Thursday, May 14, 2009

Skin Deep

A colleague called me beautiful today. OK, I exaggerate slightly, she said the color of my hair was beautiful. Still, she used the word beautiful.

I've been thinking about beauty on and off today. Matt tells me that I'm beautiful all the time, but I guess you become slightly immune to your husband saying it. While I know he means every syllable of the word, the cynic in me doubts them.

Why is it, as women, we seem to be programed to look for flaws, picking away at our own warped body perceptions and dismiss contrary declarations as obligation?

Today, I also WANTED to tell someone they were beautiful.

I held back.

I thought / knew that marching up to someone I had just meet 30 seconds earlier in a workplace environment and declaring their beauty would be poorly received. But lord she was beautiful. She had the most exotic, striking face I've ever seen. And I'm sure she looks in the mirror and picks herself apart for it.

When I was about 7 months pregnant with Grace, I was stopped by a stranger outside of the hospital I went to for checkups. As she neared me, I she made direct eye contact with me and smiled. I just have to tell you, she said, you look so beautiful.

I was shocked. I blinked and said thank you. She kept walking in her direction and I in mine.

That comment got me through the next two months with my head held high. Today's comment will get me through the next few months with my head held high again.

I keep thinking about this though. If I don't believe in myself, if I don't think I'm beautiful, what kind of a role model will I be for Grace? If I don't take a compliment from Matt without a sarcastic grunt, why should Grace believe me when I say it to her in the coming years?

So I will start saying it out loud. To myself and others. I believe in karma and I am going to pay this one forward.

For myself.

For others who need to hear it.

For Grace, so she is never surprised to hear the words You Are Beautiful. So she isn't shocked by them. So she believes them.

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