by Mollianne on August 13, 2014

True story: I cleaned out the bathroom closet

I’m talking a purge here. I ruthlessly went through makeup, beauty products, medicine/first aid items, cosmetic bags, costume jewelry and decorative pieces. It was embarrassing. Really. As I went through the stuff, I made a pile for my daughter and another for things that could go for donation and then the stuff that was just garbage, I came face to face with some things about myself.  I didn’t like some of those things very much.

I love the makeup counters in department stores. And when you get free gift with purchase…I’m in heaven. Not that I need much of anything that they give away, but hey! It’s free. Right? {and I’m not even going to discuss the whole purchase with purchase deal. Where the retailer offers me the opportunity to buy something else, because I just spent the requisite number of dollars on products.  That is just crazy. And I fell for it for years.  It nearly took a 12-step program to get me to step away from the makeup counter…but that is another story for another day}

What makes me hoard samples of beauty products? I’m a fairly bright girl. I know that these products aren’t really going to reduce my wrinkles, Why, oh why do I think that the right combination of skincare products and makeup will make me suddenly pretty or take away those years of just knowing that EVERYONE was staring at the perennial zit(s) on my face? I know they don’t really work. Not miracles, at least.

But you don’t get too far beneath the surface of me before you get to the “I wish I were really pretty” disappointment. I tell myself that the products cover up what my eyes see in the mirror. Kind of. Not really. To make it even worse, I am married to an amazing man {although he is a color blind engineer and my rational brain filters any sort of aesthetic comment he makes through that knowledge} who tells me every day…every single flipping day…that I am beautiful.

And I don’t listen.

I don’t want to hear it.

I can’t believe it.

Because I don’t think I am. Not really.

I see every bump, lump, wrinkle/crinkle, stray hair, large pore and imperfection. I wish I were beautiful for my husband. But when I look in the mirror I don’t see beautiful. I see me. Still, he loves me and says it every single day. Even when I blow him off. Or tell him he needs to get out more. Or point out that he’s a color blind engineer. Or say that he’s not qualified to make such calls, he hasn’t ever studied Beauty. I have. I was a Philosophy major in college and issues of Beauty (with the capital B) were hot topics in several of my classes. I’m trained in this stuff, Bubba, so just back off and let me wallow.  Okay?

Thing is…he just won’t quit. He believes it. And every now and then, I let my guard down and almost believe that he is right and I am beautiful. It is an uncomfortable feeling. I’ve felt so not-beautiful for so long, it is sort of part of me. It’s where I’m comfortable.

You know what?  If my amazing Rocket Man thinks I’m beautiful…I ought to be grateful. Because others I’ve loved haven’t always thought so and felt duty bound to tell me. And yet, I’m ungrateful, flippant and toss aside his gift of the words I didn’t even know I’ve longed to hear.

Which is truly ugly. Maybe I’m right about not being beautiful.  If I can act so ugly, I must not be.  My Mother always told me ‘pretty is as pretty does’.  And I throw a precious gift in Rocket Man’s face. So, when excess, aged and no-longer-useful beauty products and makeup went out to the garbage–some ugly, festering, self-deprecating goo went out to the trash with it.

From my heart.

In a black garbage bag.

And suddenly…I just felt better.

I am resolved to listen when Rocket Man says I’m beautiful and simply say ‘Thank you’. Because he says it with love and from his heart. He wouldn’t say it if he didn’t believe it.  Doesn’t matter if I believe it.  My job is to be gracious and accept what he gives from his heart. I am going to try to learn to receive his daily compliment with grace and gratitude.

That would be a step toward embracing beauty…true beauty that isn’t dependent on small pores and a smooth face.  The kind of beauty that I really long for, if I am brutally honest.  Of much greater value than the physical beauty. A gracious beauty that flows from the joy I experience in life, from the hope carrying me through tough times and from the secure knowledge of God’s love for me.

Not an easy heart lesson my friends. Not easy at all.  But when he looks at me in the morning {which I feel certain he will, because he is such a creature of habit} and says he thinks I am beautiful, I’m going to flash my sweetest smile and say, ‘thank you’.  Then I’m going to say I’m sorry that I have been ugly regarding his precious words.  I’m going to ask him if he will forgive me for being so ugly and tell him how much I love him.

Because that other garbage?…It is out the door.

Gone in a big black garbage bag!


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

c.a. August 18, 2014 at 11:15 am

Oh, that is beautiful and you are speaking my language. I can totally relate! With every single word you said… up until the last part. While I have cleaned out my bathroom lately, a total purge, I have not yet thrown out the “other part” of me. I still don’t think I am beautiful, not when my husband tells me. I still think he tells me just out of obligation.


Mollianne August 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm

I know, right?? It’s difficult.


Mollianne August 18, 2014 at 9:46 pm

My manners!!?! Thank you, Carol Ann!


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