This lie started with some cruel little girls. The “mean girls” in her class. The girls that, in all likelihood, have no idea just what they did to her but they were the start of her second lie- that she’s not pretty. That she is not beautiful.
At age eight- she remembers the constant ridicule of not being “country” enough. The little girls laughing at her beloved pink jeans that were apparently too “city” like (even though she was the lone one that lived on a dirt road). The fact that she was not like the others was the first strike to the way that she looked at her beauty. The outside world was telling her that she was not like the others.
At age nine- the real torment began. Her best friend chose to be popular and joined in to the fray. She also got a horrid haircut that just made her want to hide. And yet another strike was landed that made her feel less than beautiful- less than worthy. She wanted to protect herself-but just didn’t know how- so she ate. She ate her pain away and thought that being the smart one was all that she should aim for, but even that was scary. Being smart meant that attention would be drawn to her and she just wanted to melt in to the background.
At age twelve-she realized that she did not really have many true friends. At least not in the way that she would be friends to them. This was the year that her mom had enough of the kids treating her this way, but even as her family tried, the damage that had been done was already there. So she hoped that make up would fix it. Maybe she just needed the right clothes Maybe she just needed to be someone different. Maybe she’d be pretty enough then.
At age fifteen- she stopped caring. She decided she would rather be the quirky girl that she was than have to try to fit some imaginary mold that a bunch of teenagers believed that she should fit in. So she closed out the people that were not there for her and she became her own cheerleader-because no one had the right to tell her she was any less than anyone else.
At age sixteen- she entered a pageant- for the scholarship money. And a day shy of seventeen- she took first runner up in that pageant. But that did not make her feel beautiful. It was some superficial thing that she could not really get-because she had never seen herself that way. Because back at age eight- her idea of beauty had started to change and while she was happy for the scholarship money- she was not completely sure she understood what the judges saw in her.
And as she got older- she became uncomfortable when people made comments about her looks. It didn’t happen all that often- her friends would say it and so would her family, but it still didn’t click. Just as she believed that she was always going to be alone, she also believe that there was no way she could really be beautiful.
So- she built her façade and lived in the lie that she was not truly beautiful. She lived in that lie for years. Then- people slowly started talking to her about her soul. They started telling her that she had a beautiful and she felt like she was being seen for the first time. Like people were finally getting who she was, that they were finally able to see where the things on the outside met the stuff on the inside and she felt good. She understood that beauty-because it was the beauty that she related to.
In her lie- she had learned to look at people’s souls more than their outward appearance. And she had learned that souls did not really lie- while the outer dressing absolutely could deceive. So in living the lie that she was not beautiful- she learned to bring out the parts of her that were unseen. The person that others randomly talked to in grocery store lines. The person that somehow managed to make friends with people that were impossibly stubborn. The person that gave other people chances. She realized that was the beauty she wanted to be known for- not so much the outward appearance.
So her outward appearance started to reflect the things of her soul. It started to reflect the artistic streak that was just under the surface, to reflect the conservative values that she held and the mish mash of things that were uniquely her. And although the lie still had some power- she started to learn that the girl in the mirror was actually her. It was a person that others could look at and see beauty in and she decided that enough people saw it- that she should try seeing it too. And while this was not easy- it was worth it.
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