Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Each person has a varying assortment of what beautiful means to them. I find certain aspects beautiful. The first of these attributes is the ability to make me laugh. I don’t want to laugh at the expense of others. I want to laugh at ourselves. Never take my face, my talents, my body, or anything about our human nature too serious. Laugh. Make me laugh. Laugh with me. Giggle when I snort laugh. Howl and hoot when tears come streaming down my face from laughter.
Those are the moments when my soul feels the happiest, in the moment where a smile beams from my face and my belly shakes and I’m too loud with roaring laughter. It has taken me quite a long time to understand my own beauty. I didn’t understand it all until one night I watched the documentary Montage of Heck about Kurt Cobain.
Growing up, I thought Cobain to be one of the most beautiful people. His eyes. Those oceanic eyes. They weren’t shallow. They were filled with emotion. And they shined like daggers aching with hurt and heartache. Then the quote comes on the documentary. One quote, a few words, and their echoes hang repeating on my heart.
I was an underdeveloped, immature little dude that never got laid and was constantly razzed.- Kurt Cobain
He embodied beauty, to me at least.
I walked high school halls underdeveloped. Bras barely bearing the first letter of the alphabet. Today I’d ask a younger version of myself, “why’d you even bother wearing one?” No one would have noticed if I did or didn’t have one on. Age has brought forth the resistance and hatred towards those female contraptions. I immediately rip mine off as soon as I’m in the privacy of my home.
Maybe beauty isn’t seen in the same light.
I struggle with words. Not writing them but when people talk to me, or compliment me. I get red faced, embarrassed and harbor a great discomfort when people tell me, “you are beautiful.” This expression can be modified in many forms; pretty, gorgeous, stunning.
I don’t see your beautiful.
There is a mirror hanging between the walkway from our dining room to the kitchen. I look into this mirror at least once a day and I grab my fat and yank it upwards.
Look at how skinny you’d look if this hanging dead weight didn’t exist. You’re fat. You need to workout more. Drink more water.
Then I lean into the mirror and I see the age. I see the spots dancing around my eyes and forehead, they are littering my nose and cheeks. Some of the spots are caused by the sun and others have appeared with age. I see hairs. Hairs that shouldn’t be growing on my face. I see lines overlapping my forehead. I pull upwards on the sides of my eyes and see a bit of youth restored as the lines vanish.
I buy creams and so called age spot removals. I moisturize. I’ve stopped smiling in pictures; a real big teeth glaring natural smile. Because when I do, more lines appear. I don’t look as young as when I slight smile and add a few filters to cover the spots.
In the mirror is a constant arranging of the hair on top of my head. Is it too long? Should I cut it short? What color will change what I see? I could dye my hair every color in the rainbow and it wouldn’t change anything.
People’s compliments make me uncomfortable because I am not beautiful. I don’t see the outward appearance. I only see flaws. I see skinnier. I see younger. I see blonder. I see images I wish I could be. Better versions of myself.
Because after all, I once was an underdeveloped little girl who didn’t want to get laid and occasionally got razzed.
I’ve been in the place where shoes didn’t have the real brandname. And my purses were knock-offs. And my press-on nails fell off in front of coworkers. And I’ve walked around the mall trying to be trendy in my midriff showing halter top and I felt half naked. I couldn’t wait to get home and cover up.
The more I’ve tried to be prettier, the harder it became to accept any real beautiful qualities in myself. A town isn’t going to make me feel beautiful or ugly. A man isn’t going to define my self esteem by kissing a stretch-mark covered stomach and telling me how much he loves me.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and maybe I should try to look at myself through a different set of nonjudgemental eyes. The pouch on my stomach will probably never go away. Sometimes name-brand shoes rub blisters on my feet. I like my real nails, I can type better with them cut to the quick.
I’m always going to see beautiful people and I will probably always think to myself, “I’ll never be as pretty as them. Or as skinny as them. Or as happy as them.”
That’s all them. That ain’t me.
I am my own kind of beautiful, I just need to behold it.
Rachel E. Bledsoe is a writer and an Appalachian Misfit Mama. She enjoys swimming, long walks on the beach, and Marie Antoinette biographies. She is the sole voice and writer behind The Misfits of a Mountain Mama. You can visit her on Facebook or on Twitter @MisfitMtMama.