a good day, with the perfect level of humidity, just the right shade of lipstick, and a good pair of shoes, I actually think I look kinda nice. Shouldn't every woman be at least that confident? We should all be secure about our beauty, our strengths, our identity so that we do not have to resort to ugliness towards others.

In saying "don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful", it's actually "don't hate me 'cause you don't think you are beautiful". It's the realization that the rolled eyes have nothing to do with the me, but with the other person.

I try to instill a love for self in all my children, but I especially encourage my daughters to love their curly hair, their too long legs, their braced teeth. I know that at some point in their lives, there will be some girl who invites them to get off the bus. When that moment comes, they need to love themselves enough to decline the offer and save their beautiful selves for an invitation to something more fun.

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