Friday, October 5, 2012

Find Your "Pretty"

While responding to a short interview questionnaire for Zen Girl Activewear (I am October's Zen Girl), I was spurred to write something that explores the topic of what my bestie and I call "finding your pretty."

What I've noticed is that the people who've always grown up beautiful and have been praised for their beauty rely on that exterior endowment to "skip" many necessary developmental steps along the way of growing up. Many such women and men have always breezed through life because someone else always did the hard work for them. Social and interview skills did not have to develop due to the fact that qualifications were overlooked for their good looks. They never had to fend for themselves because they never knew how to be alone; someone was always by their side looking out for them. Once they cross into their late 30s and 40s, gravity and loss of elasticity take a toll on their skin. They aren't getting the same reactions or results from people that they're used to. And...they panic. Sometimes, even throw adult-sized tantrums in the forms of binge drinking, substance abuse, multiple elective surgeries, and heavy demands on their significant others to dote on and spoil them as they would have been in their teens and 20s. Soon, relationships meet dead ends and sifting through partners year after year becomes a norm.

One Oprah show (you can read a summary and catch some video clips here) I caught a while back, Cybill Shepherd had mentioned something like this and it made total sense to me why I witnessed so many of my handsome peers go through these dramatic ups and downs. They only relied on the outside pretty and never built up their inside pretty. You see, your inner pretty gets better with age and outer pretty alters at an alarming rate. There is a verse in the Bible that even talks about that. Proverbs 31:30 says "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting..." and then it goes on to talk about the character of a woman. I have also noticed that the external beauty of the people with true inner beauty catches up with the inside.

I understand when people are "late bloomers" or just figuring their lives out. But when the process looks like years of ongoing nomad-like inability to settle into what one truly is meant to be, it's a lack of finding their inner "pretty."  For example, Sandy has been dating Mark for a while now and had a life-changing epiphany and wants him to become another version of her: she's a vegan and does Kundalini yoga. So, he decides to cook more vegan dishes and goes to yoga with her once a week. He doesn't particularly subscribe to either ideal completely, but he sees the validity in her passion for them and loves her so meets her halfway. 6 months later, she realizes many are allergic to glutens, but since she loves it, demands that it not be allowed in the house because maybe she, too, is allergic. She starts to preach the gospel of yoga to his friends and pressures them into coming to classes with her or makes them feel "on a lower plane of evolution" whenever she talks about her enlightening yoga practice. Suddenly, she starts harping on other yogis around town and gossiping to her friends about the un-yogic ways of so-and-so. Soon, Mark notices that all she talks about is yoga and all she wears is yoga clothes. Somewhere down the line, their next goal has become to free the community of all meat eaters and non-yogis and perhaps start an ashram. Mark decides he has had enough and opts out of the relationship. He wants to talk about politics, the Lakers game, the economy, his career aspirations and dreams for his future family. He suddenly found a completely different version of whom he met years ago because she was constantly uncomfortable with where she was on a daily basis.

On another side of the spectrum, Mirabel decides she wants a good looking younger boy that treats her like she's the sexiest woman alive. She wants to date someone that has enough money to take her out on dates and a house preferably because she wants to settle down soon. She is not in her 20s anymore, so she thinks she NEEDS to close the deal soon. She talks about marriage all the time to her friends and to him as well. They unofficially do say someday they want that, but her guy seems to be dragging his feet which is exacerbating to her, but she doesn't want to be thrown in the dating pool yet again. You see, he feels the pressure coming from her more than it feels like his idea, so he's not so keen on the idea anymore. Plus, he's younger and a man...he feels he has a lot more time before he settles down. For now, it's just good to chill for the time being because she's cute and they like similar things.

Still another sample in the spectrum is Giordana, who is gorgeous and successful. She wants only the boys that look exactly like her: fit, trim, strong, athletic. She also wants someone to blow her mind intellectually and to tame her headstrong tendencies with machismo. She's social so she wants someone social, too. Oh yea, he also has to be a runner just like her so they can go running together and he needs to know how to dress well. Thing is...she also has to be physically SO attracted to him in spite of including all of the above. Guess what? She's a serial dater can't seem to love herself enough to know she is capable of loving someone deeply, flaws and all. That much intolerance of the other translates to some or much intolerance of oneself, no?

These are mixtures of cases (mostly girls, some guys) of random acquaintances that I've encountered over the years and all names mentioned here are made up. When you are comfortable with who you are and know exactly where you want to go, someone who wants to go to the similar path will suddenly merge paths with you. One's path shouldn't overlap the other's. The two paths merge. Love shouldn't be like a forced jigsaw puzzle. If it looks like it fits and almost does but it doesn't quite just click into place, move on. Even though you're lonely, you have to learn what it is that YOU need to live a happy and honorable life before you factor in anyone else. It happens when you're ready. Find your inner pretty. Be proud of what you're good at and see if you can make a living out of it. Touch lives with your talents. Know your limits and love them. Improve yourself don't become someone else. When you find your pretty and your capacity to love yourself is when you'll become the best giver of love. Otherwise, you're faking it and there is no happiness in that. And people can tell fake eventually. Your unhappiness surfaces a lot more than you think, even if you are a great actor. There is a Korean proverb that says: There is no lie in this world. Meaning, eventually truth will be revealed at some point; it's only a matter of time.

When others keep having to tell you your worth, one day it'll stop because it becomes tiresome. You can go find another group of friends to keep this up for you, but then after a while, the jig is up again....and so repeats the cycle. Do your community but most importantly yourself a favor:

 Find your pretty.

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