I Love Your Freckles…
Rivenheart had the fantastically brilliant suggestion of posting about something we’ve never done before. After a night of stressing that this would be another thing on my list of things to figure out, Saya reminded me that I probably do new things every day and just need to realise this. With an s: realise. This makes it even more special and noteworthy, in case you’re wondering. I think if she’d said realize, I wouldn’t actually have realised how right she is. But I did. And she is.
Today I did something I have wanted to do for a long time. Like forever, really. It wasn’t perfect, and I could have done it better, but I was brave to do it at all, and in a place that freaks me out to no end: The Farmer’s Market. God help me, the Farmer’s Market. A place so full of neighborly goodness and positive thinking and fresh food and smiling people and tanned faces and live guitar music and dogs and children. Picture me shuddering right now as I describe this… Yeah, good.
Farmer’s Markets cause an unpleasant reaction in me: I feel so on the spot, so self-conscious and money-conscious, and yet so compassionate for the farmers. I want to buy all their stuff, and something from each, but I have a wallet, and it is not made of magic. And there they are: standing on the other side of their long tables, smiling, waiting for me to decide, to pick something up, to support their livelihoods. I’d rather run to the grocery store and buy apples from New Zealand and grapes from Mexico than feel the way I feel at the FM.
It’s time to say what it is that I did that was special, because it wasn’t just braving my Farmer Fears. I saw a woman there who was on the FM board or something, not a farmer. She was heavy, wildly freckled, curly-haired and smiley. I saw her once and we smiled at each other. Later we saw each other again and smiled again—then I felt like a wierdo for staring, so I felt compelled to confess to her: “I keep looking at you because I love your freckles.” She was so surprised. “I said “You’re just so cute. I know people who don’t like freckles but I don’t get it!’” She admitted that as she’s grown up she’s come to appreciate them and her curly hair more than she did as a teenager. We chatted a minute and she laughed and thanked me and I went back to my miserable shopping experience, but… I had done this one thing I’ve wanted to do so many times and not: spoken up for beauty.
Why should Hollywood and magazines and GAP ads declare beauty for us? I can’t stand them being the only ones. I love big noses, crazy hair, scruffy beards, and funky dressers. I love when people look so different they’d never be on a billboard. I love weird looking people. I love to see someone carrying themselves with confidence, however they look. I love all the different faces of this human family. I just can’t stand that we aren’t all the time walking around admitting this to each other: that we’re all lovely. I can’t be the only one thinking it.
In a perfect world, I wouldn’t even care enough to think about this—because I really don’t think it matters one bit how you dress or the color of your hair or whether you cover your hair all up, or whether you don’t shave your legs or pits, or if you have dreads or big feet or dry elbows. I don’t think it matters if you are typically pretty or handsome, heavy or thin, feminine or tomboyish or effeminate or whatever. I would like to live in a place where none of this ever comes up, but I don’t. It comes up all the time, and I’m raising human beings in a place where people comment on looks, on cuteness, on beauty, on handsomeness, where the pressures of How You Look are all around us and I fight them away from my children any chance I get or at least we talk about how it’s not how you look that matters but who you are. And so, while I’d rather just not care, I also feel the need to speak up to beautiful bright-faced women (I just can’t do this for men unless it’s someone I’m good friends with, though it would be nice if the men could do it for each other) who don’t look the typical image of women on tv, but better, to me. I think they should know in case they have doubts, that they are awesome.
A big part of me feels it’s useless/misguided/wrong to comment on someone’s looks because what’s inside is what truly matters. But it is what it is. Plus, it’s external praise and that’s a tricky thing—to appreciate it but not need it. There have been times it’s the only thing I’ve wanted, and other times it’s the very last thing I care to hear because I just don’t give a crap (or don’t want to give a crap) and compliments muddle the puddle. Who knows if someone I compliment will not want to hear it? I won’t know until it’s too late. But with good intentions, I started something new. I would have rather said to the woman at the FM that she is totally gorgeous. But I settled for what came out: her freckles. And that’s enough for now. Just like being stage-frightened at the market, but still buying stuff, I offered a bit of sisterly admiration even though it wasn’t exactly perfect.
Thank you Rivenheart for the inspiration!
AFTERTHOUGHTS (because why stop writing now?)
I love that shirt. We need more like it: I love my double chin. I love my hairy toes. I love my big feet. I love my unibrow. I love my stretch marks. I love my flabby biceps. I love my acne. I love my belly. I love my patchy beard. I love my crooked teeth… Oh I could go on for years. Ah, finally I will make my fortune…
I can’t believe that the other, totally feminine, Rosie the Riveter is on magnets and shirts. The one above is SO MUCH BETTER.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the whether praise has any worth regarding external appearances, or if maybe it’s the root of all evil and if we all suddenly dropped the topic en masse, the world would be filled with rainbows and peace. Because I also think that… despite this post…
You will earn my undying (yet conditional) love if you can guess (without being Saya) who that Freckled Girl is in the second image. (Okay… Saya you can guess after 24 hours.) The clue is: Lake of Shining Waters.