I wish I was beautiful. Breathtaking, traffic stopping, can-I-buy-you-a-drink beautiful. Not that I really go to bars and get drinks, but sending over a Diet Coke in a friendly dining establishment would work, too.
I’m not hideous or anything. I’m just, you know, me–freckles, flaws and all. The last time I stopped traffic, it was because I was crossing the street when the “Do Not Walk” sign was flashing (almost got run over, too) and the last time anyone honked at me was because I didn’t make a right turn on red due to the “Do Not Turn On Red” sign plastered to the traffic pole.
I may have felt beautiful once or twice. I definitely felt gorgeous when I want to the Winter Semi-Formal Dance my junior year in college. I had a great date, who bought me a beautiful wrist corsage, drove me in his BMW, and treated me like a lady. I asked him to go with me as a friend since I went to an all-women’s college. I mean, I could have waited for one of my classmates to ask me, but I don’t swing that way, though many of them did. It definitely freaked out my date to see girls dancing with girls cheek-to-cheek.
Sometimes I look back at pictures where I think I should have felt beautiful, and I just didn’t. A couple of times, I look at a picture of myself, usually one that’s not posed and unexpected and I think, just maybe, I’m beautiful. Or at least I can flicker within moments of beauty if the light hits me just right.
I’m trying to get over myself. I mean, does it really matter? I’ve listened to “Piece of Glass” by Caedmon’s Call (“Who are you that lies when you stare at my face, Telling me that I’m just a trace, Of the person I once was, Are you telling the truth or a lie, On you I just can’t rely, After all you’re just a piece of glass”) and “Beautiful You” (Beautiful you, all of the time, Jesus in you makes you shine, Beautiful You, Beautiful You) by Considering Lily so much, I could do a mean karaoke version of those tunes should the occasion ever arise. I’ve read Captivating, Falling In Love with Jesus, and a slew of other books that talk about biblical femininity and beauty, and yet I sigh when I look at the pictures of the authors on their bio page. They’re all beautiful.
Someone once told me that a woman at peace with herself is truly beautiful. My friend, Shannon, is like that. In her 50’s, she has piercing blue eyes, long flowing hair that’s brown highlighted in natural grays, and she’s tall and slender. Shannon is also one of the wisest, godliest women I have ever met. Whenever she talks, I want to soak up her words and etch them into my memory.
I spent time with her on her boat (Pacific Catalyst II) in October along with her husband and some friends and had many chances to seize upon her sagely wisdom. Shannon told me that she isn’t flirty and doesn’t use her feminine mystique to manipulate men. That’s how she’s earned respect in church circles, which largely remain a man’s world. The thing about Shannon is that she has no idea how dazzlingly beautiful she is.
I’ve noticed that a lot of truly beautiful people, ones who enchant me, don’t realize their true beauty. They just bounce through life like me, looking in the mirror, and singing the chorus to “Reflection” from Mulan. “Who is that girl I see, Staring straight back at me, When will my reflection show, Who I am inside” (see Mulan clip below).
I believe that all girls long to be beautiful. But even more they long to be beautiful on the inside and valued for their thoughts, gifts and talents. Yet a beautiful girl with amazing gifts and talents seems to get a leg up in the world of love and dating. Ordinary or even less-than-ideal girls only have personality to gauge the attention of the wandering male eye.
I wonder if I was really, really beautiful would I be married by now? Sometimes I think that what I perceive as my lack of physical beauty has held me back. Or that guys are just so repulsed by me they wouldn’t dare think of pursuing anything more than a friendship with me. I also ponder if I was a guy, then would I be married? Guys can be pretty unattractive and still hook up with a nice girl, who is usually easy on the eyes.
I’ve come to falsely believe the problem of my existence is that I’m not beautiful. True, beauty comes with its own problems. Beauty invites, and anything less than beautiful isn’t quite as inviting.
I know I should see myself as gorgeous because I was created in the image of God, but at the same time, it’s hard to think that way. It’s unnatural to women, I believe, because of the Fall. We lost the idea that we are beautiful and captivating. We don’t see that we are the image of God’s beauty, and in fact, we are often treated as being less than human by men throughout history and in some countries in the world today.
Besides, it’s not like Christian guys are any different. They all say they want a Proverbs 31 woman, yet many can’t even describe what a Proverbs 31 woman is in today’s culture. Yet Christian guys, committed Bible-reading Christian guys, still get goggly eyed over chicks in skimpy clothes. Not only do nice guys finish last, nice girls do, too. Maybe they could date each other.
I know that beauty is only skin deep and that character counts. I just need to let my inside shine out for all the world to see. I need to be a confident woman, a go-getter, full of enthusiasm, and content in my self-worth. That’s what guys want, I’m told, a chick who doesn’t care whether or not she’s a hottie, but one that is at peace with herself. That sounds really hard.
Still, I wish I could stop a guy dead in his tracks with one look. I wish I could get a guy across the room to buy me a Diet Coke. I wish I was what society generally accepts as “beautiful”, at least for one day.
Read follow-up post, “A Confident Woman”.
Here’s a clip of Mulan singing “Reflection” (vocals by Lea Salonga)