On Being Pretty

I would like to speak completely openly about something right now, and I don’t feel it’s something a lot of women are comfortable talking about. I am here to talk to you about being pretty.

My history of body image has been less tumultuous than average, I’d say. In high school, I thought I was slightly heavier than I really was, but other than that, I haven’t had complaints, and I first began owning the thought that I’m beautiful around 2010 when I was in my early 20’s. I saw room for improvement, of course, but I still saw my reflection and thought, “I am a beautiful person, and I am comfortable with who I am.”

My dating life, for what it’s worth, has been nonexistent my whole life. That is not what this post is about. My point is that, whether I was putting off a vibe, or whether they just didn’t exist, I rarely had men or women expressing to me in whatever way that they were interested in me. I can think of exactly two people. Except for occasionally being honked at on the street.

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Flash forward to my life in Los Angeles. I moved here in 2011, nearly two years ago. The life of an artist, in my experience, is always bringing new and unexpected opportunities. I got involved with a company of hair professionals in January of 2012. They cut my hair a few times, but it wasn’t until November of last year that they put a look on me that was drastically different. They dyed my hair light blonde, gave me purple tips, and slapped on some asymmetry. I love anything this team has ever done for me, but this look required something extra. I looked at myself and said, “I can’t just wear a t-shirt and jeans anymore.” I had a stylish cut, and I began to dress and make up myself stylishly, too. I wore makeup consistently for the first time in my life, and I learned to accessorize. It’s been a lot of fun exploring my feminine side. Most importantly, I do it for me and no one else. Dressing up is just one of the many art forms I enjoy.

But people started to notice.

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Individuals at work began to treat me differently, and it makes me uncomfortable. I feel I get away with things in my department that my coworkers wouldn’t. I’m not talking about murder, here, but I do feel I get different treatment.

Total strangers started doing nice things for me: letting me park in a closer garage that’s only supposed to be for visitors instead of employees, for instance. People on the street, men, usually, stare at me now as I walk by. Many talk to me.

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I know very well how I was treated when it was just for my personality. With my dull blonde hair and pretty but wholly unremarkable face, I knew exactly where I stood with people, and that is how I was raised. I am from the South/Midwest, and we are not raised to be superficial. We are raised to be wholesome individuals who contribute to society. The difference between how I was treated then and how I’m treated now are worlds apart. And it’s all because of how I look. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. And this is why I’ve decided to go back to how I was before.

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I still like dressing up. I still like wearing some makeup most days. I will dress up when I like and dress how I like. But I do not want to represent the pretty people. It is not for me. When everything started happening effortlessly for me, I felt I lost something. I worried I’d lose my drive and passion and start relying on others doing things for me based on my looks. That is not how I want to earn my future. I want to earn it because I am a decent person, fun to be around, and a hard worker. I don’t want to be handed my life on a silver platter.

Here is a related post called, “On Being Ugly:”

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