Dear Men, Don’t Call Me Beautiful.
When I was a little girl, I used to hate the word “cute.” Being called such a thing was like hearing fingernails slowly scratching a chalkboard.
I didn’t want to be “cute.” I wanted to be beautiful.
I yearned for long silky locks like those I saw in advertisements and flowing down my Barbie’s back. I wanted to be tall and skinny, and blessed with a smile gorgeous enough to entice all around me. I wanted to be something awe-inspiring—not the lumpy awkward girl I was at the time.
As I grew into a woman, I fought with my body. I called it all sorts of atrocious things—making it an enemy I had to sleep with each night. Consistently listening to the inner critic whenever hands fell on my stomachs or thighs. If only I had known what magic my body was capable of.
As we fall in love with ourselves, it seems we no longer strive to be complimented on a beautiful face or beautiful body, for the real beauty is beneath the layers of make-up and flashy accessories. It will make us smile when you call us beautiful, but there is a depth in us that “beautiful” can’t quite do justice.
So, don’t call us beautiful; call us wild and brave.
Get lost with us in the woods, bare feet leaving prints in the soft spring mud. Let’s go skinny dipping on hot summer days, and take road trips with no destination in mind, down winding highways blasting Nirvana, Ella Fitzgerald, Modest Mouse and The Black Keys. Be brave enough to be in the moment with us, here.
Let’s explore each others’ minds, for we find stimulating, deep conversation much more rewarding than a superficial compliment on perfect eyeliner.
We have fallen in love with our strength, both emotional and physical. We have overcome more than you know, and with each hardship we are challenged to change our perspective to one of love and acceptance. If we can look at ourselves with this level of transparency and non-judgment, then we will do the same with you, inspiring you to match our vulnerability and strength.
Fall in love with our spirit, for it is all encompassing—our light that can never be extinguished or replaced. Fall in love with our ability to create—connections, art, words, magic, joy, growth.
We have fallen in love with the intricacies of ourselves, both the dark corners and the shiny bits. Will you do the same?
Call us magnificent, for our bodies are temples that have the ability to bring life and love into the world. Our scars and stretch marks show a history of healing, a roadmap into our past wounds.
Call us a work of art, perfectly imperfect in our vulnerability. We’d rather be seen at two a.m. without makeup on, with messy hair and comfy clothes, discussing what is kept deep in our souls.
Be brave enough to scrape off the layers the world has piled on, and reveal your depth to us.
Don’t call us beautiful, for that is the last thing we aspire to be.
Author: India Allen
Apprentice Editor: Kari Miller / Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Drew Osumi/Flickr