“Why thank you, it’s called genes”

She cried. And it’s the only time I remember immediately feeling like a shitbag teenager. It was not a feeling I was well acquainted with and I regretted my last two words.

“I’m ugly.” I pronounced into the bathroom mirror.

I just finished a rant about the red tones in my face and how I hated everything about myself.

It never dawned on me that while my mom was sitting directly behind me, every hateful thing I said about myself was like a hammer hitting her.

I was a fairly confident teenager, but every once in awhile, even the confident girls have their moments in the dark.

“When you say you’re ugly, it hurts me so much.” I never forgot my mom’s words or the tears in her eyes.

Looking back, I don’t know why I went on the rant. I didn’t have big problems with acne. I didn’t have hair that was (too) weird. I didn’t develop at a faster rate than my friends. I wasn’t tall, so the “gawky” phase wasn’t all that applicable.

Throughout my teens, I never went anywhere without makeup. Not annnywhere. Even ten minute trips to the grocery required at least mascara.

I never thought that calling myself “ugly” would upset my mom.

But no one looks at you like your mom should. No one loves you like she should. And my mom did. All of those and more.

She wanted me to see myself the way she did.My mom told me everything was just a matter of teenage perspective.

She was right.

By the time I graduated from high school, I knew that the redness in my face was from a combination of using the wrong facial care products and age.

In college, I changed my hair to better suit my skin tones. Electric blonde without any contrast wasn’t a good look. Ever. But it was the one I wanted…

The red tones in my face calmed and with daily use of lotion with a higher SPF and a good night cream, they stayed at bay.

I get strange looks when I tell people that I don’t wear makeup. I haven’t worn foundation, cover up, not so much as pressed powder since I was 19.

When I feel particularly “fancy”, I wear eyeshadow. I wear lip gloss because it’s Michigan, and our weather is brutal all.the.time. Avoiding chapping is just common sense.

I buy organic, vegan facial lotions that cost more than a tank of gas.

There are days when I only wear mascara, also from the same organic, vegan company. I support then because they don’t test on animals.

But there are also plenty of days during which I never apply makeup.

Recently, my husband asked why I had begun wearing more makeup than normal.

He is used to me. The me that doesn’t wear much, if any, on a daily basis.

“The truth? I hate my hair. I’m trying to deflect.” I replied to his blunt question “what? are you wearing more makeup?”

On December 30, I made an impulsive decision to get my hair cut. It looked good for the first day. And then….disaster. It was supposed to be a stacked bob. Instead, it’s a mess. It is chopped and abruptly just stops in the back. It doesn’t style well and looks….odd.

“It looks ugly.” I heaved a sigh and pulled my wretched hair into a ponytail. I detest wearing a ponytail or messy bun every day. I love wearing my hair down and styled. It’s what I’ve always preferred. I miss the long, thick hair that touched the top of my belt.

Ugly? Do we stop to think about the weight of the word?

Do I hate my current hair cut? Yes. Do I regret getting it cut? Absolutely. But is it “ugly”? No.

It’s hair. It’s fixable.

One day, I’ll be a mom. And it would kill me to hear my child call him or herself ugly.

Ugly is weighty with access baggage.

I may not be the world’s most beautiful according to People magazine. I’m not 5’7 and 105 pounds. I’m not “perfect” but I like myself. Bad haircut and all.

I look like my mother, and she’s one of the most beautiful women I know. But more than that, I look like her mother, whom I never met.

I love stunning people when asked what brand of makeup I wear. There is something satisfying about saying my mom and dad’s names as my brand.

“Why thank you, it’s called genes.”

Bad haircuts. Touches of rosacea. Nothing makes a woman ugly, minus her actions and her perceptions .

I’m banning the word “ugly” as an adjective for people. Actions, shoes, cars. Those can be ugly but people can’t.

Someone’s mother is crying because that child strongly resembles her own mother. And to her, that mother was the loveliest woman in the world.

I’ll never be ugly again. That hammer has been put away.


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