I am a refrigerator with a head. It’s not the most flattering description of myself that I’ve heard, but it’s the one I find the most humorous. My mother was incensed that someone would describe me in such a way and I must admit that I was offended as well. Then I looked into a mirror and burst out laughing. It was true! My broad shoulders, strong arms, wide hips, and powerful thighs give me a boxy-rectangular appearance. I am not beautiful by today’s standards, but I am beautiful nonetheless. I believe that a person’s beauty is not external but comes from within.
My ridicule as a She-man began in elementary school. I was a tomboy with short hair, an aggressive attitude, and, therefore, I did not fit in. In high school, an upperclassman told me she wanted to give me a makeover so I could be pretty. I was outraged! I didn’t think I needed help to be pretty, I thought I already was.
A guy I once knew told me that I might be more attractive if I walked like a girl—something I have never learned how to do—and I hated him for saying it. Walking doesn’t make anyone beautiful and I shouldn’t have to change anything about myself to be considered as such.
My grandma says, “I wish you could see how beautiful you are.” And I love her for it; free from the world’s standards of beauty, she sees me through her artist’s eyes and knows that I’m beautiful. As an artist myself, I find beauty everywhere and so I don’t need to see through her eyes to know that I’m beautiful; I just believe that I am.
A boy once told me that he’d never known anyone who burned with a brighter inner fire than me, and that it made me more beautiful than anyone he’d ever known. It took me years to make peace with myself and to find my inner beauty and believe in it. I always looked for the good in people, now I look for the beauty in them and try to help them see it as well. Knowing that a beautiful person exists within oneself makes for a stronger, more confident person. Beyond my broad shoulders and aggressive attitude is a passionate, intelligent, free spirit and that makes me beautiful. I may walk like John Wayne, and never wear three-inch spike heels, but I’m beautiful nonetheless. I believe that every man, woman, and child possesses inner beauty, and helping them to see it is the most wonderful thing in the world.
I am Refrigerator Girl, but I’m beautiful. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.