So this happened on Saturday.
That’s me modeling jewelry for Be You Designs*. It was an awesome experience, one I would definitely do again were it not for the response I received when I posted the pictures. People were coming out of the woodwork to call me beautiful.
Stop here. This is not a plea for more compliments or self esteem coaching. Please don’t queue up Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” and please do not sing. I know that my physical being is pleasing to the eye, and I don’t mind hearing it every once in a while. My trouble lies in the daily struggle to prove that I am so much more than a pretty face. Bear with me.
Her signature on the back of her member’s card caught my attention and slowed my smooth process of scanning and stacking. Patricia. She noticed the pause in my rhythm and asked, with her eyes, what my deal was. I could have told her that my full time job wears me out so by the time I come to work at the store I’m exhausted. Instead I told her the truth.
“My aunt who passed away four years ago was named Patricia,” I explained, “and her signature looked exactly like this.” Down to the way she dotted her “i.” This Patricia had even signed her card in red ink, something my aunt had often done. We struck up a conversation and she told me why she was in the store. It was a young lady’s birthday and she was buying gifts for her. Patricia’s initial plan was to give her friend $50, but, instead, she decided to give her friend gifts from the heart.
“She’s just such a beautiful spirit,” Patricia gushed. “Her light shines through to every one she meets.” I beamed as I thought of the times I’d overheard someone saying such things about me.
“She would probably appreciate hearing that,” I advised Patricia as pulled her receipt from the till. We exchanged smiles. “I’ll let her know then,” she promised, stepping away from the register. She pointed at me “You keep that beautiful attitude.” She commanded. I melted.
It’s compliments like those that do it for me. People can call me pretty all day long, but compliments about my soul, my spirit, my demeanor, those surpass my perfunctory smile, blush, and thank you.
I put so much effort and energy into my spirit that being commended for my prettiness means next to nothing to me anymore. Yeah, I took fifteen minutes this morning trying to get my bun right, but I also spent 30 minutes in prayer, trying to get my spirit right. Yes, I took ten minutes to apply top liner and mascara, but I also spent twenty minutes pleading that I would forget the advice of Crime Mob (Knuck if You Buck!) and stick with the guidance of Matthew (“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God”) while in the workplace.
When you call me beautiful, I need you to mean all of me. Not just skin, hair, and bone structure. So do me this kindness: feel free to compliment my outer shell. Call me gorgeous pretty, attractive, stunning, maybe even sexy. But, more often than not, reserve “beautiful” for my inner spirit.
I thank you.
*Unedited shots by Kevin Marable (his website, facebook, & Instagram)
Jewelry handcrafted by my friend Kaiesha of Be You Designs.
Hair by my friend J. Morgan,
Skirt designed and sewn by my friend Kennesha Lynette.
Me, I just stood there and looked pretty.