NOTE: I wrote the below post, then came thiiiiiiis close to deleting it. I realized that nobody wanted to read this. And it might make people not like me. There, I said it. I do want to be liked. But then I remembered a poignant piece that Arnebya wrote THIS POST a couple of weeks ago about being too thin. And my first reaction had been a sarcastic "oh poor baby, too thin!", but then I read it and was moved by her very real problems. So I am going to publish this post about girls who are too beautiful. At this moment, I am actually shaking with embarrassment that I just typed that sentence. Because I don't want everyone to think that I consider myself to have ever been that. But this fear of mine is actually exactly what the post is about. And I know that many of you out there are parents of beautiful girls, and this might be helplful. So...here. I'm going to now go have a panic attack. Or a vodka. Please don't judge me.
Dear Beautiful Girls,
Ever since you were born, people have told you that you are beautiful. Parents, relatives, complete strangers at the supermarket have showered you with comments - "Isn't she a beauty!", "Aren't you the prettiest thing!", "So beautiful!", "You should be a model!". And the people who say these things are being kind. They are paying you a compliment.
What they don't realize is that every time they say this, you cringe inside. Because you don't think that you are beautiful. And you know in your heart that beauty has nothing to do with the way someone looks, that it is about what is on the inside. And you feel that no one sees or appreciates that part of you. You are also painfully aware that you didn't do anything to become beautiful, you were just born that way, it was genetics. And it's impossible to be proud of something that you did nothing to achieve. You want to be able to be proud of your inner beauty.
Every time someone tells you you are beautiful you answer "No, I'm not." You refuse to even say the word "beautiful" about yourself inside your head, because that's vain, that's hubris.
Because you are being judged on your looks, you start to judge yourself on your looks. You look at your pretty face and all you see are the flaws - a pimple, a slight asymmetry in your nose, your chin is too big, your lips too full. You are too tall, too thin, too gangly. You see a picture of yourself and all you can focus on is your terrible smile, or your ridiculous hair. You turn your back to mirrors so you're not forced to stare at your imperfect image. If you are forced to go out without makeup, you refuse to take off your sunglasses or floppy hat. You envy other girls who may not be "model-pretty" but are beautiful because they are confident or funny or stylish or smart.
Your beauty becomes something which defines you. You are "the pretty girl". You come to realize that people treat you differently because of your looks. You get more attention from men than other, plainer girls. It makes you mad, because it's unfair, and yet...you like getting the attention. And after a while, you start to expect it.
You know that when you walk into a room, people will turn to look at you. You are fairly sure that if there is something you want, flashing a smile and batting your eyes will help you get it. You don't like doing this, you know it's not right or fair, and yet...
But fear not, beautiful girl. A time will come when you will stop being seen as the beautiful girl, and you will finally be judged solely on what's inside. You will stop being the "beautiful" girl and start being the "handsome" woman. Or maybe the "still holding up pretty well" woman. And eventually, the "you should have seen her back then" woman.
And while you will certainly miss being young and hot, and being the one who everyone turned to look at when you entered the room, you will discover an amazing amount of freedom. You will be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say "Eh, not bad for an old broad." You will be able to go to the market in old sweats and no makeup and not worry about running into someone you know, because "what the hell".
Hopefully, during the time you were the beautiful girl, you will have worked on your inner beauty as well. So now that the outer has faded, the inner can take the spotlight.
So here is my advice to you...
- Look in the mirror and see your real self. Say "look at me, I am a beautiful girl. It's not all I am, but it is something I have going for me. It's a blessing."
- Develop a self-deprecating sense of humor. Nobody likes a pretty girl who takes herself too seriously.
- Read books.
- Stand up straight.
- Work on achievements which have nothing to do with how you look, but are purely about your intellect.
- Make good grades.
- Learn to cook.
- Do things for others.
- Make religion and/or spirituality an important part of your life.
- Girlfriends. Make lots of them. You will need them. They will love you no matter what you look like.
- Be silly. Be dorky. Be yourself.
- When you post a picture of yourself on Facebook because you think it's funny and stupid, but then people leave comments like "Gorgeous!" don't cringe with embarrassment and fear that people might think you posted that picture because you were fishing for compliments.
- When someone says "You look beautiful." answer "Thank you very much."
Okay, that's my advice for beautiful girls. Actually, I guess that's pretty good advice for all girls. Actually, I guess all girls are beautiful. They all just don't know it.
A "you should have seen her back then" woman
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