Lately, I’ve been thinking less and less about being pretty and more about what feels good and right to me. Skincare over makeup. Messy hair that’s clean and soft and smells like roses. Silk on my skin. A flush of color on my lips and cheeks, a feral brow, glasses. I’m sinking into feeling more comfortable in my skin, shedding external standards and expectations and molds that never fit me anyway. And I’m leaning into myself.
That kind of comfort is a thing I’ve always been drawn to. It’s almost tangible when a person knows who they are, when they can sit in themselves in any state and all they exude is beauty. I don’t know that I’ve ever been called pretty. I don’t know that it’s a fitting way describe me. Pretty brings a softness to places I’d rather keep a little harder and erases the softness in the unexpected places that I find most beautiful.
Erin McKean wrote, “You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female’.”
Those words have stayed with me on days where I feel terrible and look it. Where I’m riddled with an anxiety so fierce, even leaving the house is difficult. I felt affirmed reading those words.
“You don’t owe prettiness to anyone.” A gentle and necessary reminder.