Trash talk was a pastime in my house.
With 2 older brothers and a highly competitive father, our weekly foosball matches were not only a display of skill… but a battle of wits.
Being the youngest and the only girl, I felt like I had a lot to prove.
So, naturally, I gave myself a set of rules:
- Be great: Train harder, and be better at foosball than they are.
- Be fearless: Don’t let them see you sweat.
- Be serious: Don’t give them any reason to doubt your competency.
These rules guided me not only on match day but throughout the week.
I never wanted to be perceived as silly, because obviously, that violated rule #3. So, I’d weigh my interests against my brothers, and draw my conclusions from there.
You can probably imagine why I felt the need to hide my love of Claudia Schiffer’s “perfectly fit abs” workout tapes.
I did them, but I hid them.
The second they left the house, I would pop in the VHS (taking it back old school), move around the furniture, and get my sweat on.
I felt strong, powerful, and beautiful, and by the time they got home, they were none the wiser.
Looking back my brothers would’ve loved this for me. They never gave me any reason to think caring about my appearance was shallow, and they actually celebrated and treasured the fact I was a girl.
I just assumed it made me weak and reasoned they’d probably think that too.
>>> Fast forward to high school
Now the boys were paying me attention and it was the girls who were doing the trash-talking. Just fabulous!
It was during this time that my take on “beauty” got really distorted.
After a guy friend, whom I previously declined dating, said:
“Sarah all the guys think you’re hot, and because of that they assume you’re easy.”
EASY… that stung.
So in my mind, my own beauty was becoming quite the issue.
It was the culprit for women disliking me and it was giving men the wrong idea.
I decided to minimize it.
Beauty was not my friend; it was my adversary.
That scene from Mean Girls sums it up pretty well…
“You’re like really pretty,” the Queen B Regina George says to the new girl.
Cady thanks her.
Regina immediately snaps back… “So you agree, you think you’re really pretty?
I spent the next few years trying to make myself palatable and unthreatening to this gaggle of mean girls and avoided any situation where a guy could possibly get close.
It never felt good.
I felt out of sync with myself. On the one hand, I enjoyed looking nice and having fun with beauty, on the other, I visualized that big red target on my back.
It pissed me right off that I had to dim myself to make insecure women feel comfortable.
I went back and forth and concluded that a serious woman would never give much thought to something so trivial as her own beauty…
… and she would never let her beauty bring her advantages.
Nope, you couldn’t call me shallow… but I was dumb.
Those women? They would’ve found something to dig on regardless.
That’s just who they were!
I didn’t inspire them to be more confident, I just handed them the keys to strip my own.
And the men? I let one bitter little boy convince me that all men thought the way he did. When in reality, he was just wounded by the rejection.
I’ve come to learn since that men are inspired by beauty. For them it’s not trivial, it’s lifegiving! They literally have gone to war for it.
In a similar way to how a strong and steady man can put a woman at ease, our beauty inspires and brings color to their life.
I came face to face with myself:
Me denying or minimizing the importance of it was a solid “me problem”.
Comments like this followed me throughout my life, but my reaction to them has changed dramatically.
I started to see trash-talking women for what they were… jealous and insecure.
Whether it was my looks or my career success, they were always going to find a reason to try to discredit me and break my confidence.
So I stopped giving them rent space in my head.
I started to enjoy my beauty and have fun with it, and I attracted so many women who stood beside me enjoying theirs!
And when it comes to men now… I’ll gladly take every held door, every complimentary word, and the double takes I get throughout the day when my hubby walks by.
We all have our superpowers:
Intelligence, drive, humor, beauty, empathy … the list goes on.
Some things are natural gifts, and some are developed.
Who gets to say what is trivial?
Why are we okay to delight in beauty when it comes in the shape of a flaming sunset, a snow-capped mountain, toffee-colored roses, or breathtaking architecture, but not when it comes to ourselves?
Why do feel guilty when it comes to celebrating and enjoying our own God-given beauty? Are we not as worthy as a rose?
Why are we okay to compliment young girls on how magical and beautiful they are, but as grown women, we write our beauty off?
You my dear, are a whole person: inside and out!
Your beauty is a gift.
I want to encourage you to step into, fully embrace, and own the absolutely gorgeous woman you are.
And the next time someone tries to throw you shade just, “go on and brush your shoulders off”.