Friday, July 13, 2012

Why I Tell My Daughter She's Pretty

Our society is bombarded with images that are so easily manipulated by Photoshop, makeup (apparently, you can even airbrush abs these days), lighting, camera angles and the knowledge of how to position one's own body that it is impossible not to notice and as evolving social beings, we are constantly viewing the world as it compares to ourselves.

It's almost naive not to acknowledge that being physically attractive isn't apart of our lives and life. My children, especially my daughter, will one day realize their own "worth" in terms of other people's perception of their attractiveness. There will be countless people that will tell my daughter she's beautiful, some genuine and many, not (stay the F away, you idiot boys) but she will hear whatever the outside world throws at her.

My daughter will, also, hear she's ugly and no matter how many times she's told otherwise she'll still remember that time she was told she was. I can still distinctly recall everything about the moments I was told I wasn't pretty. Looking back, it's since occurred to me these boys probably had a minor crush on me and somehow felt their best move was to tell me the exact opposite. However, at such tender ages of six and twelve, their words stung and stayed with me much longer than it probably ever occurred to them it would (I mean, I'm blogging about it at the age of 26).

Additionally, growing up my parents never focused on my physical looks, even attempting to steer me away from shaving my legs and from putting even an ounce of makeup on until I was forty (clearly, that didn't work), to the point that I can only recall one single time I was told I was pretty from them. I completely understand their perspective as well as the other parents who say they don't want to place importance on such "ridiculous" things. I'm certain my parents did this with the best of intentions.

However, much to the dismay of my parents, I grew up - and so did the boys around me. Twice in my life, excluding, of course, the daily taunts from my brother, I was told I was unattractive and for a very, very long time, I believed it.  Every time I caught a boy stare at me, I was certain it had nothing to do with admiration but something messed up with my face. Do I have something stuck between my teeth?  I have something on my face, OMG, I have something on my face. Every time I heard someone thought I was cute, I was almost certain it was a joke.

Even to this day, I can't stand when Jarod, my own husband whom I have been with for almost eight years, stares at me with that smirk of his that more than exceedingly notions that he thinks I'm beautiful. His stares should make me feel beautiful; yet, I still can't overcome my own beliefs of inadequacies. Of course, as I've gotten older, my shameless doubts have weakened but I fear the core of them will always remain with me.

As a mother, I wish that I could keep every single person that will every say or do a harmful thing to my children at bay (or on a completely different planet) but the sad, unfortunate truth is I can't. People and life will tear away at my wonderful, amazing, perfect children and I believe it's my most sole responsibility as their parent and as their mother, "to build (them) up so the world can't ever tear (them) down," [source: familyfriendlyfrugality (dot) com - Pinterest].

My biggest wish for my sweet baby girl is for her to see how absolutely wonderful and amazing she is. I hope Jarod and I love and build her up so much that no matter what, no matter what anyone else says and no matter how terrible she's treated, she believes in the depth of her own worth. I hope one day she will become wise enough to know that the beauty of one's soul far outweighs anything her body or face will ever look like. But I, also, hope if anyone ever tells her she's not pretty, I hope her confidence is so big that their rude remarks won't even faze her because she will know she's fucking fabulous - just like her mama told her.

The sweetest, prettiest little thang in this whole world.

1 comment:

  1. With three girls, I struggle with this constantly. I want to tell them they are beautiful, but don't want to over emphasize it. I grew up with psoriasis and have a very fragile self image as well, which makes it even harder. I am trying very hard to be a good example for them and to make sure they are confident in their beauty - inside and out!