NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Until The Beauty Shone Through

July20

I am reading this book by Jonah Lehrer called, “Imagine.” I am thoroughly enjoying all of the brainy-science talk and glimpses of other people’s struggles and insights on the subject of creativity. But what struck me, and I had to share it, was this bit about Beethoven. Though seen as the ultimate creative genius, it was common for him to revise a phrase even seventy times until he got it just right. He’s quoted as saying, “I make many changes, and reject and try again, until I am satisfied.” The author then adds his interpretation, “…even Beethoven-the cliche` of artistic genius- needed to constantly refine his ideas, to struggle with his music until the beauty shone through.” (Emphasis mine.)

When I used to hear people talk about the beauty and wonders of life and nature I just assumed they meant trees and the sea. I never realized, in my youth, that people could be so captivating in their own natural beauty and wonderment. Now it is almost all I see. It is all I seek out and it is all I hope to have in my life from here on out. But you see, I had to struggle with my own sense of what is “beautiful” and “beauty” and what that means and looks like for me.

I started out as a pretty awkward looking kid. Red hair, terrible bowl haircut (it was the last 70’s after all), freckles galore, and a large enough gap in my front teeth for a McDonald’s straw to comfortable fit into. I spent a lot of time on my own, but was always eager to make friends. It wasn’t until such attempts turned sour that I felt ugly or weird or different. The kids in my new neighborhood were straight up jerks, in hindsight. But I just wanted them to like me and play with me. One of my first interactions was with this girl Karen. She said, “You’re pretty.” very matter of factually. Because I’d heard both of my grandmothers and grandfathers say these exact words to me I simply replied in the same tone, “I know.”

This would not do for Karen. She was shocked! She got pissed off at me and called me conceited. I was four years old for fuck’s sake! She was possibly six. This brief interaction has stuck with me my entire life. I was made to feel weird and ugly by Karen and her friend Suzie for many many years after and on a regular basis. I would often play with her little brother Johnny, but even he would side with his sister from time to time when the subject turned to me. Ugh!

Time went on and I struggled to be normal. I wanted to fit in or to just not be singled out. That was fine and good until the sixth grade. I never felt weird about my body, I was a fairly skinny kid until this time though, and loved sports. I started to let go of some of my tomboy fashions and tried skirts and accessories and experimented with nail polish and crushes. It was that last one that got me into hot water. I had to have a crush on the cutest boy in school. All of the preppy girls liked him, too and since I was the weirdo they felt the need to put me in my place, often.

This sort of sets the scene for the next few years of my life. Puberty ain’t fun for anyone (and if it is then the rest of your life will suck), but I was an early bloomer. I got my period at nine years old, boobs at 11 and by 14 I was a D cup. I hated this about myself but knew there was nothing I could do to change it. So I chose to try to stay up with all of the latest fashion and beauty trends. This was 1989/1990, folks. These were scary fashion/beauty times! Ha! I had the hair sprayed bangs and the big hoop earrings and pegged, high-waisted pants with knock-off patent leather shoes (and ten band aids each morning to cushion the blisters they provided) and all of the other things of the time. But it was never enough.

The “pretty” girls (the preppy/rich girls), had cute sweaters and cropped tops and Guess! jeans and spiral perms. I longed for these things, too, but knew my family finances could never provide and even when I saved my paper route money for such things (instead of the usual cassettes, yo!) I could rarely scrape together enough for anything brand name. No, I stuck with designer imposter fragrances and Gemco jeans. My dad once took me to Nordstrom to see “these Guess! jeans” and was horrified by their price tag and briskly dragged me back home never to return.

Thank the stars for grunge because that is when I finally felt like I could be something close to a cool kid. Though, I never quite felt that secure in myself, I enjoyed the fashions and lack of pressure this trend provided. Not to mention 1991 being the best music ever and the soundtrack of my fucking life! Ha-ha! I experimented with boys and drugs and had a great time doing all of it. Sadly it was my insecurity, my lack of self-worth and knowledge and never ever feeling beautiful (the grandparents had long stopped telling me how pretty I was), though no doubt it was just the usual puberty bullshit. I can’t say for sure that this directly correlated to my abuser’s ability to hold me hostage for the next five years, but one can only guess.

It took much more than being broken down and building myself up again. I spent years not believing beauty was something I could possess without a large collection of drugstore make up. No, it took a lot of self-work and nothing more. It took breaking free of the lies placed upon me by others and myself. It took until just this year for me to see it for myself and to truly own it. I’ll be 35 in October, y’all. I know that’s young to many of you and super old to others, age is irrelevant, but the time? Wow! To go from believing I was pretty and being scolded for it at four years old until now. Thirty years of getting beat up, by others and myself.

What I don’t want is for this to happen to others. I want anyone to believe and know that they are beautiful (regardless of gender). I want for everyone to see the beautiful light that can shine from within all of us. It is there, right now, but you have to find the switch. That is the bitch of it, I’m afraid. It took me peeling away every last layer of my armor and mental barricades for me to see that my beauty and my strength are directly tied to my vulnerabilities. I still struggle. That’s okay. To struggle is to live, so long as you do not let your struggle become your identity.

That’s why you’re here though, right? You don’t want to be known as the person who fought their body and their weight their entire life and never truly “won.” I have known women like this. I have known women who have dieted themselves into hospitalization and organ failure. I know women now who just do not know how to live without the restrictions and rules of a diet to follow. It’s super fucked up, and I love them, but this is not what I want for me or for anyone. I want to dance to my own rhythm and beat (you know it’s funky). I see myself now as beautiful not because someone has told me so or because the opposite sex thinks it to be true. No, I see myself and my beauty as wholly my own and so unique it could never be duplicated.

I struggled for so long and have been through so much that to find the light shining from within me after all of that? That is the sweetest reward. It doesn’t matter at all what anyone else thinks of me, my looks or my personality. It’s not for them to assess, they do not live with it or in it. It’s mine!

And I love this quote from Dita Von Teese, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone that hates peaches.”

Word. Dita quoteI hope you can find beauty in even your most awkward of moments, because I think if you can do that, then you are living in the beauty of life already. <3

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