Fighting the ‘Pretty Comma Brainless’ Box

You know that urge that you get, to scream back at a small child who is screaming at you? Not in a malicious or thoughtless way. Just in an “I’m tired and out of words” kind of way? That’s how I feel right now. I want to scream at the small child who’s screaming at me.

I realize it’s selfish of me, and I can’t say that I’m proud of it, but I’m just tired of the screaming. Tired of the loud noise that distracts me from my thoughts and my tasks at hand. Tired of the high pitched howl that is distracting me from myself – I’ve dulled out my own voice for far too long now.

For a long time now, part of me has felt that I wasn’t worth hearing. My thoughts and opinions weren’t wise enough or funny enough. To be honest, as a teenager, no one really cared much about hearing me. I was just a pretty face. A distraction for the boys and a source of insecurity for the girls. My voice, my heart, and who I am deep deep down became smothered by the desires of the world. I was just a pretty girl.

Reading this, I’m imagining you scoffing at me. “Hah! Like you’ve ever had a difficult life, you poor sad pretty girl.” And yet, as strange as it feels to say this, being a pretty girl has been difficult for me. Few people have seen me as anything else. And to this day, I struggle to be seen for who I am.

Every day I get labelled with stereotypes. In grade nine, one of the most beloved and respected teachers at my school nicknamed me “barbie” – a perfectly figured toy fashion doll who’s head is filled with plastic. I’ve also been labelled a dumb blonde, and occasionally by a few incredibly misguided people, as a slut.

Just last week for example, I mentioned to someone that I recently got a second job at Cactus Club (the restaurant). And even though I’ve known her for two years now, and we’ve had some heart to heart talks, she still put me in the pretty box. “Oh of course YOU work there. What, do you have to wear a bustier too?”

I want to be proud of my appearance without feeling the need to prove my intelligence to others. I want to be able to have real conversations with men, without having them tell me they love me after 10 minutes (true story). I want to be seen for who I am, not for what I look like.

And so in this moment, and in many more to come, I’m screaming at the small children of the world who are putting me in the “pretty comma brainless” box.

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4 responses

  1. I was admittedly dumbfounded (like most) when I first met you, I. A beautiful girl with 10,000 megawatt personality and heart. Over time, I got a sneak peek into a girl who craved to be *heard*, not just seen. Someone who didn’t coast on her beauty, but couldn’t help but sweeten a room with her deep smile, concerned eyes, quirky humour, wild imagination and raw honesty.

    I value ALL of these things about you, Sarah, because they make you beautiful. Inside and out, dear one.

    xoxo,
    Teen

    • “deep smile, concerned eyes, quirky humour, wild imagination and raw honesty.” – I’ve never had anyone describe me like that, and I’ve gotta say, I love it. Next time someone says “So, who is Sarah?” I’m going to use your words :) hehe

  2. I love that I can read this and not know what you even look like. I can definitely say you are a beautiful person on the inside. I think our longing to be known is universal, no matter what we look like on the outside or not. I’ve always thought/imagined some of the “pretty people” I knew might be some of the loneliest people, because of the natural reaction that others might have for making an assumption about them or just not approaching them because of the intimidation factor. Thank you for reminding me to look beyond the surface and into the heart to know a person.

    • “I think our longing to be known is universal” – You’re completely right. I think I got wrapped up in my emotions while I wrote this piece, that I forgot to make my statements universal. Everyone is judged in some way or another. Everyone craves acceptance. Thanks for reminding me of that :) And you’re right, there have definitely been large amounts of time where I’ve been overwhelmingly lonely.

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