“you’re so pretty”

I spend hours each week applying makeup, primping, redundantly straightening my already straight hair, making sure I look “pretty”. I am not conventionally attractive but I try to do everything I can to make myself presentable to the world. I like to feel “pretty” but I think for a long time, I placed a lot of importance on the way that I look. It’s mostly an insecurity thing rather than a vanity thing but the point is, “You’re pretty” was one of the nicest things you could say to me. Me? I’m pretty? Tears would gather in my eyes at the kindness of the person who thought that me, plain and simple Tasha, was pretty. I tell other girls and women they’re pretty as well, including my 3 year old daughter. Pretty, gorgeous, cute… Those are the words I throw around regularly with her in hopes of making her feel beautiful in her skin. And I think it’s important that she feels that way, don’t get me wrong. But such a high value is placed on being attractive that being intelligent, funny, kind, thoughtful and other much more important traits are thrown by the wayside. Here is what really sunk in this weekend as I was fretting over my tired eyes and dark circles: I don’t have to be pretty. I exert so much effort into making myself “pretty” but the fact is, being pretty isn’t the golden ticket to my everlasting happiness. There’s actually a lot going on in this brain, if I do say so myself, and that’s what makes me who I am, not how I look. It’s nice to feel pretty and I enjoy the messages that countless commercials (Dove, anyone?) try to send our way (“Everyone is beautiful in their own way!”) because self-love also means loving how you look or at least accepting it but IT IS NOT THAT SERIOUS, YOU GUYS. We often base our entire self-worth on how we look and it just doesn’t make any sense. I look fat in this dress. I look too bony in this dress. My face is ruddy today. I am so ugly. I can’t do anything right. I hate myself. I’m not going to be all, BEAUTY COMES FROM WITHIN, but seriously. It does. I’m not here to please the eye or stun people with my looks. I’m not here to fit into society’s beauty standards because, let’s face it, as a woman, you honestly can’t win. I’m here to spread a message and write and learn and help people and raise my children with values and love. And that is more than enough for me.

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