Saturday, March 12, 2005

Pretty on the Inside

I have never felt pretty--though I am often told I am—not ever in my whole life. Feeling a certain way about oneself comes from the inside—so goes the cliché. And it can only come from a sense of self-worth, not from how other people think you should feel (you’re pretty so you should be happy), how people tell you you look.

I was called bookworm, laughed at, made to feel ugly—as if I needed any prompting—I hated myself so much anyway, surely I was ugly too. And then one day, magically, I was treated like I was pretty--men whistled and honked at me as they drove by; guys walked by and gave me second looks. Not feeling attractive, I acted no differently than I had before--loathing myself on the inside, I just didn’t believe what people said about me or how they acted. Then there were the times I would look in the mirror, believing I looked good, and then beat myself up because I hated myself and, it seemed, so did everyone else—I was almost always alone. I was reasonably good looking, pretty darned smart, and a person whom (it seemed) no one wanted, whom no one would ever want.

These days, I am punished for being too smart--guys don’t like girls who are too smart, it scares them--and then I am punished for being too pretty—guys are intimidated because they think I will reject them as not worthy. But I cannot be anything except the person I am ("to thine own self be true" quoth Shakespeare). So, being annoyed by all these contradictions, I just do the best I can, one day at a time. Some days I feel pretty, some smart, some ugly, some stupid. I am encouraged and refocused by the person I know I am on the inside, and some days I even like myself. But there are many days I still feel ugly and miserable, smart and beautiful, rejected and scared all at once. Is there anyone who doesn't?

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