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Beauty vs. Uggo

28 Feb

If you know me personally and see me regularly, maybe you shouldn’t read this post. If you do read it, you’d better not do anything weird the next time you see me. Don’t look at me more closely, don’t analyze my hair or make-up, and if you dare try to give me some lame, esteem-boosting compliment that sounds even the slightest bit fake to me, I will hurt you. I am fast, flexible and strong and I can kick you in the head. Don’t test me.

Okay. Brace yourself. I’m about to let you inside my head.

I am not one of the Beautiful People. I presume I’m not frighteningly hideous, but there are occasionally days when I’m sure people are thinking, “Get back into hiding, Quasimodo. The public is not ready for you!”

Next layer: I live in this paradoxical reality of loving being on-stage, but wishing I was invisible when I’m up there. I really and truly aim for invisibility. I know I’m in no danger of distracting the audience with my radiant beauty, but nor do I want to be a distraction at the opposite end of that spectrum. So I pick clothes that won’t stand out too much and make-up that is subtle enough so people won’t think, “Who is she kidding?”

I am 36 years old and I have basically spent 36 years wishing I was prettier. That sounds so stupidly vain and egocentric and pitiful and cliché. Everyone knows that women feel this way. Everyone knows that we all have features that we wish were smaller/bigger/straighter/fuller/curvier/firmer/perkier/cuter/brighter etc. We know it, and yet we still process it through a filter that tells us everyone else is fine the way they are but we truly deserve the self-incrimination. We see the Beautiful People around us complaining about their big nose or flabby thighs or asymmetrical eyebrows and we think it’s false humility or compliment-fishing. Or they’re somehow trying to make us uggos feel better about our own blatant shortcomings. Hearing Jennifer Lopez or Kate Hudson or Emma Watson discuss their “flaws” does not make us go through the following mental process: “They are beautiful but they think they are ugly, therefore I must be beautiful even though I think I’m ugly.” No, it makes us roll our eyes. And possibly break into a rousing rendition of “Cry Me A River”.

I am only just starting to realize that when we say things like “every woman feels this way”, it actually does include the Beautiful People. A friend of mine, who is one of the Beautiful People, recently said something about feeling ugly one day and I was completely dumbfounded. What the what? She feels ugly?!?! What is she thinking? How can that be?

And then there was Kevin Costner’s speech at Whitney Houston’s funeral. He talked about how Whitney spent her whole life being afraid that she wasn’t good enough…wasn’t pretty enough. Even when he was trying to convince her to co-star with him in “The Bodyguard”, she was terrified of doing the screen-test. She completely botched her first attempt by piling on too much make-up, which melted right off her face as soon as she stepped into the stage light. Fortunately, they gave her a second chance, and the rest, of course, is history.

Whitney Houston was obviously one of the Beautiful People. And yet, SHE looked in the mirror and seriously didn’t see that? How can that be?

Maybe, just MAYBE, I need to make myself go through this mental process: “They are beautiful but they think they are ugly, therefore I might be beautiful even though I think I’m ugly.” I don’t know if I can do it. I’m quite sure I won’t believe myself.

But here’s what I can do. I can tell my daughters that they’re beautiful. I can tell my nieces that they’re beautiful. I can tell my daughters’ friends and my friends’ daughters that they’re beautiful. And if I tell them often, maybe they will start to believe it.

And that is why I’ve summoned the gumption to post this. Not because I want a flurry of compliments. (Seriously. My foot + your head.) The idea of sounding so needy and putting it on The Internet makes me throw up in my mouth (which is sad because I just had a fabulous Viet Thai lunch date with my husband). I’m writing so that one of two things might happen: A. You will recognize your own thoughts in what you’re reading and you will know you’re normal and you’re prettier than you think you are. Or B. Everything I’m writing sounds completely illogical and bizarre to you (which means you’re probably a man) but now you understand what most women think of themselves and you can go and tell your wife/daughter/granddaughter/sister/friend that she’s beautiful. She may not believe you (despite her thankful response) so tell her again.

And again.

And again.

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10 Comments

Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Beauty, Personal Growth

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 responses to “Beauty vs. Uggo

  1. Jaclyn

    February 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    well you basically nailed it on the head. I don’t think it would even be possible for me to hear ‘You are beautiful’ too many times. Even though any compliment I receive I usually brush off, or respond with something negative about myself. I want nothing more than to hear it. Because even if I heard it all day long, it would pretty much balance out the negative things I say to myself when looking in the mirror. I think ALL women feel this way…some more than others. I do hope that some men stumble across this (maybe one in particular) to realize that even if we don’t receive the compliment well, we are in desperate need to hear it.

    Basically…you are most definitely not alone…and I’ll spare you the compliments. 🙂

     
    • Anita Neuman

      February 28, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      You just proved my point, oh beautiful Jaclyn. Because you are smack dab in the middle of the Beautiful People Club!

       
      • Jaclyn

        February 28, 2012 at 4:39 PM

        And what makes you think that the same rules of compliments doesn’t apply to you also!!!!!!!!???? You’re lucky you moved sites, or there would be some trouble coming YOUR way on sunday.

         
  2. minormidlifemusings

    February 28, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Anita, you are very brave. (And, quite honestly, I don’t thing you are “uggo” either.)
    I am almost 10 years older than you are, and have to say that I have convinced myself long ago that I am not physically good-looking.
    I hope that telling young girls the truth about how they look will help them. It amazes me that some truly beautiful little girls do not seem to know that they are. I think I have always assumed that those in the “Beautiful People Club” knew they were — by the confidence they portray, their skill in makeup and clothes, but maybe, as you say, it is true that the majority of women feel the same way.
    Good to know that our Heavenly Father doesn’t judge us on our outward appearance!

     
  3. Kathleen Wells

    February 28, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Thanks, Anita!!! God Bless! Bless my young Jr, Church pupil , who while still not quite 2 ,said “You are So Beautiful!” to me one Sunday morning!! Bless her parents who have already done as you suggested with HER!!! Love you!

     
  4. Kay

    February 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    It happened about 50 years ago, but I remember it like it happened just yesterday. Growing up with five brothers left a definite lack of feminine activities and discussions in my home. Wanting some attention, I wiggled my way up to an adult that I loved and respected and asked timidly, “Do you think I’m pretty”? She stepped back, looked at me closely and said, “You pretty much look like all the little girls your age . . . kind of AVERAGE”. Not what I wanted to hear, but I’ve heard it repeated in my mind all my life.

     
  5. Sue Balfour

    February 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    This is so true and very sad that the enemy of our souls has us women so torn up and deceived with lies and untruths that we often cannot see ourselves as God sees us. When I’ve tried to read through the Song of Songs (as a love letter to me from the Father), I think who are you kidding. I can’t seem to receive any of it well and I think only of my big nose, crooked teeth, awkward smile, too loud laugh etc etc etc. I could tell you horror stories of things I used to do (before Christ) when someone said stuff that hurt or put me down because of the “lack of” on my body. I am astounded at the way many people speak “death” words rather than “life” words over one another. If we all (men & women, fathers, mothers etc) determined in our hearts to speak only life affirming words, what a difference it would make.

    It amazes me Anita, how many women have a false image of themselves and see all the flaws instead of the great things. I know you are not looking for any esteem boosting compliment or the like but to me you seem to have it all together and are so cute. Your smile lights up a room and when you are on stage, WOW! You make me laugh and cry at the same time. Your performance in the Cambridge Easter Passion was spectacular. I wept during the interaction of Mary and Martha (scene with the broom) around the discussion on “the woman” and her sin and being forgiven or not. You are an amazing woman of God and He loves you!

    I pray that we will all be blessed with a revelation of how our Heavenly Father sees us and a vision of Who We are In Christ. I know I need this!

    God Bless all of you
    In Christ!

     
    • Anita Neuman

      February 29, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      Sue, you’re making me cry! I can’t believe you mentioned the CEP – I took out a whole section about how hard that was. Just couldn’t bring myself to put those details out there. But thank you for your oh-so-sweet encouragement.

       
  6. mel

    February 29, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    loved your blog Anita! Good for you for being so transparently honest and open. I never thought I was beautiful either (I am not) however, today for the most part, I feel I pass and know that even without makeup and fancy clothes I am beautiful to those who love me most. It took 60 years, and a heap of grace, but I don’t worry about my falling neckline or my warbly arm wings….my crooked teeth (as long as they are clean!) or my very large calves. I know for a fact that GOD created me, knit me together in the womb and HE MAKES NO MISTAKES. WHat a wonderful truth that has set me free!
    Yes I love being told I am pretty, beautiful, nicely put together….but it had better be because they are seeing the whole person and not just the new “do” or makeup.
    Anita I have always thought you were not “pretty” but that you had a “shine” and an “aura” about you that made you different and unique and absolutely stunning. You cannot help yourself, because you have allowed Jesus to inhabit your life!
    So another time I will regale you with your physical attributes but for now let me just say you definitely are one of my BEAUTIFUL people, inside and out! (hahaha…I am too far away to kick!)

     

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