Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Ugliness of Pretty

Yesterday my friend Becca tweeted about Beyonce saying she didn't "feel pretty" while giving birth.  Now, whether Beyonce did or didn't actually give birth is totally irrelevant to this post, and my life in general, so I won't touch on that.  Several people of Twitter responded with the expected- "What? I was smokin' hott in labor!" "Um, yeah, that flew right out the window after the first big contraction", and something about Jay Z, the Illuminate, and the baby being made in a lab.  Again, I will not pass judgement on these things.

What I will say is that our culture has become far to concerned with the "pretty" and it's to the detriment of true beauty.  You may remember me writing a post awhile back, but as a refresher: pretty = physical attractiveness; beauty = character, truth, and sometimes also a pleasing aesthetic quality. The pretty is focused on me and my appearance; the beauty sees, and loves, the world around me. The pretty is shallow; the beauty runs deep.  The pretty causes insecurity; the beauty begets confidence.

I never thought of it before, but birth is a perfect illustration for this.  Is birth pretty? I would say rarely, if ever.  But is it beautiful? I would say always and without a doubt.  There is beauty in the mess.  In the pain.  In the pushing.  In the God orchestrated work we were designed to do.  In the first takeyourbreathaway contraction and in the new life that appears at the climax. There is so much beauty.  And so little pretty.

Why do we desire the pretty so much?

Why do I oogle over the elaborate Pinterst-y crafts when my child is happy scribbling with crayons and mashing play dough between her tiny fingers?

Why does it always need to be a smocked bishop set when she really wants to wear her crocs and her raincoat atop a faded dress that's been cycled through the dryer too many times?

Why do I need to vacuum and mop before my best friend comes over when she knows the beauty of toddler boy-man messes better than I do myself?

Why when my husband says he likes me best with little or no makeup do I mock him with a mascara wand and a distracted indifference?

Why do I want only photographs where we look like we're sailing smoothly when we're really barely keeping our heads above water?

This week, I will embrace the beautiful mess and enjoy it.   And leave the pretty to Beyonce.


Sarah Bessey said...

Amen and amen. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Today's society is obsessed with "beauty".
What about all of the tweets about Jessica Simpson being fat when in fact she is a healthy pregnant woman.
Then you have the tweets about how people are back in their jeans just a week after delivery.Why did we need to know?.
The obsession with "making memories" of perfectly pictured kids so that they be immediately be put online for everyone to see.What is this really teaching our kids?.

The Niemeyer Nest said...

Perfect! You gave me lots to ponder.

Margaret said...

Awesome post!

Jenny said...

Love Love this post.

All too often I feel the need to have the "perfect" project, kids, and life.

I have to step back and remind myself to look at the beauty in the messes and real life.

Mallory Pickering said...

Wonderful. Perfect. Content and delivery. A+