Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More Than a Pretty Face

Have you ever noticed that you've been doing something consistently, maybe daily - but you don't even know you were doing it until the day you stop?

Every morning when I wake up and trudge to the bathroom to start the grooming process, I stand before the mirror and take a look. I spend a few seconds evaluating what position, height or smooshiness my hair decided to form itself into during my sleep. Ponder any puffiness or pillow lines in my face. Then wonder to myself, "Am I pretty enough for a husband to love?", "Is this a face a man would be happy to wake up to each morning?"

I have no idea when I started doing that. My gut says it began about the time my relationship with Mr. Burns ended. Maybe it was way before that.  Perhaps it has something to do with my brother glaring at me across the breakfast table, years ago on a weekend visit, when I had short, layered hair which tumbled and hovered all about my head by morning, and saying, "Sheesh, I feel sorry for the man who will have to wake up next to you."

But each morning, after sizing myself up, I have determined, "Yes, I'm pretty. Someone should feel fortunate to see this face each day."

Back in my 20s when I was still optimistic on first dates, if I liked the guy, I would take a moment to assess if his was a face I would want see across the dinner table every day for the rest of my life. (it was not so much about how attractive he was, just if I liked his face. Because admit it, there are faces you don't want to see across from yours every day!) I guess I assumed they did the same to me.

Well, about a week ago, I stumbled to the bathroom one morning, studied the mirror for a second before thinking, "Who cares? It doesn't matter."

That may sound like success.  But it was when my BFF said, "Good for you!", that I realized, no, it's not success. It's not progress. It's something more like despair.

It felt more like, "If there is never ever a day in my life that I get to wake up next to my husband, what does it matter if my face is pleasing?"

Imagine there's a lovely painting that went straight into a dark dusty attic before ever having an audience, then the house burns down and no one ever got to appreciate it. Does it matter how pretty it was? What care the painter put into each brushstroke? Nope. It's a painting that never fulfilled it's destiny. Calling it a shame is generous. What you mean is that it never mattered.

It doesn't matter. Who cares?

That's one of the things that I struggle with in just my daily life. Everywhere I go, I see couples. Out to lunch, at the mall, even driving down the street. Most places I see couples, I wonder what brought them together. Did they simply find each other attractive? Do they ever even discuss the wonder of God's gifts to the world? Have they ever even been to church together? Do they visit the elderly? Volunteer at the city mission together? Then why do they deserve to have a companion in life?

Of course, I know attraction has to do with more than just the physical. But I also realize if a man is ever going to fall in love with me, he'll have to find me attractive first.

I don't like to admit this, but sometimes I look at couples and find the wife to be frumpy or homely and it just makes me frustrated. If I'm doing my job of looking good enough, and being dismissed - how did Ms. Frumalump over there get a husband? Hey, I'm not proud of these thoughts - but there they are. It possibly has to do with the emphasis my mom put on always looking my best. As though it's disrespectful to thrust yourself into society without a bit of blush and lipstick. It's just common courtesy to be put together. Why wouldn't you look your best?

That's part of the agony of being single during the entire span of your life. You know that your other fine qualities are more important in sustaining a relationship. But no one will ever notice all those fine qualities if they don't notice a pretty face first.

Ultimately the pretty face doesn't really matter, and after a lifetime of making sure you possess that okay-looking face, it's a harsh truth to realize. Worst of all, then what?


Krissie said...

The biggest thing that stuck out to me in your painting analogy is that the painting mattered a great deal to the painter, he/she invested a lot into that painting. I know you know God's love for you is beyond comprehension, sometimes it's good to hear a reminder though, so thought I'd share.

I realize it's a completely different ball game, God's love and the love of a man, so I hope that didn't come off as everything should be hunky dory now because God loves you... I know from experience that's just not how that works.

So just know that I'm saying a prayer to your "painter" the one who I know is very invested in you, his artwork, asking Him to fulfill your deepest desires of human companionship in marriage.

MrsK86 said...

Watching other people get what we want can be extremely challenging and cause bitter feelings of disappointment and envy. There is nothing wrong with feeling that way. However, for your own sake, it's probably best not to dwell too much on thoughts like that. Envy is like poison to the mind and does not serve any positive purpose.

It's easy to form an unfavourable opinion of strangers just through observation (and I'll be the first one to admit I have been guilty of that several times!!), but I do believe there is good in everyone, and I think everyone deserves love and happiness. I also firmly believe that there is someone for everyone (though, of course, some people genuinely want to remain single and choose accordingly). I am certain there is someone for you as well.

I am not a church-going person (I would say I am very spiritual, but I don't adhere to one religion in particular), but I believe that my fiance and I were truly meant for each other. Our first date was the result of such a chance meeting, and I am convinced that it was not a coincidence. It feels like everything I experienced up until that point served to get me ready for him and our life together. The love we share and the commitment we have made to one another makes me want to continually strive to be a better person.

I am sure, when you meet your love, you will feel the same way, and you will appreciate him so much more because of the years you spent being single. So the point is, please don't think of your current singleness as some sort of punishment or curse... it does and will serve a purpose in your life. I also find it unlikely that God would punish someone in that way. I find it hard to believe that a wise, compassionate and all-knowing God would be vindictive or petty. I realise that my beliefs are not the same as yours, but I hope you are willing to consider my perspective :-)

By the way, I do agree with you about making an effort to look good. I find it puzzling when I see women who are comfortable in public with unkempt hair, unflattering clothes and no makeup. But then again, good for them that they are happy enough in their own skin to be able to do that :-)

Erin McBride said...

"Look into the water and see your true reflection."

I hope you love this video as much as I do. I especially love it on the tough days.



Genevra said...

Hmmm, I've been thinking about this since I read it last night. More than anything I just feel for you to be going through this struggle at this point in time because it is such a relatable struggle. Thank you for sharing that with us TRS, I always appreciate when people are honest enough to share those secret thoughts that they may not be the most proud of. I can completely relate to thinking stuff like that at one time or another.

TRS said...

Thanks ladies, for your kind thoughts.
I'm a bit surprised though. I didn't intend for this to be seen as so sad... or pitiful. It is just reality. This is life. Each day, I wake up, acutely aware that I am waking up alone. Some days that hurts more than others. But that's okay. That's my life. Whatareyagonnado?

To be clear, I do think I'm pretty. I'm no great beauty. I'd say I'm cute at best. But I'm noticing the age creep up on me, and I think.... If no one wanted me when I only had the one chin... just what do I expect to happen now?!!
What I'm saying is, it doesn't matter. Which is just as frustrating.

The crux of the post is that I wake up every day alone... and I know I'm not supposed to.

CS said...

You are pretty! I saw you once, not sure how I stumbled upon your Facebook page but I did. I would have liked to send you a friend request but was pretty sure you wouldn't have appreciated it, being found and all :)

TRS said...

Aw... Thanks CS!
I'm thinking that occasion had to do with a little trip I took a few months ago. If you want, send a friend request and let me know who you know!
I'm anonymous for professional reasons more than anything else.