So I have a confession to make….not a big fan of Beauty and the Beast, not entirely sure why either. Don’t get me wrong, I can completely relate to the Disney version….brunette with her nose in a book, always out of place and saying things she probably shouldn’t. I also fell for a man who, in younger years, could easily be described as a beast; angry, impatient and stubborn……fortunately for him, I was equally so -stubborn that is. Eventually he softened, and in return for my calming effect, he strengthened me; helped me find my voice. Love has a way of doing that. I am certain God designed us to do that to each other. Not a fan of the Big Man? Sorry, but He is kind of pivotal in my life, but don’t go!!! I promise I won’t preach to you, but I do want to show you your own self-worth, in a different, deeper, beautiful, beastly kind of way.
I’m currently coloring my hair with an all-natural product. Pretty cool because I’m not stinking up my house, but it is time-consuming. I’m sharing this because I want you to know that I’m not immune to feeling the pressure to look “pretty.” (I began going gray at 20 okay, call me crazy, but that isn’t exactly the age I intended to turn into a silver fox, and I don’t have the bone structure of Anderson Cooper to pull it off in any case). So I started to color my hair, because well, I still wanted to look as young as I actually was. Years have gone by and I have experimented with more unnatural colors than I can count. Orange seems to be a reoccurring misstep, and more than once I’ve rinsed out the dye only to discover that the ends of my hair look like tiny, wrinkle-crinkled strings (admit it, you’ve done it too). I do, however, enjoy a bit of flare in my otherwise homely-brown hair, and I like getting compliments when my color-concoctions haven’t gone aria. The trap is when my identity gets entangled in my efforts to look like something I’m not.
Beauty isn’t skin deep. It runs all the way through us. It’s a pulse, a deep part of who we are and what we want the world to believe we are, the problem is we rarely show the authentic stuff and -brace yourself -the goods God gave us; the stuff we were born with. In all of my stories I try to picture the minuet DNA of my characters. I get to pick and choose what their attributes and truly ugly characteristics will be. I want them to feel authentic. You won’t find an A-typical beauty in the bunch. Hazel eyes that radiate the fall season. Black hair so rich you might think you were staring into an ink pot. Cheeks that are full and fleshy, like a perfectly ripened peach, or a smile accentuated by deep wrinkles from a life fully-lived. See how pretty that sounds? Now do you see that in yourself? One thing that makes you absolutely beautiful and unique? Not that any of the attributes listed above belong solely to one person, but they are intermingled and intertwined -designed- into all different patterns that make us each individually special. I love to find those things, and I try to instill in my daughters the importance of finding it in others. You can find beauty in any person if you look. Perhaps a person’s beauty does not fit with fashionable people -whatever that means- but that does not mean they -or you- are lacking it. Look around and see the deepest, truest beauty in your immediate vicinity. Have you found it yet? Keep looking, it’s there.
Was it a cloud? Was it a tiny bug that crept across the floor of the break room, with translucent, glistening wings? (Don’t kill it please, remember its beautiful too). Was it a brief smile from a total stranger? It doesn’t have to come from a magazine cover….in fact, just for good measure, put the magazine away for a few minutes and sit with yourself. Find the one thing that you really find beautiful about yourself.
My beast has a thin scar along his right bicep. He got it before we even met, and while yes, it is a scar and not very “pretty” it is the only part of him that doesn’t get tanned in the summer and so becomes more pronounced. I love it, not because it makes him look tough or manly, but simply because it is a part of him, a part of his life’s story.
My eyes are a strange combination of blue and hazel. I didn’t like them as a kid because I wanted them to be one or the other. They seemed dull, and odd, and I had enough of those two attributes without taking my eyes into consideration. As I’ve grown I’ve found that they are part of my story. The blue is from my mother and the slight touch of green and gold is from my father. (The gray hairs are also from both sides, but we won’t discuss that). My eyes are a part of my story, my person, my beautiful inner-self. Sure, I suck in other areas, sure I don’t like parts of me, but I am exactly who I was designed to be. I am exactly my own person, and that my friends……that is fucking beautiful.