‘I get my hair colored. My natural hair color is mousy brown, I think. I can’t be fully certain. I haven’t seen it since I was 15 or so. But it’s dark. I do know that much.’

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“I get my hair colored often. My natural hair color is some kind of mousy brown, I think. Honestly, I can’t be fully certain. I haven’t seen it since I was 15 or so. But it’s dark. I do know that much.

And in my heart, I feel like I am supposed to be blonde. I went dark once, and it just wasn’t vibing with who I was as a person. Jesus and I are gonna have a talk about it one day. I don’t know why he made my hair this color knowing darn well I was just going to cover it up and bleach it and baylage it away. That’s a lot of money I’ve spent at the salon. I could’ve done, I dunno what exactly, but so many other things with it.

I wear fake lashes pretty often. I own roughly 47 different shades of lipstick and I have multiple night creams sitting on my bathroom counter; so clearly, I care about the way I look. Most of the time. I mean, not so much at school drop-off, or when I’m running into Walmart, or just grabbing milk at the grocery store. Ok, ok…I care about the way I look some of the time.

I’ve sat on the edge of my bed and cried about it before. I’ve sulked for days on end because of the number on a scale. I’ve had makeup lessons and sworn off sugar and laid in the hot sun smothered in oil for hours all in an attempt to be prettier before. I’ve had things waxed. I’ve had things threaded. I’ve had extensions taped in and clipped in to my hair. I’ve done cheap charcoal masks, which hurt like heck. I’ve spent way too much money on shoes and jeans and Spanx. And I’ve definitely spent way, way, way too much time trying to be pretty.

But here’s the thing about being pretty:

  1. It will never be the most important, or the most interesting thing about you. And if it is, well, that’s a problem.
  2. It will never be enough. I remember being young and thinking ‘if only I was prettier/if only my hair didn’t get so frizzy/if only my legs were thinner/if only I had cuter clothes.’ And the truth is, even if I had had all of those things — it still wouldn’t have made one lick of difference. It still wouldn’t have made me feel like I was ever whole, or worthy, or good enough.
  3. It fades. Wrinkles, sun spots, laugh lines, baby bellies, C-section scars, breasts that begin to swing low sweet chariot, white hair, chin hairs – and oh my goodness crow’s feet and dark circles – they all have their way of finding us with age. I wouldn’t place too much value on a scoop of Blue Bell ice cream on a summer day, and I wouldn’t place too much value on the way you look either. They’re both pretty fleeting.
  4. Nobody is going to stand up at the front of the church at your funeral and talk about your looks. They’re not going to talk about the way you contoured your cheeks or the way you could do that smokey-eye thing or how petite your waist was. And if it doesn’t matter during your death, it probably shouldn’t matter too terribly much during your life.
  5. It’s subjective. Pretty isn’t a fact. What one person finds pretty doesn’t dictate what the rest of the world finds pretty and vice versa. It’s an opinion, and we all know there is no reason to hang your hat on the opinions of others. It just isn’t going to get you anywhere.
  6. You didn’t do anything to be pretty. I mean, congratulations on the good genes and all, but let’s be honest, caring about something you were born with isn’t the same as caring about something you worked for. Sorry, it’s just not.
  7. It doesn’t make the world a better place. Again, congrats on the face, but being pretty isn’t going to change anybody else’s life. It’s not going to help other people, or end world hunger, or make your neighbor feel less lonely. It may matter to you, sure. But it doesn’t matter to anyone else.
  8. It doesn’t hold a candle to being beautiful. Beauty is who you are. It’s the gifts God gave you. And it’s taking those God-given gifts and putting them to use. It’s using your light to shine a light in the dark places and the dark corners of this world. Beauty is action. Beauty is doing. Beauty is helping and giving and serving. Pretty may be sitting still and posing for a picture, but beauty… beauty is going out and getting your hands dirty and actually living your life in a way that causes other people to want to live theirs too.

Let’s be women who care more about highlighting love than highlighting our cheekbones, more about coloring the world with kindness than coloring our hair, more about rocking self-confidence than rocking the latest trends.

Beauty has nothing to do with your looks, and everything to do with your heart. Pretty is, but believe me when I say, that beauty goes out and does.”

Courtesy Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Follow Amy on Instagram here and Twitter here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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