Our hair was always clean and brushed, our clothes neat when other people would see us. My favorite dress was one worn decades before by my aunt Glenda, a once white gauzy number that lent itself to wide round twirls in the summertime. I wasn't raised by a mother who put much emphasis on physical appearance save for a lacy barrette on Sunday mornings. She never wore makeup or high heels but she was still the prettiest lady I knew and would sit patiently while I tied her hair into a thousand knots and brushed baby blue dress-up eyeshadow across her lids.
I don't know where my make-up dependance came from. Certainly not my mother's top drawer that held her secret treasures: perfume, her engagement ring, that little gold locket that never had a picture in it no matter how many times I opened it hoping for a new story to be birthed...
It was high school before I realized that it wasn't just Sears Catalogue models who used Maybelline. Durham was small and simple and handmade jumpers and Chap Stick and brown bagged lunches. The move to a Hanover school brought kids who shopped at the mall and cafeteria lines and lipstick.
Lori Summers was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen. She was only two years older but I was pretty sure she was already a woman. Her boyfriend looked like a Ken doll with tight blond curls and a tighter t-shirt and she had puffed up hair-sprayed bangs and lips so red and shiny that they looked perpetually wet. I wanted to be her. Even though she wasn't particularly friendly. I wanted to be pretty.
And it mattered. Because somehow mascara took me from invisible to visible and there was no going back. It became part of my identity and now I sometimes struggle to find myself behind it.
It took YEARS before I even let Scott see me face-naked. I wore waterproof mascara to bed. Ugh. How embarrassing is that? Like I couldn't accept who I was beneath it all and didn't trust that he'd like me without it.
It has taken being in my 30's and sensing my mortality and being excruciatingly tired before I can actually embrace a fresh-faced version of myself. And he looks at me exactly the same way. Dressed up and fancy. Sweat pants and pony tail. He loves me. Just me.
And it's okay to be at home and not made up and barefoot and every freckle screaming freedom and somewhere Lori Summers probably has those huge bangs slicked back in an elastic band and I can be worth as much all Plain Jane as I am when I'm all Fancy Pants (not that I even own a pair of 'fancy pants').
What it really comes down to is he wants me as much in pajamas as he does in lingerie so I'll count that a big stinking win and greet him home from work tonight all face-naked and fancy free!
My prayer is that I can do my very best to instill in my daughter the beauty of her heart. Kindness. Sweetness. Selflessness. Grace. Sure, I'll let her borrow my blush and eye liner but I'll also exalt her smile, the little dimple on her left cheek, the power of her hugs and the warmth of her spirit, the breadth of her dreams and the majesty of her giftings.
Because that is the pretty that matters.
That is the pretty that changes the world!