“I’m pretty, but I’m not beautiful” Marilyn Monroe once said. I used to be very loyal to this quote. “Beauty” is something I was always reaching, yet never seemed to believe I had it. I was never what a beautiful young woman is perceived to look like. I didn’t have long slender legs, or beautiful flowing blond hair, or the kind of eyes that seem to captivate you.
As I grew older, I was faced with magazines plastered with perfect bodies as well girls at school who would always remind me I wasn’t “model” material. “Nice thunder thighs,” they would say when we were changing for gym. There were nights I clearly remember sitting in front of the mirror, sucking my cheeks in, studying each part of me, trying to find some way to measure up to the perfection everyone wanted from me. The more I thought about the way I looked, the more I loathed the word “beautiful.”
Recently my father accepted a new job and my family and I were relocated to a new town. My biggest concern was how I was going to fit in. Would people accept me with all my faults? The greatest surprise was I tried out for the dance team and made it. Then I recall all my hidden thoughts of beauty tucked away setting flame when I met the director.
She was the kind of woman every girl envies because she has all the grace and confidence in the world. I remember thinking “How can someone make everyone else seem so dull”, but then through all my envy, I learned something. The one moment I felt not pretty but beautiful was when she simply yelled out “Beautiful Kira!” as I was doing a hop combination across the floor. I felt as if there was a reason for me to be on the earth and it is simply to hear that I looked beautiful when I danced. As she continued to yell, “Yes, Beautiful!” my feet seemed to peel off the wood floor with no effort, and my legs flew behind me as I pushed off of the floor. When it was over every feeling in my body had completely altered. That one compliment made my mind tangle around the twisted thought of the word “beauty.” Her compliment wasn’t like when your mom tries to tell you that you’re beautiful and perfect the way you are. This compliment was different. This woman hardly knew me, and she said I was beautiful. Not beautiful for my physical appearance, but for my passion and capability to dance.
Perhaps beauty isn’t just a description of the outer shell of someone. I am not blond and tall, but I can be beautiful in my own way. If this means I dance to feel beautiful, then I will continue to dance.
Sometimes I still have my doubts about my reflection in the mirror. It is who I am and there are always going to be contributors that remind me I’m not perfect. The difference is I know if I ever have a doubt all I have to do is dance to know I’m beautiful. Maybe I’m not perfect in everyone’s perception, but I am beautiful because “beauty,” as the world says, is not just some description that is placed upon a person; I believe “beauty” is a feeling that is achieved through an individual portrayal of yourself. If I want to be beautiful then I will.
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