By Rilee Belnap
There are days when I miss being young and not having a care in the world. I miss running around the neighborhood, playing on swings in the park, and being able to do the things I loved without falling under the watch of the ever critical eyes around me. My childhood was happy and it wasn’t until I started getting older that certain things were pointed out to me. They were things I never wanted to hear, and to this day I still can’t understand.
When a girl is little everyone says she’s cute, pretty, or beautiful. So that is what I believed. I thought I was beautiful. Imagine my surprise, shock, horror, and utter heartbreak when one day someone looked at me and said, “You’re ugly.” I wanted to cry then, and I probably did, but when someone says it now I’m expected to “take it like a man” and “suck it up”, because I’m not worth anything.
For a while I took these suggestions and started doing whatever I could to cure myself of being ugly. I tried wearing cute clothes, putting on makeup, and doing what pretty girls do. Still nothing changed. I was still ugly. No one wanted to talk to me. No one outside my family would say I was beautiful. All the things I’d tried were for nothing. I still wasn’t worth anything.
I remember clearly one day standing in front of my dresser trying to decide which shirt to wear when I received a powerful personal revelation. I was deciding between a pink shirt with flowers and a purple shirt with flowers when this thought struck me like a ton of bricks. These shirts in my hands didn’t make me beautiful. The makeup I was trying to wear didn’t make me beautiful. What everyone around me said about me didn’t make me beautiful. I was beautiful. It had nothing to do with my appearance. It was who I was that made me beautiful.
Right then and there I placed those uncomfortable shirts back in the drawer and grabbed my favorite T-shirt instead. I stopped wearing makeup. Overall I stopped trying to prove myself to everyone, because in all honesty everyone didn’t really care about me to begin with, but the one who told me the truth about myself did.
So I have something to say to all you girls out there trying to be beautiful; you already are. Don’t let the world fool you. Don’t let other people tell you what type of body you should have, or how to dress it up so you can be pretty. You have a Heavenly Father who created your body just for you. He loves you and cares about you deeply. Everyone else could care less. For them you will never be good enough.
I tried for years with no success. To the world I have the wrong body type, I’m fat, and I have an awkward personality. It doesn’t matter that I can play the piano and violin. It doesn’t matter that I speak two languages. It doesn’t matter that I can draw better than most everybody can and build things most could never hope to build. It doesn’t matter that I can write music, fold balloon animals, or plant a garden that flourishes. It doesn’t matter that I can revive a rabbit that is near death to perfect health, or help a sister care for a rat with a large open wound on its stomach to recover instead of putting it down. It doesn’t matter that I could hike to the top of a mountain when others couldn’t, or journey to Japan to share the gospel with those who don’t know who they are yet. None of that matters to the world if I’m not pretty. Can’t you see how messed up that is?
My dear sweet sisters who struggle because you don’t think you’re pretty I want to tell you that you are wrong! Satan does not want you to feel like you are worth anything. A woman isn’t her body! A woman isn’t her face! A woman is who she is and what she does with her life. Some of the most beautiful women I know would instantly be rejected as super models, or idols for the world to fawn over. I love them not because of what they look like. I love them because they make me feel good. I love them because they care for me and do what they can to cheer me up when I’m down. They are beautiful because they are daughters of God.
So don’t you dare let anyone tell you you’re not beautiful. You are! I know it! God knows it! And if that guy you like doesn’t see that then shame on him! If those who make fun of you because you are overweight, or don’t look a certain way can’t see it then shame on them! Shame on anybody who lifts themselves up above you because they think themselves better than you.
Keep strong my sisters. You are not your body. You are more glorious and precious than you could ever imagine. You can’t see it now, but you will. Hold on, and know that you can stop trying to be beautiful, because you already are.