“A Woman’s Shadow”, mixed media, by J. Holland Berkley
Since I wrote the post, “I Wish I Was Beautiful”, I’ve had a lot of interesting comments. In fact, I think it’s the only non-Hannah Montana post that’s generated that much “conversation”. Interestingly enough, when I check out my blog stats to see what search terms people used to find my blog, one that pops up a lot is “beautiful”. In some way, it seems, we are all searching for beauty–some image, some definition, some standard. It’s undeniable–beauty attracts.
Yet a lot of people have mentioned that if I had more self-confidence, I would have a better time meeting guys. I never wrote that post to lament my lack of a boyfriend; I have plenty of other opportunities to do that. I was trying to dive to the heart of an emotion that is common to a lot of women. Even though we spend money coloring our hair, hours putting on make-up, and lots of energy buying clothes, we still don’t feel beautiful. We try to tell ourselves that “it’s what’s inside that counts”, and it should be, but it often doesn’t count. Or at least it doesn’t count enough.
But, really, what does it mean when we say, “it’s what’s inside that counts”? I love the idea of someone falling in love with my character, with my hopes and dreams, with my brain, with my humor, and with my ideas, but I’m not sure anyone ever has. One of my amazing talents is gift wrapping. After having worked for as a gift wrapper at a department store one Christmas season, I can also say I’ve wrapped professionally (or that I’m a professional wrapper…hahaha!) When my roomie wants her gifts wrapped nicely, she comes to me. Not only do I do a stellar job, but I’m fast, efficient, and I know where to stick a bow when I’m done. Sometimes even the crappiest gifts look better if they’re wrapped nicely. Seriously, don’t presents look better when they’re tied up in a pretty package? I think so. Although I’ve gotten some great gifts that were just handed to me in a plastic bag as well. If I was to choose between a nicely wrapped present and something in a plastic bag, I’m going to take the former. Although the plastic bag might entice me, just because I would want to see what was in it. Perhaps the shoddy covering is misleading, and the true gem lies inside.
That probably comes from living life as great gal wrapped in a plastic bag body. But what has been truly fascinating to me is that, not only do other girls (and boys) feel the same way, but that fact that some don’t. In fact, I’ve been encouraged to “show off my stuff” and “grow my confidence” and all kinds of amazing advice (including one e-mail with tips on how to get a guy to buy me a Diet Coke across the room). I’m surprised no one bought me a subscription to EHarmony (yet). What troubles me about this is–I don’t feel that confident.
At times, I’m moderately confident and sassy and yes, these are the times I find guys most responsive. But I don’t feel like that 24/7. In fact, some days I’m lucky to run a brush through my hair and change my clothes. So, how can I be expected to show it off to the world if I’m not feeling it? Should I fake it? If I fake it, won’t that be, uh, fake? Why would I want to attract guys to a fake person, instead of the real me? I mean, do I really have to be something I’m not all the time to be liked, to be loved, to be valued? It somehow seems wrong.
Really, I just need more confidence in who I am, not in myself, but who I am in God. It’s a slow train a’coming, to borrow a phrase from Bob Dylan. I wish I had the fairy god mother of self-esteem just bippity-boppity-boo me into a confident (but not too confident) woman who can light up the room with a smile. Yet I would be missing out on the wonderful and tedious experience of being molded by God into what He wants me to be–not what society, my friends, my parents, or what Mr. Right wants me to be.
I could have all the self-confidence in the world and lost my own soul. I could have all the guys in the room buy me a Diet Coke and still be unhappy. I could be phenomenally beautiful and when I die, still turn to ash. Yet who I was, who I am, and who I will be in God –that’s something that’ll last whether or not Mr. Right comes. But if he does come, he better be prepared to buy me a lot of Diet Cokes to make up for all the time he’s left me a lady-in-waiting.