Beautiful starts now, don't miss of i dot or a t dash from Missus Mandy of Love You Long Time
He told me I was beautiful. It was late at night, and we were under this enormous New Hampshire willow. The summer night was getting cold, but not so cold that we would touch quite yet, although that would come. The stars hung heavy in the sky and felt closer than the night before somehow – and he told me I was beautiful.
I didn’t believe him at first, which is sad and something that I think a lot of us as women tend to do. The blushing denial wherein we shake our heads and pretend it wasn’t said. We look around and point to ourselves as if to say, “You don’t mean me –“when we know exactly who he meant. But when he told me I was beautiful I felt like he was right. So I said thank you, and I didn’t blush, and I didn’t avoid his eyes.
That was the first time I really believed I was beautiful, because my entire life prior I thought beauty had a timeline. In Junior High it was, “When I get my braces off,” in High School it was, “When I fill out a little” (never happened, FYI), in college it was, “When I can afford to buy nice clothes and get my hair done.” I pushed off beauty. I thought it was a destination – a place I would get to, not realizing that I was already beautiful – and I was beautiful not because of all of those seemingly important things, but because I was kind – or tried to be, and I had friends and family who loved me and I was becoming someone I was proud of becoming. That is why he told me I was beautiful.
It is difficult to believe in our beauty. We believe in the beauty of others - sure, but not ourselves. We pore over fashion magazines, and ask our hairstylist to, “Make us look like her,” always disappointed in the result when we look like ourselves after the process, with a hairstyle that definitely does not flatter our long, or round or heart-shaped face. We buy clothes because someone else wore them first. We attempt to lose weight because someone else is thin and they wear thin well. We mimic beauty to the best of our abilities because beauty is something we don’t believe we will ever possess.
We all know the cliché about true beauty starting inside of us, but let me state it again because it is the truth. The heart of beauty is self-love - which is very different from vanity. Self-love is to embrace our imperfections – our split ends, and flat chest and unshaved legs (if you are me), because at the end of every single day we only have ourselves, and we can either be our closest ally or truest enemy. We don’t need a man to tell us we are beautiful to believe it because when he told me I was beautiful it was something I already knew, but didn’t believe. I think each of us really know it all along if we try hard enough to hear our lungs and eyes and hearts reassure us every day we get to live on this earth. This earth is beautiful because we are on it and we are improving it – and that is how I feel beautiful.
Me and the boy who told me I was beautiful