Essays · Family · Life Stuff

Beautiful Enough

Part of a series of posts from my old blog that I’d like to occasionally share with you all! I hope you enjoy some life stuff in between my usual beauty-related posts.  🙂 This is circa 2011, something I wrote as a newlywed trying to cope with insecurities, and the role my husband has played in that.

Strawberry Rouge Blog

As much as Anne of Green Gables was a part of my childhood, a character who resided in my very soul, there was something about her I could never understand. I have valued my red hair as if it were a secret, a stolen treasure, and I’ve never understood why any redhead wouldn’t feel the same.

I didn’t ever feel pretty. But red hair. That was different. Different, perhaps, meant special; and special, I hoped in my childish heart, meant beautiful. It was a logical conclusion.

My hair has always changed color. When we visited Ireland, it was copper-penny red. This last year it turned almost completely blonde, the red fading away in preparation for the summer. I hated it. I’m not a blonde, I said. I am a redhead. Write the words above my head: Red Hair. Different. Special. Beautiful.

On our honeymoon, my husband said, “What do you mean you can’t dye your hair? Of course you can. If you want to, you can.” So I headed off to the salon to get a pixie cut and to restore my hair to its previous copper-penny glory.

Fantastic! I loved walking around the seaside town of Monterey, California, and seeing that of all the people here, all the hundreds of people, I don’t see anyone with hair like this. Different. Special. Beautiful, oh, how I hope Beautiful.

My husband tries to get me to go out without makeup. He calls the Rachelle with makeup, jewelry, and well-thought-out clothing The World’s Rachelle. When I am bare-faced, hair askew – not just that, but sometimes oily-faced, usually blemished, even at times unshowered – this is His Rachelle. He doesn’t stop me from dressing up or putting my Face on. He sure does like it better when I don’t though, and I like the look of pride he has when we go out to eat and I don’t do a thing with myself. Though I find the entire concept odd, I also find that I want that look from him more often. So we go out and I avoid the mirrors but I look at his face and this is good.

I have not yet found the comfortable space I’ve always been looking for. No more do I feel like the child who stared at herself in the mirror, so unhappy with the tragic curse of blonde eyebrows and invisible lashes, an invisible face. Nor do I feel like the teenager who spent two hours applying layers of concealer and foundation to cover my acne, and artificial highlights, shadows, the correct concaves, the best face; still not enough, but the best I could do.

Now I look at magazines and I’ve seen enough videos on the internet about Photoshop to spot where the model’s torso was adjusted, her skin brushed with that magical, unattainable sheen. I know that what we see in magazines and movies is as impossible to grasp as reaching out and touching a moment or a memory. It’s impossible because it’s untrue, it doesn’t exist, and I know this very well.

I do still find myself wishing though. I wish for this different thing, or maybe that. Just a little; it’s always a little thing, and then, I say, I might be satisfied. I want to not wish, and I hope that someday I don’t anymore. I don’t know how realistic that is.

Until then, I do what I can. I let my husband convince me I am beautiful enough as I am to go out just as me. So, we go out, and I avoid the mirrors, with maybe just a quick glance to assure myself it’s not that bad, but mostly I look at his face. I look for outside reassurance, a reflection of myself in someone else’s eyes.

And this – it is good enough for now.

original artwork by the most kind and fantastic asia sanchez


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