I have always been that girl. The one with the personality. And sure, being this person sounds good in theory but this persona is linked to other words like “cute” and “sweet”. The girl with the personality insinuates that despite your looks, your words and your humor are enough to make you interesting. So maybe my legs are shapely, and my hair is naturally curly, and my mom-abs make me look like I’m still three months pregnant. That’s OK, they tell me– because I am funny.
I am funny. I am so funny that sometimes I lay in bed and I laugh at my own thoughts or something that I have said; a joke or a really deep pun that if you understood it would bring you to your knees. But sometimes I want to be more than that. I want someone to call me beautiful.
I want big hair and long legs. I want pearly white teeth and perfect makeup and the confidence that comes with others telling you your entire life that you are attractive. Striking. Stunning. I don’t want to have to compensate for that fact that I don’t have blonde locks or a thin waist line. I don’t want people to call me “darling”. I am not Shirley Temple. I am a god damn woman.
I see the irony in this. I get how seemingly anti-feminist it is for me to ask that others appreciate what assets I have on the outside. I’m not asking for men to grope me or slip me or a ruffie. I just want someone to honestly notice something good about my physical body and tell me how great it is. Like, “Hey. Just so you know your knuckles are outstanding. Super round. Just the right amount of point. Perfection.”
I know that I should be happy with what I’ve got. It ain’t bad. And I do have that personality that people talk so much about. But just like Ariel, I want more.
I want to instill in my daughter that she is beautiful on the inside and out. So I have to watch myself. Watch my words. I have to fake-it-until-I-make-it or else I may pass this same thing on to her. And the thought that this incredible little girl—the one who is so full of life, and of mirth, and who dances like no one is watching—the thought of her someday feeling that the only thing that is holding her up is this projection she puts on— that breaks my heart.
I wish that I could capture the perfection that a mother in a sees in her child; if I could bottle that shit up and clasp it on a chain around the neck of every little child…there would probably be a lot of narcissists out there. But maybe somewhere a mousey-haired, pale little girl would know that someone thinks that she is divine. Gorgeous. Beautiful.