Pretty is as Pretty does
“Pretty is as Pretty Does.” That's what my Gram used to say to me if I asked how I looked wearing something. I've thought about that many times. It taught me not to ask, but to do.
Every day we are bombarded with images of what a “Beautiful” woman is supposed to look like. We are told that a beautiful woman is tall, yet not too tall. She doesn’t want to be taller than the man who wants to take her to glamorous dinners in her designer 6-inch heels. She’s thin, but she eats because eating disorders are out, yet not too much or she’s a piggy. She works out, and she’s always fresh and odor-free when she’s doing Pilates and Spin class. Blonde hair, blue eyes, with bouncy DD’s. We are told this is what beautiful is supposed to look like, and everything else needs to strive to change.
However, we are missing what our Grandmothers and their generations tried to teach us. Beauty fades, but goodness doesn’t. I know some “Beautiful” women, that beauty is shallow. I know some “Amazing” woman and their beauty and kindness reaches down into their souls. I strive each day to be “True” and know that I am exactly who I want to be. Candidly, as women we are always looking over at someone else’s plate, watching them in the dressing rooms, and comparing ourselves to what we think is someone else who has a grip. We all want to know what Victoria’s secret is… to keeping those girls up high, tummy tucked in tight, and that butt as smooth as satin!
The fact is that when you look into the mirror, you have to face yourself and not anyone else. Can you look at yourself standing there with no make-up and feel pretty? Do you like the person staring back at you? Are the lines on your face ones carved out by years of laughter or layered on you from years of stress and worry?
I am not a size 6 anymore, and likely I’ll never be again. When I look into the mirror each morning, I see someone I wanted to be. I won’t lie and say that I don’t wish I had appreciated the slender body I had as a young woman when I had it. I am not ashamed to pull my hair up in a pony and enjoy a day out with my friends because I know that they like me for who I am. I love having lunch out with my friend and her daughter. We both LOVE comfort carbs and laugh together at the lengths some women will go to in their efforts to pretend to be pretty.
Pretty is.. as pretty does. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend in the gym, how much money you spend on diamonds or the car you drive. Pretty comes from inside you and what you do for others. There are so many women who spend so much effort trying to attract attention to them but won’t spend any time reaching out to a sad friend, giving back to the community, or appreciating the people in the world around them. Their own egos consume these insincere people. They wouldn’t skip a tanning appointment to stand on the street corner handing out granola bars to the homeless.
It makes me sad when I see young teens like my daughter’s age starving themselves because their mothers have told them they “should be watching what they are eating.” The girls know their mothers are looking down at them and making them feel fat and unattractive. Hey, not every girl wants to be an American Eagle. Some want to be a Hot Topic and define their own version of “Beauty.” Maybe they need to be reassured that pretty isn’t what they wear, but the good person they are inside. Being truthful and talking to our sisters, daughters, and other women about what real beauty is is the only way we will stop looking at magazines and feeling the negative pressure of a fake world.
I want my daughter to be able to look at herself in the mirror at any age and know that without a doubt that she is a strong, dependable, honest, and brave woman. I want her to walk confidently where ever she goes, may it be walking into a room full of women or standing in front of a floor-length mirror with nothing but her smile. I love her kindness when she sees someone who needs just to talk. I love her fierce protective stance as she hears of someone being harmed. I love her laugh, especially when she snorts. And I have never been more proud of her as when I hear her telling her girlfriends that they don’t need to show off their bodies to be “beautiful.”
Let’s take back our self-confidence and redefine beauty for the next generations! Be real, be wonderful!