I do not believe that I am ugly.
Many young women of my acquaintance seem to think this. Roommate’s constant complaining about how hideous she looks ring in my ears. Now while Roommate is no stunning gemstone of utter beauty, she is very pretty. It seems to me that the girls in my dorm are always in front of a mirror with disgruntled, often disgusted looks splayed across their faces. I usually do not understand.
I have good reason to believe I am not ugly. First off Best Friend consistently tells me I am beautiful. And he is not allowed to lie to me. It is the first rule of our friendship. Secondly, my other friends tell me. And while it is true that they are technically not violating any rules, oaths,
or sacred trusts by lying to me, I highly doubt that so many would tell me the same lie. Thirdly, I have had random guys in the mall stop to tell me how lovely I am or how intense my eyes are. Why would they lie to me? They have no reason to flatter me as they will probably never see me ever again.
Of course, I have many days when I do not feel beautiful. I have many days when I do not act beautiful. I probably even have days when I do not look beautiful.
When I started coming to college here I believe I suffered something along the lines of culture shock. I have always given and received compliments freely. If I find someone attractive, funny, likeable-I tell them so. On this small campus girls only give compliments to girls. I do not know if the male class gives each other compliments, but they do not give them to girls. The other day I realized the full intensity of this social quirk. I was sitting in one of the men’s residence halls watching a football game with Friend Boy when I realized that Friend Boy was wearing a green shirt and green looked very nice on him. I told him this fact. I received an interesting look from Stand-in Big Brother who was sitting in the chair next to mine. Friend Boy seemed to think nothing of it but I instantly asked myself if I had been too forward. In years and societies past I would have never thought twice about complimenting a guy on his shirt but I hadn’t heard of such things happening here.
Later that evening when I was getting ready to leave for my own dorm, room, bed, when Stand-in Big Brother stopped me. “Kite,” he said, “do you like Friend Boy?”
Granted, I may spend a lot of time with Friend Boy but 90% of the time it is in a large group of people in places like the graveyard or Taco Bell’s parking lot. This is hardly an intimate setting for coddling a newfound romance. If I truly liked Friend Boy wouldn’t there be other hints aside
from my complimenting his shirt? No one would have a problem with expressing admiration of a car, a piece of furniture, someone else’s water bottle, the arrangement of someone’s room; however if a personal compliment is given it is received in a completely unintended way. I suppose what I am trying to say is that I have always appreciated the openness I have had with the world. The inhabitants of the northeastern United States have the reputation of being lightly cold and uncaring and I have found this to be true, but I have also found that my generation is less so than the adults of my world. If I think a boy is good-looking, I have always told him so and have often received the same favor in return. I miss this openness and wish that it was accepted in this little circle of loving, Christian people. It is discouraging when a simple compliment is thrown askew and taken the wrong way by someone who I am quite close with and should know me better than to make an assumption.
The concept of greeting one another with a holy kiss has been discarded in the Christian community due to our culture. When I was in high school, it was my goal to spread joy to the world. I was captain of the cheer team and employed my girls to help me do this. I began by creating a close-knit group of girls who loved each other and supported each other in and out of practice. When the team went through tough times we still loved and supported one another. I started giving each of them a word of encouragement, a hug, and a kiss on the cheek before they left practice each day.
The kisses took off.
Before very long, my cheerleaders filled the hallways of my high school with innocent little cheek kisses and kind words. It stayed mostly among the girls, but once in a while it was even acceptable for a boy to receive a kiss on the cheek. A hug was always accepted.
This epidemic of kindness and affection did wonders for lightening the mood around me. I saw the effect on a person’s face before and after I had thrown my arms around them and pressed my lips briefly against their cheek. They smiled. They laughed.
The average human being likes feeling good about themselves. They like receiving compliments, being hugged, even being innocently kissed on the cheek. These are usually seen as good things. My question to my society now is why has it been turned around? Why are these things so obsolete that they are misunderstood when they do occur?
How you feel about yourself should not depend on the opinions of mortal human beings. You are who you are and that's just how it is. You may as well like it because you can't change it. However, it is nice to receive that kind word, the admiring glance, the gentle affection. It's reassuring.
Life is defined by you.