The Princess asked me a loaded question that had me struggling to find an answer. The Princess received lip chap and play make up for her birthday and loved wearing every ounce of it at the same time. She’d always watched me put my make up on in the morning and would play make up with Hubby. I always stressed that she was beautiful but smart and kind and wonderful. I try to avoid stories or movies that emphasize beauty above all else. But despite all my best efforts, I heard this;
“Mommy, you wear make up so that you’ll be beautiful right?”
“No, people are beautiful without make up,” I reassured.
“Then why do you wear it?” she asked.
“Ummm,” I stuttered. I wanted to answer this correctly. I didn’t want to say that I didn’t look nice without make up or that women looked better with it. I always try to be aware of how I answer her so that I can avoid making a mistake. “I wear it because I work in an office where I have to look professional.”
“Ok Mom.” And she skipped away.
There have been a few moments in my life that left my speechless and this was one of them. I help my make up brush in one hand and my eyeshadow in the other and sat silently in the bathroom on the side of the tub. Perhaps I think too much and mull over what I say and do around my daughter, but I knew in the deepest parts of my soul that I didn’t want her to equate outside beauty with self-worth.
I remember what it felt like to be a young pre-teen and then a teenager. As a preteen I had awful acne and was in that awkward phase of going from the tomboy to accepting my womanly fate. It wasn’t always the greatest feeling being uncomfortable in your own skin. And then the teenage years came and then it was peer pressure and cliques and attention from the opposite sex. It wasn’t until I got into my late teens and then into university that I really came to terms with “liking me.”
I’ve never been or ever will be a size 2, let alone a size 6. I have broad shoulders, I’m short and stocky, and a cow lick that will never go away. But while these may be my least favourite attributes, I actually like who I am. I like that I have freckles and that I have high cheek bones and green eyes. And while I think that you should love yourself for yourself, I will admit that Hubby really helped me see how beautiful I was. He thinks I’m the most gorgeous woman on Earth. At first I thought “yeah right,” but after speaking with him more and more, I realize that he really does. And if he can see how beautiful I am, then why can’t I? I know I’ll never be a model but I’m ok with that. I finally feel like this skin is my own. It took time and maturity and knowing that I was loved for who I was that lead to this transformation.
While I cannot pretend to assume what it is like for girls today with social media and insane expectations of them, I really hope that I am able to ensure that Princess is a well-rounded and confident young woman and can see just how wonderful and beautiful I think and know she is.
What makes you beautiful?