Beauty. It is such a fickle concept. I remember being around 9 or 10 and going to my aunt’s house in Dayton, Ohio. Nothing special there. That’s what we did every summer. This summer was a little different though. This was the summer I noticed boys and probably had my first real crush. Now, my crush criteria had more to do with athletic prowess than anything else. I was such a tomboy!
My crush, whose name I can’t remember, was a couple years older than me. A teenager! *gasp* He was cute, at least that’s how I remember him, and he played basketball. I would walk down to the neighborhood courts, the ones missing the netting and whose asphault could stand being redone and watch him play. From time to time he invited me onto the court and we played together. *swoon*
It was at the end of this summer that he said something to me that always looped in my head. We were at the local park cashing in on the free lunch program when he looked at me and said, “Angell, you’re going to be a really pretty girl one day.” My 10 year old self didn’t know how to respond. Thanks? What in the world did that even mean? Up to that point I don’t think anyone outside of my family even used that adjective to describe me. I definitely didn’t see pretty when I looked into the mirror. I hadn’t grown into my teeth. The gap I’d grow to love was the bane of my existence. My hair had to remain in pigtails because other wise it was an unruly mess. I had scars on my legs from my inability to not scratch my chicken pox until they bled. Oh, and there was that large beautiful scab, that eventually turned into a scar, on my knee from catching a rock in my skate as I was rollerskating down the huge cemented hill to come into the apartment complex. My chest and my back had the same curves… FLAT! Pretty? Yeah…. okay. He could hoop, but clearly needed his vision checked!
Fast forward a couple decades and here I am still hearing the words of that teenage boy in my head. Sure, the world might see me as “pretty”, but it’s still not the adjective I’d use to primarily describe myself. I feel like I’m so many other things. I’m loving, caring, quirky, strong, a beautiful (hot) mess. Someone recently just said to me, “You can’t be naive enough to not know that the world responds to your beauty”. I was a bit dumbfounded. I mean…. I guess. Subconsciously I’ve learned to downplay my physical because the world has a way of acknowledging one or the other, beauty or brains. Talk about unfair! Today, I am learning to embrace all parts of me. Will you see me walking around mumbling, “Slayyyyyy girl slayyyyy!”? Highly unlikely. Now, will I allow myself to look in the mirror and say, “Okay, Angell. I see you!”? ABSOLUTELY! There is no benefit to me or the world to shrink. I was beautifully made and that teenage boy, many moons ago, was right…… I’ll be pretty one day and I’ll accept that my one day is today.