Don’t tell me I am pretty. I don’t care.
I mean, I do sometimes care, but that’s not the point.
The point is that I don’t want you to like me because I am pretty. I know when I look good (and when I don’t) and yes, it is nice to hear that you notice too, but that is not what sustains me.
Like me because I am thoughtful. Appreciate me because I am patient and relentless. Develop a crush on my brain. Value the gentleness of my heart.
Because when you tell me I am attractive, I worry that you don’t really see me.
What will happen then when I am sick? Or when I have been up all night taking care of my feverish vomiting child? When my face is covered in acne from not enough sleep and too much caffeine and chocolate, and I haven’t had time to put on makeup or arrange a stylish outfit and have literally put on whatever clothes were within reach and tossed my hair up into a mass on top of my head? What will you say then? Will you see me?
Someone told you once to tell little girls they are pretty. I know this because that is the conversation we all have, because that is the rhetoric we have been socialized to produce, but I’m not a princess and words of affirmation is not my love language.
So don’t tell me I am pretty until you have spent enough time with me to see me fail and recover, to see me proud and humbled, to see me be both petty and magnanimous.
Don’t tell me I am pretty until you know me well enough to see that I am beautiful. Beautifully human.