Friday, October 10, 2014

Fear of Being Pretty

For some reason as of late, I've found myself wrestling with the idea of being pretty.

And I believe that is based on my thoughts of what "pretty" means or represents...and I know for a fact that has been shaped by my past experiences with prettiness...

From early on, you could probably say I was tomboy-ish.  I grew up in the country, around a farm, and was put to work at a young age.  My dad made sure we understood work ethic and responsibility as soon as we could.  We had chickens, horses, dogs, cats, and any other wild animal we could capture and make our pet.  We had mud fights, swam in horse tanks, climbed trees, built forts, cut down secret paths to the neighbors houses, rode 4-wheelers and go-carts for fun.  We swung from bag trees and playhouses, we accepted any wild challenge we could and rarely admitted defeat.  As we got older that turned into work.  Chopping and hauling firewood.  Cracking ice in horse tanks during the winter.  Mowing our 5 acres. Grooming and doctoring animals.  Painting barns and shops.  As well as helping with laundry, dishes, and other household duties.  We carried this mentality over to sports.  And everything we pursued, even friendships.  So as you can guess, I befriended most guys over girls.  It was just the natural tendency based on my mentality, personality, and appearance, I guess.

I have always and still do, consider myself one of the guys when I am around guys.  I feel like I think like a guy most times too.  I know what they are thinking, or at least am guessing what they are thinking. Just because I was always around them. Guys would talk around me as if I was a guy.  Things like: "that new girl is so hot..."  "damn, she is pretty..."  "did you see what so-and-so is wearing!" I always heard them talk about the "pretty girls," but never ever considered myself to be one.  Besides, I was the tough girl, who loved to work hard, accept any challenge, and hung out with guys...I was most confident in that persona.  I had no problem with it at all.  It was who I was.  I distinctly remember a few of my closer guy friends say things like, "well, maybe if you'd wear make up every now and again, you'd look like that..."  all in joking words, of course.  Or, maybe "if you owned a dress"...And as I got into high school sports and had to start dressing up for sports, I remember the struggle....mentally.  I felt so awkward and ugly in dresses and skirts.  It did not fit who I felt I was at all.  I thought I looked best in workout clothes.  And I remember my guy friends always saying things like, "who are you?"  "Man, you do clean up halfway decent when you try..."  or "did you borrow that dress?" Hahaha, it always made me laugh and I knew they were joking.  I honestly never thought anymore of it.  Just that I couldn't wait to get my uniform on to play--and out of that skirt.

As I've gotten older in my adulthood, I realize that mentality has carried with me.  I still feel most confident in workout clothes.  I think I look better in them than jeans.  Hence the reason you rarely see me in them.  My kids ask if we are going somewhere special when they see me put jeans on. :) 

I still feel like one of the guys, most times.  In the gym, I can talk like one of the guys...making fun of a guy I catch red-handed checking out another chick. Or comment that he is looking "tiny" and needs to hit the weights more, etc.  All in guy commentary fun.  In fact, I truly think they see me as that too...joking with me about feeling 'girly' one day because I wear a headband with sparkles on it or paint my fingernails for once. 

So in my mind. Pretty means, "the ditsy girl that dresses in scantily clad outfits to get a guys attention...who knows she's pretty and can use it to her advantage..." She is the girl who all my guy friends would drool over.  Comment on.  And try every pick up line they could to win her over.  She was the "it" girl.  And I think now, I almost see that as weak.  Pretty means my book.

I have made a valiant effort lately to try to be okay with "pretty."  In fact I've worn my hair down, out of a ponytail, on several occasions...and kid you not, I was not recognized by people I know, and see often, SIX TIMES! 

What does that tell you? 
I wore jeans to a football game the other night with my hair down and a little bit of make up (gotta start small) and received a few comments on how nice I looked.
Could it be possible I could be "pretty" too?  Without feeling like I'm being weak...or giving in to that image of "eye candy" for every guy to prowl upon. 

I am hoping maybe I can redefine pretty for Strong, actually.  Bold.  Independent.   Fit.  Fun. Carefree. Confident.  I'm still working on the rest.  But in the meantime, if you see a gal with a mess of long hair blowing in her face, waving at you like she knows you...look again, it might be me...
...trying to be okay with "pretty."

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