Call Me Smart, Not Pretty

This morning I woke up feeling like I had the sex appeal of an old beaten mini van with years of waffles ground in, the seats covered dirt and the central locking system permanently broken. Today, I feel and look as attractive as the clunker making its way into the parking lot that you want nothing to do with.

My skin is breaking out, I’m on my way to catch a 6 a.m. flight out of Montreal after 16 days away and 7 flights in that time, I am surrounded by French women with perfectly winged eye liner and I have just eaten a chocolate bar for breakfast. Oh, and my boyfriend just let me know my hair is frizzy!

I have been so down on myself and feeling in such competition with the Instagram ladies of the internet, if I wasn’t so exhausted I would be in a ball crying at my outward appearance.

Today, I don’t feel pretty. I feel well traveled, proud of my latest writing and kind because I offered my outlet to a stranger, but pretty is not on my list. Maybe today is a breakthrough, I don’t owe this airport, or anyone for that matter my prettiness.

I am mad that society expects physical beauty out of me. This is a complicated grievance. I am obsessed with Man Repeller and Into The Gloss, I love fashion and beauty blogs but getting good grades makes me feel way more attractive than any outfit ever could.

Beauty is a cherry on top, that sometimes, I have time for. I’m no stranger to a flat iron or the black hole of Sephora where I have justified $50 primer, so I can justify $50 foundation. I have also justified $220 AG jeans because who are you really if the pockets of your jeans don’t let the world know. My drawers are full of makeup and palettes and my Pinterest is dedicated to the perfect daytime makeup routine, so I do have a background in vanity.

“Pretty” is all add-ons in my opinion. A face full of makeup and some really well ripped jeans means nothing in my world if you can’t back it with some good humor, a kind soul and a hardworking brain.

Society prioritizes physical appearance so highly for women. They tell us we should become physically ill and wear waist trainers and we should contour our faces until we are all rectangular prisms. These are the ways to act like ladies in today’s world.

What if in some magical land, I don’t want to be remembered for being pretty? Will my tombstone read, “Emily Liber, above average beauty to some, below average beauty to others, never learned to contour”?

The answer is no. So while I have this short time on Earth, I want to make sure I am remembered for being mindful, smart and generous a thousand times over than just being pretty.

Beauty is weird. You can lose the weight society tells you to, you can look like a goddess floating on air in the disgusting humidity and somehow, these are never enough to make you whole.

I’m trying to be whole and for me, pretty is pretty low on the list of how to get there.

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