Mirror, Mirror

     As long as I can remember I have been struggling with the “Marybeth” others see. I can remember as a 2nd grader, sitting on a picnic table next to my crush, and trying to sit on the edge of the bench so my legs didn’t look fat. I remember standing in the bathroom in the 4th grade and comparing the size of my head, pores, and nose to those of my best friend, whom I considered “beautiful.” 
     When I do not put on makeup, people simply treat me differently. Sometimes they ask if I’m tired or sick, and some don’t even recognize me when I dress up.
      I don't dress up often.  I'm definitely not what you would call "high maintenance;" I wear my pajamas for most of the day and it doesn't matter to me if people see me without my makeup on. It used to, but then I got over the lie that I had to somehow "please" complete strangers with my appearance. 
     When I was in middle school, my church somehow had me believing that it was a sin to wear make-up or do your hair pretty on a regular basis. I was ashamed if I wanted to wear mascara; I felt like a harlot. 
     It’s hard for me to believe that what’s on the outside doesn't matter at all.  I believe to some extent it does. As women, there is something inside of us that longs to have this unique, stunning beauty; longs to captivate.

"We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil." 
 
Stasi Eldredge (Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul)

    Why do you think that through the ages, women have been donning flowers in their hair, black eye makeup, or colorful clothing that compliments their shapes? But many of us drop our eyes and hang our head, feeling unworthy of the any kind of good attention because the world's“idea of beauty” is unreachable and unrealistic for us normal folk. What doesn't matter is that you are "not skinny enough." What doesn't matter is that your face "doesn't look like hers." 

"What if you have a genuine and captivating beauty that is marred only by your striving?" 
 
Stasi Eldredge (Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul)

     I believe that every single woman on the face of the earth has a unique beauty to unveil.  Sometimes the extras can cover up the true beauty underneath, and for all your strivings to be beautiful, all it would take was looking in the mirror and believing you are beautiful just the way you are. You are already beautiful, without all that extra fluff, but the fluff can compliment what is already there. As women we are the crown of creation. We are the cherry on top of the sundae. We are the climax in a riveting best-selling novel. We are God's final touch on a perfectly beautiful world. 
    I used to think I was ugly. Someone very close to me used to tell me I was worthless. She would say things like, "No boy will ever want to kiss you with acne like that, Marybeth." Or she would call me "porko" and look me up and down whenever she saw me, to see if I was "holding up the standard."
     But I am beautiful. Uniquely Marybeth. I have virgin hair, never dyed, rarely straightened, and I use minimal makeup. I try to love my mama-curves and have come to accept my big nose as a gift from God. I have a kindness that reflects in my eyes (so I've been told) and a smile that is genuine and soft (so I've been told.) Each line on my face tells my story, a story of pain and new-life, and I love every single premature wrinkle :) 
     What if the One who created you thought you were the most beautiful the moment you opened your eyes in the morning? No makeup, no fancy clothes, no coffee, no hair perfectly in place…but plain ol’ amazing beautiful natural you.
     Guess what?? He’s the one that defines beauty! Television doesn't, your best friend doesn't, and good glory, models sure as heck don't!
     God doesn't look at the outside. He created you with His own hands, He knows you are beautiful! He sees your heart, and He cares about what is holds. Are you compassionate when  you see someone hurting? Are you giving when you see someone in need? Are you genuine when you meet someone new? Can you be trusted when no one is looking? Do you love with your whole heart?  He doesn't care if you have brand-spankin'-new designer jeans or holey hand-me-downs. 
      That’s the kind of beautiful I try to attain. Beautiful from the inside out. If you are beautiful on the inside, bursting to the rim with peace and love and joy, it can’t help but shine through to your face, making you beautiful on the outside too. That doesn't mean I don't dress up every now and then. I like it when my husband takes a double look and his eyes shine with amazement when he sees me. That is who I dress to impress. 
     It’s not a sin to get dressed up and put on makeup. But it is wrong to think that is the only thing that makes you beautiful. If you think that, I'm here to tell you that no amounts of cute clothes or makeup or compliments from others are going to fix that ugly-wound in your heart. God needs to fix that ugly-wound. And He wants to.
     You are beautiful. You are loved. You are worthy. Just go ask the One who created beautiful you. He’ll tell you…



Beauty is not democratic; she reveals herself more to the few than to the many.

Comments

  1. I love love love this post!!!! I AGREE WITH YOU!!!!!! i have felt this way for quite some time. like you i dont always dress up nice or always have make up on. i think beauty starts with the soul. I've always thought if you dont have a pretty soul, then it doesnt matter if you have a "pretty" face. like you said everyones beautiful in their own way.

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  2. Have you ever thought of being a writer? You have a wonderful way to use words to express your thoughts. You have an amazing gift, although I am an art teacher and not a writer. I do find that your writing has lots of imagery - excellent words about beauty.

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  3. Nicole Winterboer4/5/11, 8:36 PM

    Well put... I wish the women of "the real houswives of Orange County" would read your blog! :)

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  4. I have issues where I struggle with what others think of me, especially in regard to some of my PCOS symptoms (like body hair, acne, and weight). I used to think of myself as more manly than womanly, actually, and assume everyone else thought that of me as well. It's a really hard struggle to deal with, I think.

    I do am a lower-maintenance woman. I rarely do my make-up or my hair, and I wear a lot of t-shirts and jeans. When I put make-up on my eyes even, people tend to notice.

    I really love the photos you selected for this entry.

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  5. This was truly beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart and struggles to remind others of what true beauty is and where our value TRULY comes from! I have not been reading your blog for long, but I can tell you are a beautiful person on the inside and out! (And really an amazing writer...I think you should write a book someday as well!!)

    God bless! <3

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