"It has done me no good; to be pretty... to be admired... I want to be different!" -- Eugenia "Angels and Insects"
When I was a girl no older than four, my distant father sat me down for a talk. It had been discovered that I was a genius of sorts and much hullabaloo was made about that. My father rarely talked to me at all, so I assumed the conversation would have something to do with the recent events. He leaned forward and motioned me to do the same. He told me that he was glad that there was something that I was good at. Not being a pretty girl, being a smart one made up for it.
Why did he feel the need to put his four year-old down? Was it because he really felt that way? Did he feel threatened by me and want to tear me down? I tried to tell myself that was the reason but the conversation called other things to my attention. For example, no members of my family, with the exception of my aunt Deedee, ever mentioned my appearance. They discussed others’ looks; i.e. “Your Aunt Neth was a great beauty.” They also went on about my being clever and amusing.
The children at school were worse. Some claimed I was “ugly” simply because my hair was black. They mostly called me fat, ugly, etc. I tried to get in their good graces by dressing in haute couture. I styled my hair in the most fashionable ways and they still ridiculed me.
Again, we can say that they felt threatened and preyed on my insecurities. Teachers made no secret about my success in academics and often pointed me out as an example, something I never wanted.
Over all these years I have given much obsession to the concept of beauty; being beautiful, becoming so. I assess the qualities I have and would at any time give them up to be beautiful. I know that my sense of humor and intelligence are rare and may make me “beautiful” to some. I don’t want that. I want the real head-turing deal. I know it fades. I know it is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t care. I want it.
Maybe I already have it. I see the way I get treated versus others and the better quality of treatment my friends receive when with me. I get sometimes double and triple takes. I have never been rejected or had an unsuccessful date (the humor helps). I get groped often. It usually happens in public places by men with kids. Talk about sleazy! I get hit in by parades of lowlifes. Is it because of my rare qualities? Am I pretty? Is it both?
I am different and all I really want is to be appreciated for my looks. Guess we want what we think we can’t attain.