I have a confession to make, I was not always the sexy, self-confident, self-assured, spit fire, you know have all come to know! Hard to believe right?
You may recognize the title from a line in the lyrics in the Eagles smash hit, “Life in the Fast Lane” the line goes, “He was brutally handsome, and she was terminally pretty.” Now the meaning obviously is, that she is drop dead gorgeous. But in my fucked up psyche, as a confused teen, to me, it always meant that although she was outwardly pretty, she was hideous inside. Now stay with me on this, because you will recognize yourself here in the words, maybe, or maybe not! Now, the first time I heard this song I was with my first crush, and I remember how those words resonated with me. While he was enamoured with the line “There were lines on the mirror, lines on her face, all I could do was obsess with the terminally pretty line. There is nothing more painful than to have people tell you that you are pretty, beautiful, sexy, and feel like they are all full of shit, because you feel nothing but ugly, deep down to the core. You don’t even realize that is what you are feeling, but there is that vague recognition, when someone tells you this in their most sincerest voice, and you look at them, and cannot for the life of you, comprehend how they see this beauty when all you see and feel is this hideous, unlovable being. I understand that most teens probably have felt this way to some degree, at some point in their life as they are navigating the confusing transition between adolescence and adulthood, but for me, this insecurity and lack of self-esteem was so ingrained in my being, for quite a long time, it was all-consuming. Now don’t get me wrong, there were times when I felt invincible, and my sexy self was rocking someone’s world, but for the most part in my early days, I was so convinced that I was an ugly ducking that it was truly unfathomable to me that anyone could see me as pretty. I thought that I had overcome this innate insecurity though, almost in its entirety, until just recently. I was having a conversation with my youngest son and my daughter, and during a change in topic, my son said he liked the way my hair looked, it was a curly mess, or so I perceived it to be, you see since my late 30’s, my hair has taken on a life of its own, as my once wavy hair, has become super curly if I let it air dry and don’t take the time to blow it straight. Now at times it is almost sexy, other times, well yikes, it is just downright scary! So, I said to my son, “Thanks babe, but my hair looks horrible!” Without skipping a beat or even contemplating his thoughts, he said, “Jeez Mom, you have no self-esteem, we need to work on that!” I was floored, it was so obvious to him at 16, yet I thought I had hidden this side of myself from everyone, but it was so painfully obvious, that even as evolved as I had become, recently turning 50, the remnants of my younger self are still there, and still rear their ugly head from time to time.
It got me thinking about my younger days as a girl in my hood. I was a tomboy, I loved to get dirty, climb trees, play baseball, play street hockey, ride dirt bikes, jump ramps, you name it, if it wasn’t girlie, I did it! This was fine for me and went unchecked, and the boys embraced me as one of the guys, that is, until I hit puberty. Then suddenly, I found myself getting some added attention from the boys, more playful banter, read: Smut talk at home plate, and not just to get in my head to strike me out either, and to be honest, I wasn’t exactly balking at the notion of what they were implying. Now with this, I realized that I was becoming more of a girlie girl, and less of a tomboy. While I still loved playing sports, riding dirt bikes, and all the other stuff I had enjoyed before, I found my adrenaline rush was now coming from the endorphins of a boy-girl crush. Some Baby Soft Perfume, a little Kissing Potion Bubble Gum lip gloss on my pouty lips, now became something entirely different, in the eyes of the guys who once only saw me merely for my quickness in the outfield, and my ability to stop a flying puck with ease. It was such a confusing transition, and when my friends (boys), would say you look really nice, when I’d walk around the block to elicit their attention, I didn’t feel that way, and I wanted to sooo badly! Truth be told, it seemed like the more attention my looks garnered, the more I convinced myself that I was horrid. I am not joking. I use to have people say to me, “Well you know that your pretty and guys like you,” and I truly didn’t feel that I was attractive in the way others were seeing me. Yes, I was always popular, and had a lot of friends, yet deep down inside I always felt that I didn’t measure up. I strived to be pretty, because I didn’t feel pretty, and it became a ritual with me and almost a way of life. It wasn’t until my 30’s, that I could finally relax enough in my own skin to accept that I was beautiful, now I know that sounds so cliché, but there truly does come a point in your life where you do recognize your worth, and feel your power, and it doesn’t necessarily come in the way you think that it will. You see your beauty yes, but you see that you have more to offer then looks and attractiveness. Now I see, that I am a damn good Mom, an awesome wife, intelligent, funny, compassionate, kind, loving, and sexual, a pretty good cook, and not to shaby of a writer! I have finally accepted that maybe on most days, I could be someone’s sexy wife, a hot friend, or merely just a hot mess. Somehow, I fell into the rhythm of my soul, and I truly experienced self-love on such a deep level, that it became so empowering to finally see myself for the woman I had curated and had allowed to show through.
I now see that facing my insecurities and accepting that I am flawed, made me overcome this sickness that I felt inside. I also realized that part of my lack of self-esteem came from my relationship with my father, and never feeling like I was good enough in his eyes. It’s not that he didn’t love me, because I know he absolutely did, but he made me feel deeply insecure when I had gotten pregnant at 15, becasue it had been so difficult for him to accept, and this made me feel like damaged goods in his eyes. When that happened, it shook me to my core and zapped me of my self-esteem. Let’s face it, if you can’t be perfect in your father’s eyes, who can you be perfect to? Now don’t misunderstand my feelings for my Daddy, I am not bitter whatsoever, and my father and I made peace with all of this long before he left this world, further, I took care of him up until he took his final breath, and I was truly blessed to be able to care for him in my home in his final days on this earth as I helped him with his transition from this world to the next. However, the gravity of what I was in his eyes, in my younger days, stayed with me, until I was able to see why I had the patterns I did. inWhich was such a catheridic process.
I am happy to say, that because of my experience, my children are probably three of the most self-assured, confident, bursting with self-esteem, teens that I know. They are comfortable with who they are, are not afraid to express their individuality, are all funny and clever, and in fact, my youngest son, takes this to a whole other level. Probably being the baby of the family, but he never doubts his abilities, is tough, charismatic, and has this uncanny ability to make anyone around him instantly like him, and want to be his friend. He had Senior girls wanting to date him as a Freshman. While he was uninterested, thankfully, even if merely for my benefit, he gloated that the opportunity to date was there if he so chose to. Now I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I will! I have made it my mission as a mother to ensure that my children have a strong sense of self and encouraged them to express themselves and to be who God had intended them to be, not who I, or anyone else needs them to be. I made them see the beauty in themselves, and the love in all they are, because someone loves, values, and cherishes them, for who they are at any moment, unconditionally!
So, maybe “Terminally Pretty” isn’t terminal at all. For me, I see now that there is beauty found in all that I do, all that I say, all that I am, when I put forth good intentions, love with all of my heart, accept my truth, follow my path, and strive to see the good in all. And maybe, even more so, in the hideous, morbidly grotesque, depths of this, significanlty less, tortured soul.
So, to you I say, speak your truth, know your worth, and take a bow! You are “Terminally Pretty!”