Saturday, July 3, 2010

One Hot Property

Leaving a friend's place the other day, I passed a house with a "For Sale" sign in the yard. I'm used to seeing signs that say, "For Sale By Owner," "Must See!" and "New Price," but this one was different. 

Written in red letters on a white background at the bottom of the sign was, "I'M GORGEOUS INSIDE." Maybe it was the first-person voice that caught my attention, or maybe it was the slightly plaintive tone I imagined it in, I'm not sure. But it was striking enough to make me stop and take a picture, and then it made me think.

I may not wear a t-shirt emblazoned with those words, but I often find myself going into new relationships silently praying that the other person will realize that I, too, am gorgeous inside. Please don't notice that I could stand to lose a few pounds, that I rarely put on any makeup, or that I rotate through the same seven go-to outfits again and again. I'm great inside. Really, I am. I swear.

In my attempts to convince people - new friends, colleagues, and first dates alike - that I really, truly am gorgeous inside, I often come on too strong. I talk more than I know I should, trying to make people laugh or impress them with my intelligence. It often equates to, "See how great I am? No, really, can you see it? What about now? Okay, now?" Not surprisingly, this often backfires. It's annoying just to read it.
Another thing that sign and I have in common: neither one of us is particularly repulsive on the outside. There's nothing about the house's exterior that would lead me to believe that it isn't perfectly lovely on the inside. The lawn is green, the flowers are blooming, and the paint job looks great. Likewise, if I were to actually take an objective look in the mirror, I would see that there's nothing about my appearance that would lead anyone to think I'm anything less than gorgeous on the inside. I have an adorable band of freckles across my cheeks and nose. I have a pinkish glow to my complexion that means I never need blush. My curves are womanly in ways that Kate Moss's will never be. I have a big smile and full lips and, if you believe my mother, a beautiful hairline (no, I don't know what that means, but I'm still gonna go with it). But my fixation on the negatives - my weight and the fact that my sister inherited every ounce of fashion sense in the family gene pool, among other things - means that I don't usually see that I'm not *only* gorgeous on the inside. I'm gorgeous on the outside in my own way, too.

I realize that I can't expect anyone else to believe that I'm gorgeous inside or out if I don't believe it myself. I also realize that no amount of affirmation from my friends or family or significant others is going to make me believe it. So instead I try to chip away at it slowly, countering the negative thoughts with one affirmation over and over: "Hey, I'm gorgeous outside, too."

Hey, does anyone know whether they make t-shirts emblazoned with those words instead?


fortunecookiejunkie said...

a) you're gorgeous on the inside AND out
b) you know I'm the t-shirt-making queen

Caroline said...

Keep chipping away Erin! Everyone who 'knows' you and who knows you in person, already knows you are beautiful inside and out. I think you should take Allison up on her 't-shirt making queen' reputation and get a shirt made. xo and thanks for sharing!

Alex said...

Not only are your friends right, but unlike the house, you don't have to wear a "Buy Me" sign.

Katherine said...

I was gonna give you this really great advice about telling that shitty voice in your head that it can't talk about your friend (yourself) that way. Then I realized that you were the one who told me that. Oops! But also tell that shitty voice that it can't talk about MY friend that way.

But for the record, your freckles ARE absolutely adorable. And you're one of those people who makes me want to read more, know more, and do things better. You are a kickass woman, and this girl loves you.

Oh, and if DO you wear a "Buy Me" sign, I will totally kick your ass. ;)

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