Beautiful

Marc_Jacobs

I once lived in a one bedroom basement apartment with my best friend. We had a small kitchen table without chairs and two mattresses on the floor, and that was pretty much it. Our living room was completely empty. We had nothing except a few dishes in the kitchen cabinets and a closet over-flowing with all of our clothes, bags and shoes. I’m not sure how we survived with so little, yet I would drop $50 on a half ounce jar of eye cream without thinking twice. A completely broke 20 year old girl buying anti-wrinkle cream. I’m certain I already had flawless skin, like most 20-something girls do, but I still spent a chunk of my paycheck on beauty products vs. food.

For a girl who grew up reading Seventeen magazine, the pages filled with perfect bodies and pretty smiles, not surprising at all.

And I am sure I wasn’t the only one.

And isn’t that how most girls think? We grow up believing that beauty is vitally important to our being. It defines us somehow. Life will be better/happier/easier/more fulfilling, more something, if you are prettier.

And you don’t have to accept it or agree with it. But that’s just the way it is. And that won’t ever change. We will never live in a world where beauty is not revered or desired. Not ever. So what choice do we have but to accept and embrace it?

Audrey Hepburn said “Happy girls are the prettiest girls.” Who coincidentally was one of the most perfectly beautiful women to have ever lived.

We are bombarded by messages telling us that beauty comes from within, and that being a good person is beautiful, and that true beauty is blah blah blah.  But meanwhile, every man wants a Kate Upton. It’s all very confusing to a 12 year old girl, still learning about the world and trying to figure out where she fits in all of this.

And how do you teach that same 12 year old girl that inner beauty is more important than outer? Not an easy task.

And even with degrees in science and education on top of years spent trying to complete a Masters degree, I know that no amount of education will ever change the fact that I still want to be pretty, too. Because in this world, pretty is what everyone wants. Men want a beautiful woman on their arm (it’s a status symbol) and the prettiest girls find the most desirable mates. And any person- male or female- would be lying if they said they did not want to be more attractive. What person ever says “I want to be less attractive.” You can’t find that person because s/he simply does not exist. Because beauty is valued in our society. Period. Men want beautiful. And women completely fall into the beauty trap every single day.

It’s all a very ugly thing, when you really start to think about it.

An ex once told me “I would rather date a girl with a pretty face than one with a good body. Her face is the most important part.”

He’s not alone. Men can’t help it. They’re attracted to looks and the physical. And although women are attracted to good looks, too, it’s a fact that men rate a woman’s looks as the most important thing about her.

Men rate a woman’s looks as the most important thing about her. Worth stating twice, because wow. Wow and I think that explains quite a lot.

In a study done by Ask Men, men rated facial attractiveness as the #1 most desirable trait in a woman.   Whereas, women rated intelligence, passion and a sense of humor in the top 5 qualities most desired in a man.  And the importance of a mans looks to a woman was much lower at #9.

It’s no great mystery why women place such importance on how they look. It’s a competitive world out there and men are always searching for the next pretty face. Sure you’re pretty, but she’s really beautiful. And as beautiful as she is, that other girl is stunning. And men don’t think twice about leaving a beautiful woman for someone they consider to be more beautiful. It happens every day. So is it any wonder why women are continually trying to improve their looks?

I know a woman (in fact, an entire group of women) who have all spent thousands of dollars on surgery and injections trying to achieve “it”.  One husband even commented to me that his wife no longer looks recognizable. Make that his ex-wife. They are now divorced so maybe that says something about that. I don’t know. And admittedly, if I had the means, I too might consider doing some of the same. But I don’t foresee becoming rich anytime soon, so I guess I will never find out.

In the meantime, the perfect blow out and a pedicure still make me feel pretty. I feel sexy in a great pair of jeans. And all that confidence translates into feeling attractive, which makes me feel good. So where is the wrong in that?

The problem is that there will always be someone better looking. And along with that comes the natural worry that he might leave you for someone “better.” Even if she is not actually “better” at all. My best friend- one of the most stunningly beautiful and smartest women I know- discovered her husband was cheating on her. And I’m not suggesting that men cheat only because they found someone more attractive. But the fact is men are always looking. Even if they never act upon it. And cheating is extremely common. So maybe it’s not such an irrational thing to worry about after all.

Maybe that’s just the way it is.

Feeling beautiful, looking beautiful and actually being beautiful are all very different things.

And genuine beauty has nothing to do with what you see in a magazine.

But yet, that will never change the fact that men will continue to seek exactly that physical, outward type of beauty. And therefore, women will continually strive to achieve it.

 

In the end, each person should do what they want. Do whatever you need to do to feel pretty and sexy and amazing and happy and beautiful.

And hopefully, one day you will meet someone so amazing in every sense of the word, that they will completely redefine your own perception of what makes a person beautiful. Suddenly, it’s not just about how they look, but it becomes about the way they smile, the words they say, the way they look at you and the way they make you feel. The same guy or girl that you once viewed as attractive, now defines beauty in every single sense of the word. And all you’ll be able to see is a person you can’t possibly imagine being without. Ultimately, that is what makes someone perfectly beautiful, above and beyond anyone else. And that is what I am going to teach my daughters.

 

Link: http://www.askmen.com/top_10/dating/top-10-proven-traits-men-desire-in-women.html

Photo taken from catsandcouture.blogspot.com

Photo taken from catsandcouture.blogspot.com

 

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Little Girls

One daughter falls asleep each night with a book in her hands, quietly observing life from the edge.

While the other prefers to explore the world first hand without question or fear of consequence or boundaries.

Wildly different, yet equally beautiful.

I often wonder which will have the most fulfilling life.

Most likely, both.

 One runs and sings and laughs without care. She is the devil on your shoulder. She has no inhibitions. She once said, “Mommy, I don’t think I have a conscience.”  And of course I laughed. She simply sparkles and delights.

The other is quiet and submissive. She is thoughtful and calm. Until she is not. She can be the butterfly that lands on your hand. And in the next moment, a quiet storm.

And from all outward appearances, they would seem to be the same. They both have soft brown hair, perfect smiles and eyes filled with wonder.

But one giggles shyly when she laughs, while the other lights up like a hundred fireworks.

A man I once loved told me “Your girls are everything that you are.”

I can’t imagine a more beautiful thing to say to a mother. Because even on my worst days, when I don’t like myself very much, I still look at them in amazement.

Because they will both always be my two favorite people.

My heart.

Brokenhearted Girl

Nothing is more irresistibly beautiful and alluring and empty and sad

Than a brokenhearted girl

Nothing

She is hopeful and hopeless

Passionate and depressed

Nostalgically longing for the past

As the days and weeks trample her shattered dreams

One by fucking one

Until one day she wakes up

Surrounded by strangers and noise and interruptions

Swirling all around her

The wind, tossing her hair

Longing to touch her beauty

She rejects them all

Instead, choosing her memories

Imprisoned in her own mind

Tragically, courting her own sadness

 

– MMP

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Love Pain Death

One of life’s great cruelties is that great love is often followed by great pain.

Love can be the most amazing feeling in the world.

And the loss of that love can be equally crippling.

There is no easy way to cope with loss.

Alcohol and drugs only numb the pain temporarily.

I was never one to do drugs. My entire drug history consists of smoking pot a handful of times when I was too drunk to even notice. So drugs are not an option for me.

But allowing yourself to feel raw sadness can be overwhelming, leaving you feeling hopeless and empty.

~

I was always the happy girl. The social butterfly. Smiling and laughing and carefree.

But life takes unexpected turns.  A seemingly meaningless event – a chance meeting, or one wrong decision – can change us forever.

And we are never the same again.

Some events cause great joy. And some cause great pain.

Coping mechanisms are just a temporary fix.

I have found some small comfort in writing.

But it is not nearly enough.

And for the first time in my life I understand the logic in taking ones life.

The person who ends their life does so, because that is the only way they know how to end their pain.

I used to think that equalled weakness.

But it takes a lot of strength and resolve and courage to take your life.

Death can be a comforting thought. The thought of a perfect life in the after world, and more importantly, eternal peace.

And the possibility of being reincarnated and the gift of a second chance at happiness – all give hope to someone who only feels pain.

And unlike love and happiness, pain is often not fleeting.

Happy moments are just that: brief moments in time that begin and end.

But for some, pain is a constant. You can distract yourself and keep busy. But underneath it all, the pain is always there.

It may be the loss of a child. Or the death of a loved one.

Or losing the only person you ever truly loved.

The cause is different for each person – but the pain is equally debilitating.

It can be unbearably overwhelming.

And there is no magic pill or a switch you can flip to turn it off.

Telling someone to move on, that things will get better or that there are others worse off, are all as empty and hollow and meaningless as scribbles on a scrap of paper.

There is nothing you can say to make someone feel better. Empty words only make someone feel worse.

And nothing can can bring someone back into your life after they have gone.

You can’t create love and you can’t erase pain.

But perhaps after death, we have a new chance at finding the happiness that eluded us in this lifetime.

Maybe death isn’t an end. Perhaps it’s a new beginning.

A fresh start.

A chance to finally find love and happiness in a world that cheated us out of that opportunity the first time.

Perhaps we shouldn’t fear death- but instead accept it and embrace it.

And hope that maybe we will find love, happiness and meaning in our life if given a second chance.

~

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December 2012

Although I never planned it, twitter and this blog have turned into my online diary for all the world to see. I’m still not sure how I feel about that. I am an extremely private person.

[I’ve deleted the original post that was here but saved most of the photos.]

APool_Bed

Rooftop pool in Denver, Colorado.

 

pumpkin.1.cat.painting

June 2012 on my oldest daughters birthday. Yes, that is her. It's a personal favorite of mine.

June 2012 on my oldest daughters birthday. Yes, that is her. It’s a personal favorite of mine.

A_ALOVE

 

Window

Window

Cat painting by Eternal Drift.

Cat painting by Eternal Drift.

"One

catWhite

Runner up for my background page. :-)

Runner up for my background page. 🙂

Twisty tree, San Antonio.

Twisty tree, San Antonio.

Waiting for spring.

Pretty things

December 2012: One of the low points in my life. I had lost my job earlier that year and now it was almost Christmas.

I wanted to hide away from the world. Not only because of the embarrassment and shame that accompany hard times, but mostly to focus on getting my life back together.

I took my daughters to the Family Dollar Store to buy some packing tape. Possibly the most depressing store ever.

I found two kinds of tape. One was $2.99 and the other was $1. I joked to the clerk that I was too poor to afford the $2.99 roll as I paid for the $1 roll. After we left, my older daughter (who was only 10 at the time) said “Mommy! Don’t tell people we’re poor!” Clearly, I had embarrassed her.

A week earlier, I created an eBay account. Being out of work meant I had to start selling some personal things. In just one week I had sold two items. I was excited, until I got to the post office and spent $18 for postage on an item I had only charged a $3 shipping fee for. Live and learn.

As soon as I got home, I immediately readjusted the shipping fees on all my other items.

Which brings me to the rings. Years before, my ex-husband had given me a beautiful 3-stone engagement ring. One large center diamond, representing the present and two smaller diamonds on either side, representing the past and the future.  The other was a beautiful custom made engagement ring given to me by a man I dated for 4 years after my divorce. A beautiful 1.5 carat cushion cut diamond, surrounded by beaded diamonds and a diamond wedding band to match.  It was beautiful. I tried to return it to him after we broke up, but he insisted I keep it. Both gifts from men who had loved me at one time. Now gone, but with memories still attached.

I never imagined I would have to sell such things, but I never imagined a lot of the hard times I’ve faced in my life. Sometimes things just happen. Reluctantly, I posted both sets on eBay. The custom set alone was worth well over $5,500, but I asked for less than half.

Being new to eBay, I assumed no one would buy them, so I took them to a local jewelry store. The appraiser took all four rings (two diamond engagement rings, and two bands) to a room at the back of the store. A few minutes later, he returned and offered me only a small fraction of what they were worth. I knew his offer was unfair, but before I could think, I heard myself say “Okay.”

As I left, I suddenly felt sad. It wasn’t that I would miss the rings (I hadn’t worn them in years), but that each one had a string of memories attached. Like the warm spring day when my ex-husband got down on one knee to propose, and all I could think about was how corny he looked. (Maybe I’m just an awful person.)

Or the December day, when I was pregnant with my first daughter, and lost my engagement ring. We had been Christmas shopping all day. I never realized it was gone until after we’d returned home. We spent hours that evening, driving from store to store, retracing every step and scanning the parking lots, searching but never found it. The next day, on Christmas eve morning, I took the dog outside for a walk.  And there in the grass, reflecting in the morning sun was my ring.

Or the day my ex-boyfriend threw the ring box at me and said “Here. I got you something.”  A gorgeous engagement ring, custom made just for me and how he threw the box at me. So terribly romantic. Anyway…

I had always imagined passing my rings and all my other pretty things, down to my daughters. Not that I owned anything spectacular, but each piece had meaning.

And now they were gone. And that made me sad.

But when you’ve been unemployed for 6 months, and it’s 3 weeks before Christmas, diamond rings don’t seem all that important anymore. Not to me, anyway. I used the cash the man at the jewelry store had given me to buy Christmas presents for my girls.

Gifts for two deserving little girls who still believed in and were expecting the arrival of Santa? Or a few rings?

To me, the answer was obvious.

To most people, a ring is a symbol of everlasting love. But to me, a ring is simply another pretty thing that you can wear. Perhaps nothing more.

I’d give up a hundred rings to have just one person who won’t abandon me when things get tough. Someone who will always be there to support me, no matter what.

No material object – and certainly not any kind of ring – can ever replace that.

I’d rather have a man strong enough to hold me when it feels like my entire world is falling apart. Or when it feels like I’m falling apart.

I’d rather have the love and support of my best friend and lover holding my hand, every single day. Because rings and objects don’t mean anything when you’re alone.

In the end, all that really matters is having the people who you love, standing beside you.

And no piece of jewelry could ever be worth more than that.

 

Photo credit: the-collectiveonline.com

Photo credit: the-collectiveonline.com