This is a blog I am struggling to write. I don’t want to come across as overly insecure, or vain. I want to talk about my strange female need to not want to find myself ugly. It’s hard to talk about because I don’t believe my God creates ugly or stupid. I just sometimes feel contrary to reality. But I do think it is sad when people communicate with their body language and dress that they don’t care much for themselves. I also don’t think women have to dress up all the time for any reason or look the way people tell them to look. I guess I hope that I can adequately describe the unique differences between genders, the adequacy and value we have in Christ and the dangers of letting our insecurities tell us who we are. Woman should be called pretty by people who appreciate them wholly, but we shouldn’t look to it to make us feel whole.
I was watching Firefly and Kaylee, the beloved good natured mechanic said “Wash, Tell me I am pretty.” She was looking at all the people coupled off and she needed to know she was pretty in that moment. Like all the girls with their admiring fellas. Wash of course gave a hilarious response. My heart went out to that character in that moment. She had one occasion to dress up for the entire one season of Firefly and no one there to appreciate it. She craved the ‘pretty’ dress in the window and when she got it, no one told her she was pretty. She wanted that dress. Why? To feel beautiful. The actress who plays Kaylee is beautiful and we all know Kaylee has a beautiful heart and is content being covered in spaceship oil most of the time. She shouldn’t need to be told she is pretty. The truth is self evident… just not to her.
In middle school and high school I was that girl with the ratty hair, pajama bottoms and baggy clothes. No one ever told me I was pretty and why would they? By media standards I wasn’t. I was pretty, I just wasn’t projecting it. I am not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me, I have almost fully embraced the awkwardness of my youth. I am telling you this because it is something I still need to hear. Even if I now project it and even if people have started to bother to tell me fairly frequently.
Speaking for myself as a woman, there is nothing like a GENUINE compliment. Never only compliment a girl on her looks. She is so much more, but don’t think looks don’t matter to her at all either. If you can see she took time on herself, you can take the time to notice. Not in a creepy way, in an encouraging way. Thanks to the world my value is always under scrutiny. Thanks to Christ I know my value will never be tied to what I am really worth. I have complete righteousness. I have nothing to fear and my value is more than many sparrows (Matt 10:31 has always been one of my favorites. Also see Gal 2:20) But I openly confess that I need to affirmed of my beauty every now and then. I have noticed that my female friends need it too. We want to know we are beautiful. We want to feel loved for all of us. That includes our aesthetics.
Note: It does not give anyone the right to break us down to only our aesthetics. We can’t be separated from our hearts, dreams, morals, personalities, fears, faults or any of the other things that make up a human. If you tell a girl she is pretty and you only mean her body, you don’t know what beauty is and you can’t honestly compliment anyone. I know why Kaylee needed that dress. i know why I need a dress.
I have plenty of dresses. If I confidently put one on and tell my gorgeous self in the mirror goodbye on the way out and no one else compliments me that day it will always happen. Especially if someone like my fiance’ doesn’t say anything. His opinion matters more than anyone else. My insecurities will produce a wrongly perceived reality in moments . For instance, yesterday I found a dress on sale. I wasn’t sure about it until a friend made me feel like I was on top of the world in it and convinced me to buy the thing. Chris and I had plans for the next day and despite the cold I wore it. If I wanted to be beautiful for anyone, it’s him. So jeans and flannel weather or no, I was going to wear it so he could appreciate it. I never want to outsource the need to be pretty to anyone else. I never want to have to look past Chris to get validated in my looks, and if I rest in Jesus I won’t have to. I felt great, thanks to a dress. I felt great even though I had been down until I put it on, because I felt beautiful. That could be vain, maybe petty, but it did. I paired my dress with leggings and a mid-drift hipster sweater after trying an embarrassing amount of other options. I had to find the perfect combo piece to adequately show the world how a new dress made me feel. Strong and ready. I was ready for Chris.
Chris and I got through breakfast just fine. As soon as we left I got a reminder. He didn’t notice the dress. Then another reminder, he didn’t remember the last one either. He called Jenna Coleman pretty two days ago (It should be noted that Jenna Coleman is stunning) and the last compliment was two days ago.. It was over text and it was non specific. I wrote it off as him just saying it. t felt shallow and he only said it because I complimented him first. I couldn’t remember the last compliment before that. In fact the last thing he said about my appearance was commenting on a mark on my neck. Poor man, I turned into a trap. I waited for him to say something about how I looked and played other thoughts from other times I felt unnoticeable. It was awful. A female hell.
After going to three places I started to cry. I had been hanging my head, frowning and sighing. How could he not tell I was upset? I wanted him to have the chanch to initiate conversation. It wasn’t going to happen. He HAD noticed something was wrong. Sadly the poor guy didn’t know what was wrong. I knew it was silly and that I can’t ever lean on Chris to make me feel whole. Only Jesus completes me. But I was hurting. He thought that I was homesick. The loving man knows the issues close to my heart, it wasn’t a bad guess. I finally cried. He just sat there in silence. I decided he didn’t care he was upsetting me and grew snappy with him for not asking what was wrong. I didn’t know that he thought he already knew and was just deciding what to say. He had lost. He had gone too long without noticing all the work that I had put into my appearance for the day. I felt useless and ugly and it was his fault. Or at least I was blaming him. I had spent all day comparing myself to every girl, hiding my bad skin and comparing myself to every female in every ad. Our look obsessed culture isn’t kind to us when we start to scrutinize yourself. Was he to busy noticing them? Or did I just not measure up to them? When I finally asked him why he didn’t care that he upset me he was rightly confused. “I upset you?” Something so clear to me had not even crossed his mind. He thought I missed my dad. He hadn’t realized it was so important to notice I got a new dress. It told me he didn’t look at me and if he didn’t look at me when I felt my prettiest, in a new dress, when would he? Oh the dangers of assumptions!
In the end, I guess this a confession. Sometimes I am not satisfied with who I am in Christ. Its complicated because I think I was designed to be loved and to feel that way. I think fiance’s ought to tell me I am pretty (and he does) . But that I can’t bank on it. That my worth will never decrease. I wish I could tell you I am always content with Christ in me alone. The point of this blog is to reflect on my Christian walk. I have been reflecting on this. I don’t like it, but I don’t think it’s ALL bad. I have a natural need to feel loved. I just need to balance that need with the knowledge that I am handcrafted by someone who really loves me. He loves me with a perfect knowledge of all the wrong I have done without . My worth is in that perfect love. That is a gift from God.
Because it’s good for you….. Eph 2:4-9
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,