Losing Ugly

18 Apr

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I am surprised at who I am. My face is full, not fat or anything, but full. I used to be so narrow, wispy, like there was nothing to me. For so long, I  felt so awkward and one dimensional. I was tall and tripped over my large feet. My hair was stringy and flat. I didn’t have a personality to help anything, I didn’t talk to people. I was shy and afraid. I felt ugly. So ugly. I never once thought I was pretty until a boy told me when I was fourteen. Even then, it was hard to believe.

It takes a long time to lose ugly.

Soon, I suppose I will reach the time where I will have been an adult longer then I have been a child. But for now, my adolescence still feels closer then my new found adulthood.

Some mornings it is hard to face the world, hard to face yourself in the mirror. Old Ugly comes out to pester you. When she’s around, It seems impossible not notice every flaw and every imperfection is magnified by her mockery. You try to scare her away with make up and fake self- confidence talks,  but still she is there creeping over your shoulder, always complaining, never satisfied.

And she loves to get you to compare yourself  to every one else.

You’ve seen the Dove tranformation video. You know beauty lies inside, but it’s so hard to see that at times when that one woman ________ seems so nauseatingly perfect, and you begin to fall for the ancient lie that if only you have the skin/hair/eyes/bubbly personality of _________, then life would be grand.

This is nothing but a recipe for a gross cycle of misery.

The things I’ve realized is over the years is no one can scare Ugly off, but you.

(Contrary to popular belief, not even an amazing loving man who tells you every day how beautiful you are.)

The only way I have found to really lose Ugly is to stop looking at myself so much and understand  that I am loved.

There is a beauty that bubbles up from the inside of me, onto the outside, a sparkle, I am alive, I am loved. And it’s not because I did anything, or look or act a certain way.

It is Real Love, and it is mine.  A Love way beyond good days and bad days, self esteem or lack of any at all.

If only I, if only we would know that and  believe that  for a single moment of our lives that love is ours, that would be enough.

I am not saying it’s simple. I know it’s a life long battle for many women- and men as well.

Let this grace, this perfect, unconditional love which you already have, be what is real in you and out of you. Let it be your beauty.

“I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of the mouth, has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut that little nerve.
Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed, and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry-mouth that I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily? The young woman speaks.
“Will my mouth always be like this?” she asks. “Yes,” I say, “it will. It is because the nerve was cut.”
She nods, and is silent. But the young man smiles. “I like it,” he says. “It is kind of cute.”
All at once, I know who he is. I understand, and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a god. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth, and I [am] so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works. “

– Richard Selzer, Quoted in Brennan Manning’s “The Ragamuffin Gospel”


One Response to “Losing Ugly”

  1. steve April 19, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    I read the Richard Selzer quote to someone just a few weeks ago. Sums up why I refuse to focus on my flaws. God loves me as I am. The kiss works.

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