The Times I Haven’t Been Called “Beautiful”


I haven’t really earned the label of “beautiful.” Let’s be real. I have androgynous short hair (which I love), take an average of 20 seconds to do my makeup because I don’t believe in anything but eyeliner, and go shopping twice a year. At Goodwill. And pretty much only come back with old sweaters with animals on them. I’ve come to accept that I don’t quite conform to the conventional standards of physical beauty.

While all of this (I’m gesturing to my un-made-up face and sweaty bangs) is going on, I constantly see girls with their makeup done to perfection, hair straightened or curled or that wavy thing in between, never wearing the same outfit twice on social media. And these girls are the ones that get comments like, “Miss you, beautiful,” and, “Looking good, beautiful.” Even when I try my darndest to look fantastic, some of the only comments I regularly receive are things like, “no” from my sister. Not even an elaboration on her commentary. Just, “no.”

This used to irk me, until this morning when I was on my daily-ish/only if the wind isn’t blowing more than 2mph/only if I feel like it meditative bike ride. I thought about a yoga class I recently took, during which our instructor told us to think of something good about ourselves; something that wasn’t superficial because we’re all more than our physical appearance. (Even you, Bradley Cooper!)

As I was sweating and pedaling through the swampy 80 percent humidity and hating that I chose to go outside, I started making a list of things that I think are kind of cool about me; things that go beyond my face and hair and clothes. And then I came up with a list of things I’d like to be referred to as. From those elements, I created my very own, shiny feel-good compliment generator that I suggest everyone do. Mostly because it’s fun.

blog chart

(start with a term in black, and finish it off with a term in red. ta-da! instant beyond-physical-appearance compliment)

Of course there are times when I want to look good and dress up and spend an extra 45 seconds on my makeup. And that’s cool. There are also times when I want to be told that I look good by the good people of Instagram (proving that my $2 eyeliner was totally worth the investment). And that’s also cool. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good and have people notice.

But for all the other times a girl is called “beautiful,” and I passive-aggressively “like” her photo with rage and envy, I have this chart to remind me that I’m more than what I look like. I’m a frog and lizard fan woman.

2 thoughts on “The Times I Haven’t Been Called “Beautiful”

  1. I adore this, and you! Make sure the insides match the outsides, as my Mom always said. And just so you know, you are all these things and that is what makes you, Beautiful. Xo- penguin lover

    1. Thank you for your (too) kind words! Your mom was clearly an amazing person, which explains why you are, as well! (:

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