Do you think you’re beautiful? When you look in the mirror, do you think you look beautiful?
I was taken off guard. Ever since I had started wearing this dress I only ever heard people compliment me and tell me how cute, pretty or adorable I looked. What was wrong? I felt like the emperor from the story of the emperor’s new clothes – first made to believe his clothes were the finest to be had and then realizing in embarrassment that he was walking down the street naked.
The way he asked the question implied that no, I did not look beautiful at all. I paused, a strange feeling coming up inside. Why should I care whether or not the bus driver thought me pretty?
What is it with girls and wanting to be beautiful anyway? What would I gain by being beautiful? I remembered putting on a dress as little girl, twirling around the room, wanting my mom or dad to tell me how pretty I looked. Or high school, getting ready for banquet (sort of like prom) and putting on my silk princess like dress, dark blue with silver embroidery. I danced around in it and showed my family, again waiting for them to be delighted. To be delighted by the way I looked in that beautiful dress.
But I’m no child or teenager any more. I’m a grown up, wearing a dirndl for her job as tourist guide. Ok, it is a bit cheesy. But it’s still kind of fun dressing up. I suppose I don’t know whether all the tourists love me because it’s exotic or whether they truly like it – what does it matter in the end? What is beauty anyway?
I feel that beauty is something you cannot truly possess, like an object you might hold in your hand. It is more like a beam of sunlight dancing around the room, or like raindrops bouncing off the windowsill. It is a genuine smile. A heartfelt laughter. A passionate heart. Eyes that light up when a person speaks of something or someone they love. It is something you feel when you’re with a person that you enjoy spending time with. You cannot freeze it in a picture or reduce it to just clothes, shoes and make up or a six pack.
Someone might look attractive because of their well built body or the symmetry of their face, yet when you observe them for a while or interact with them you find they are not really beautiful after all.
Beauty is fleeting and impossible to capture, yet it is common to chase after and try to hold on to it.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you think you look beautiful?
Some days yes, some days no.
Some days I wish I didn’t have to leave the house, so no one would see me, other days I feel I could go to a ball.
But I have long decided not to obsess about beauty.
I can do my hair and put on a dress or whatever feels comfortable and look in the mirror knowing the eyes and ears and nose and mouth and arms and legs I see – were all a gift to me, from my loving God and creator, who made me just the way I am.
And I choose to thank him and praise him because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!