Jul 15, 2014

Chasing Beauty

A friend tagged me in a post today on Facebook. It requested (required, encouraged, obligated...) me to post five pictures of myself in which I felt beautiful. I responded that, while her pictures were indeed beautiful, I would be opting out.

I have never been beautiful. I am not saying that in the coy way some women use in order to garner compliments. I know what I am, and I know what I am not. I am not beautiful.

In thinking about writing this post, I wondered if, in my formative years, I was ever told I was beautiful. If I was, I don’t remember it. But I don’t think so. I seem to recall “cute” - maybe “pretty” - but “beautiful” doesn’t spark any memories for me. It is not as though my mother didn’t know how to say the word, she thought both of her sisters were beautiful. She mentioned one of my friends was beautiful. But me? No. I don’t think that was ever a word connected to me.

My high school friend was (and still is) beautiful. Julee, of the huge, expressive blue eyes, the blond hair, the golden skin. She has this breathy voice that makes everything she says sound sweet, and maybe a little sexy. Growing up, she is what I thought beauty was.

In my 20s, the twosome of Becky and Traci - they were my beauty ideals. Becky is the friend my mom said was beautiful. “So beautiful, she doesn’t seems real” is how my mom described her. Hair like a rain of dark silk, flashing dark eyes, ruby red lips, and skin like porcelain. She looked like a priceless doll. She still does.

Traci was fierce. She has a black belt in karate. Wide greenish eyes, hair drawn tightly back, lips that would put Angelina Jolie’s to shame. She exuded an “I don’t give a shit” attitude behind a facade that was uniquely gorgeous. This was beauty to me.

In my 30s and now, it’s my friend Tammi. She has eyes that are like topaz. Yellow, like a lioness. Who the hell can rock yellow eyes? Hair that has been a rainbow of colors and always manages to be stunning. A wide smile of perfect, white teeth (and she never had braces). And, let’s face facts, the bitch is still a size two after giving birth to three children. She is beautiful.

I’m not. I never have been. The closest I ever came to it was on my wedding day to my kids’ dad. I felt... more than pretty that day. At least for a little while. One time, I asked my then husband what he thought when he saw me walking down the aisle? His response? This man who wrote me poetry and had a heart full of romance took the first time I ever knowingly fished for a bit of romantic prose and replied, “Nice tits.” Eh. So much for that.

It’s strange for me, this concept of beauty. I don’t often tell Claire she is beautiful. Not because I don’t think she is (I do), but because so many people say she looks so much like me, that it leaves me with the queasy feeling I’m calling myself beautiful. So I say she is strong. She is smart. She is kind. And I leave the label of beautiful for special times when I know she feels it herself.

Five pictures. Too many. Too hard. But here’s what I’ve got.


I have a picture with this man. I don’t feel beautiful, but it doesn’t stop him from saying it, every day.


These two children. They’re beautiful and they’re mine.


Okay yes... it’s the 80s. And I’m wearing a hoop skirt. And the whole thing is just too precious for words. But, it was the first time I’d ever really dressed up in my life and I felt like a movie star. So... this. Yup.


Sorry for the poor quality but after the age of 14 I started avoiding having my picture taken.I don’t know if I felt “beautiful” in this picture, but I know I loved how my hair turned it. Yes... I had “the Rachel”. And I rocked it.


These are my Minnesota friends, Tammi and Julie. I never look very good sitting between the two of them, but in this ONE picture I actually held my own. It was an ugly sweater party, so that kind of figures.

I will never be beautiful. But I am funny, smart, strong, and witty. And that’s okay with me.

13 comments:

  1. You ARE beautiful. No, not cause yer 'fishing'.
    Fantastic smile, which travels to your eyes, luscious hair ( yeah yeah luscious), complexion I would (well ok not literally) kill for.
    Treat your inner you the same way you want people talking to your daughter......

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    1. You are too kind. And no, I was not fishing! But it's still sweet to hear it.

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  2. Didn't I call you "saultry"once?

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    Replies
    1. I love you Travador. But do you mean "sultry" or do you mean "salty"? Because one is a compliment, and one means I'm overly seasoned. ;-)

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    2. It must have been a halloween costume that caused you to say such a thing. :-)

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  3. Saultry should be a word...

    "Your saultry moves have raised my blood pressure".

    Nicely done Trav! ;)

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  4. I cry when you write. Cry face is not beautiful.

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    Replies
    1. Do you get red blotchy face and runny nose? That's what I look like. Julee looks pretty when she cries. Her eyes well up and the tears slide slowly down and her lip trembles. That's it. No blotches, no slimy nose. Pretty girls should at least look ugly when they cry.

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  5. I have two words for you: shut. up.

    And three more: yes. you. are.

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    Replies
    1. Pffft. You shut up. Neener neener neener.

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  6. Hmmmmm.... beauty is such a subjective concept. Your eyes, your smile, your energy and your light. I not only think beauty, but I "feel" beauty from you every time I see you or talk to you. Interesting.

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  7. Thanks PJ. Beauty is a hard thing to see in yourself, easy to see in others.

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