Truer words could not be spoken. She has airy little curls, a turned up nose, tiny little hands and feet and a smile that communicates love and mischief --all in the same breath. After all, who else do I know that sings Old MacDonald "e-i-e-i-e" from the top of her lungs to a family joyfully laughing? Yes, pretty and funny fit little Kate.
Oh, did I say MISCHIEF??
So, I began thinking about this word pretty. When do we as women first learn about pretty? What does it mean? It reaches for us everywhere and with different definitions amid our "raisin". But in connection to our childhood influence about pretty, our western culture also stacks the rules--size, shape, style, age--the definition as established by magazines, movies and television, mom and sister, girlfriends, spouse, neighborhood and school. It grabs us young and sometimes has the strength to make or break us. Self confidence built partly on looks is rarely escaped as the toddler moves through adolescence into womanhood.
so you can find pretty...the BOLD signage is EVERYWHERE
I've noticed (and I suspect you have also) that I haven't fit pretty rules (if ever) for many years. When did you first notice crow's feet at the outer edge of your eyes? Crooked teeth? Less than a perfect nose or neck?A sagging body? Thighs that changed size overnight? Hmmm. And for me, the struggle against the rules seems harder with passing years. The wrinkles, the pants that fit perfectly a few weeks ago...what happened? So I admit, in accord with the beauty sign, a moderate concession and striving to pretty...a good haircut and lipstick does wonders for my self esteem and sense of pretty.
Reminds me of a delightful series of books by Judith Viorst. A favorite writer (well known for her children's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible,No Good, Very Bad Day), she has done a series of short prose books based on each decade, beginning about age 40. Each short book is titled Suddenly I'm 40 or 50 or whatever decade. I love her because she hasn't forgotten us and our core being, even at age 80. ...Find them in your library or look them up on your reader. You'll see yourself and laugh out loud. Plus, they make wonderful birthday gifts.
But back to these imposed rules for beauty. Don't you recall your best friend that hated her boobs or her nose? Is that r-e-a-l-l-y what she was about? Was/is that really her essence, the bond of your friendship? Of course not. You loved her for her insight, her loyalty, her humor. You loved her because she loved you and you shared your very beings. .. your inside pretty. Perhaps mom said it best when she guided us, "Be careful how you make other people feel."
mom--glowing in her happy 1940's pretty
So, as my outer pretty fades with age, I ask what can I do to be pretty-- inside? Experts tell us it is all about happy. It is about inner contentment. It is giving away a part of our self. Simply identified I believe inside pretty comes when we obey God's word "Do unto others as you would do unto yourself." A straightforward message
for pretty insides--not
It's the talent of giving--a bit of self. Maybe it is the phone call that asks, "How are you?" Maybe it is the good pot of soup with friends in the kitchen? Maybe it is the card, the visit to the hurting soul or
With age, one thing seems obvious. It is NOT the recipe card of outward pretty by advertising standards. Unfailing pretty comes from the inside of us. And how thankful I am that we have pretty that doesn't fade away and can be enhanced money free, day after day.
How do we make other's feel? Yea, that good feelin' makes all the pretty friends I know.
Share a pretty week,
A favorite scripture: " For you created my inmost being. you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalms 139: 13-14
A favorite book: POEMS and SKETCHES of E.B. White, Harper and Row, 1981 (Charlotte's Web fame). I love to frequent the $1.00 boxes of books outside book stores--find this there, on-line or in your local library.