You don’t have to try so hard.

Today I let my hair do it’s own thing.  Well, for the most part.  I straightened my bangs and then left the rest of my hair alone – which resulted in a beautifully (to me) wavy mess.  A guy friend at work asked me why my hair was wavy today.  I replied that, actually, my hair was really really curly (but now wavy as I’m waiting for the effects of a straightening treatment to wear off).  I just didn’t want to straighten it that day.  I showed him a picture of me with natural curls.  He took one look at it and said “I prefer your hair straight.”  I wanted to hit him.  

I get it.  Everyone has an opinion.  And I don’t need to get upset over every opinion that is different from mine.  Everyone has a preference as far as what they consider beautiful or attractive and that’s fine too.  But here’s the thing.  You don’t have to tell me that what I look like naturally is not appealing to you.  I didn’t ask.  I don’t care.  I don’t exist so I can tailor myself to what you think is aesthetically pleasing.  

This man is a friend of mine.  He’s one of the most unashamed Jesus lovers I know.  And yet, what came out of his mouth was decidedly un-Jesuslike.  What’s even stranger?  He doesn’t think he’s being offensive.  How crazy is that?  That I live in a culture where telling someone you prefer them skinnier or plumper or with straighter hair or fairer skin is considered normal?  Is it really OK to tell people that how God made them naturally is not beautiful?  That they have to change what He had in mind when He designed them?  

I’m a girl – I understand putting your best foot forward.  But I’m talking about natural beauty here.  I was designed by the Creator…who must have thought I’d look beautiful with naturally curly hair!  I have the option to dry, curl, straighten my hair.  God won’t look at me and say “hey, I made your hair curly so you better wear it that way for the rest of your life”.  But He won’t look at me and go “hey, I made a mistake. You really look better with straighter hair” either.  

So, to all the people that want me to have straighter hair, or put on more weight, or put on less weight.  To all the people that tell me that having cellulite and stretch marks are not OK.  To those people that have ever made someone feel ugly by being tactless and not careful with their words…

You don’t get a say.

TRUTH THURSDAYS 2: TODAY I LEAVE BEHIND

roadahead

“Why are you so down on yourself?” It just burst out of him. He hesitated then apologized for his tone. But he didn’t let it go – “you talk like…you think you’re not beautiful” he said, not knowing he was breaking my heart. Today I leave behind…every demeaning thought I have of myself.

I am too much. Too strong. Too opinionated. No man would ever want a girl that will occasionally cuss like a sailor and tell him when he’s being a dick. (That was mild. Come on now.)

I have riotous curly hair. The kind that looks like it has been electrocuted. A bird’s nest. Hair that looks like a weasel died on top of my head.

I have flab. Stretchmarks, dimples and cellulite and my ass sags more on one side than the other. Yes, I went there.

I dress indecently, especially for God-fearing, church loving men. I am a woman they do not respect.

I am an insecure bundle of nerves and again who would want to be friends with (or more than friends with) someone who is constantly belittling herself or putting herself down?

There. I’ve laid it bare – all this ugliness. Now to “bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes”. 

I am wonderfully opinionated. I speak my mind and am forthright and honest. One day some sexy man of God (what?!) will see that and will adore that about me. He will thank his lucky stars for having found someone who will not resort to the silent treatment to punish him, for someone who will rationally confront him over any concerns and issues. This does not make me less of a woman.

I have beautifully messy hair. It is sexy and uninhibited (really uninhibited). One day it will be longer and will be even more beautiful than it is now.

My body is soft and inviting (not that kind of inviting. Jeez.). I am a woman. I have dangerous curves and yes a little bit extra here and there but that only makes me more womanly. This body functions. It does wonderful things (walking, running, dancing). I am grateful for it.

I love being a woman. I dress like one. I have been told I have “legs that stop traffic”. Occasionally they make an appearance. That does not make me a whore. That does not make me cheap or easy. I like to showcase my assets but never in a cheap or tawdry way. Only in a way that celebrates my femininity. Most of the time I dress for myself. On rare occasion, I dress for a guy. Hey, it happens and it’s completely normal. I will be sensitive to my brothers’ eyes. I will do my best not to make them stumble. But I cannot please everyone and there will be men that think wearing a miniskirt means you cannot possibly be wife material. I will pray for them. They need it.

I am a normal woman with normal insecurities. But I am an amazing creation of God, fearfully and wonderfully made. I love much and am loved much. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with someone like me?

Today I leave behind what people have said about me. What I have said about myself. Today I will carry who God tells me I am. A work in progress. Imperfect. But beautifully so.

A Story of Beauty (Part 1): Ugly Duckling Syndrome

swanduckling

Growing up I always identified with the story of the ugly duckling.  I grew up never really knowing the meaning of the word “beautiful”.  Until one day my mom mentioned that our relatives were comparing me to my older cousin and that while she might be prettier, I was smarter.

Since that day I’ve had a tenuous relationship with my self-image.  It didn’t help either that my lovely, thick, straight hair suddenly turned coarse and curly.  Or that my mom insisted I put on foundation and lipstick at the ripe old age of 11 because I needed more color in my “dead face”.  She often told me that while my features were out of place now, she could tell I would grow into a great beauty someday.

The funny thing is, I never thought I wasn’t beautiful, until she pointed it out to me.  I grew up dreaming one day I would be that swan.  I was just an ugly duckling waiting to transform.  A caterpillar whose fuzzy body hid a brilliant butterfly.  A bud that would blossom into a flower.  An enchanted beast whose true form was a handsome prince.  I think you get the picture (and I’ve run out of analogies).