Unlearning Unpretty

Sometimes it takes a close friend challenging the way you’ve always seen something to realize you’ve been looking at it all wrong, for so long. And suddenly everything is changed. #unlearnchallenge

At the beginning of the year, my friend Megan challenged our circle to examine things we may need to unlearn. Things that were maybe who we once were but had outgrown now. Things that were limiting our current growth. Or maybe things that we once chose to believe about ourselves because it was more comfortable to believe that lie than to be brave with our truth and stand out in a crowd. Sometimes the ugly truth is that we camouflage ourselves with average because unique is polarizing and lonely.

I knew instantly what my thing was. I knew because every time I went to share it or say it out loud, it caused this lump in my throat and I could feel the warm tears rising behind my eyes. I couldn’t even type it to her in a dm- I just didn’t want to let this thing go. Megan and I have a special friendship (one day I’ll tell you about how we met. It’s a pretty special story), one that has been honest and vulnerable from the second we crossed paths but every time I went to type it out to her, I couldn’t. I had to get comfortable with it myself first.

I sat with my journal and went to write it and couldn’t. I was so frustrated with myself at how I was letting this get in my way. One Saturday while I was getting ready and Randall was waiting on me, with a little waver in my voice I casually let it out.

“You know what I’ve always wanted ?”

“What’s that?” He asked. I’m always bringing up ridiculous things when I get ready.

“I’ve always wanted to be pretty.”

He tilts his head at me like a confused puppy; “You ARE pretty. I tell you all the time. Why would you say that?”

“No, I’m cute. Cute is different than pretty. Cute is the girl next door. Cute is the best friend. Pretty is the girl that everyone stares at when she walks in a room. Pretty is who you ask to prom.”

We banter a little back and forth, laughing at the idea of being our age and still being concerned about who would ask us to prom. It’s ridiculous in theory but in practice Unlearning Unpretty was exactly the thing it was time to unlearn.

Unlearning Unpretty

How exactly do you unlearn something anyway? The first step is to be vulnerable and transparent enough with yourself to examine what outdated or untrue information you have been holding on to and believing about yourself. Give yourself some space to examine it and then share it.

The sharing part is tricky. You get to say who, when, and how you share it. Like me you may not want to let it go at first. After all it’s probably been with you for a long time. Based on my conversation, I’d been believing that I would never really be pretty for at least a couple of decades. Sharing this thing allows you to release it and make room for the truth that serves you now. The truth that fits and looks good on you today. That other thing is just hanging out in the back of the closet and it’s time to ask yourself if it’s bringing you joy or still serving you. It’s not.

Now for the other hard part, because all of this is hard, you have to start practicing your new truth. For me, I had to start practicing pretty. What does practicing being pretty even mean anyway???

Practicing Pretty

A million people could tell me I was pretty but I had to believe it. I had to walk in the room with the confidence of feeling pretty. It meant that I didn’t deflect eye contact, feeling embarrassed if I was noticed walking into a room. It meant I didn’t change out of an outfit I loved because it might be too noticeable.

Through this whole process, I realized I have been playing it small or shrinking back in a number of ways not just my physical appearance. I’d been afraid to be noticed, to stand out. I had been dimming the thing that made me unique, amazing and spectacular.

I found a phrase, a mantra that helps remind me to never play it small: “Don’t shy away from the spectacular”.

Don’t shy away from the spectacular.

I guess maybe the truth is I don’t want to just be “pretty”. I’m certainly looking for more out of life than a prom date. I want more than to be admired for fleeting subjective qualities. What I really want is to be comfortable being spectacular. I want to be so comfortable walking in a room with all eyes on me, that I can deliver a gaze directly back that offers everyone else in that space a deep breath to be exactly the kind of spectacular they are created to be too.

What I discovered through this unlearning process is that being pretty means more than just soaking in the attention. The kind of pretty I wanted was the kind that was spectacular and confident enough to empower others to be spectacular too.

New Year, New Parts of Me … maybe.

5 pregnancies, 4 babies, infinite nights turning into months that add up to years of nursing and a lifetime filled with nurturing other humans…
Yes, becoming a parent is a magical and beautiful season of life. What it has done to my body hasn’t always left me with the same sentiments, however.

Parenting grows our character and stretches us in ways we could never imagine. Quite literally. Even with the numerous messaging out there that encourages me to believe the scars and stretch marks from those times are a beautiful reminder of how strong and capable my body is, when I look in the mirror it doesn’t make me feel beautiful no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise.

These “imperfections”, as I see them, are totally repairable and what makes me feel empowered is knowing I have a choice to live with them or not. I’d always said that after we were done having children I would like to make some adjustments. I worked hard to lose forty pounds in 2018 and have a continued goal for 2019. I decided it was time to consider it more seriously.

I lost count of the number of before and after photos that I analyzed as I made the case for these procedures to my husband. For the record, initially, he was very on the fence. You see, I’m married to this wonderful human who adores me… mind, body, and soul. It’s never been a question of being more attractive to him or anyone else. This transformation truly is more about me being satisfied with me.

Today, on the second day of the new year, my husband and I went for a consultation to talk about what that would look like. Or more specifically what I could look like. I had carefully researched surgeons for months before calling for a consultation. It took 3 weeks to get in as the doctor I preferred is booked pretty far out. This offered more time to consider if this was something I really wanted to do.

I asked R to come with me so that he could ask any questions he had and since he would be helping me with the recovery process, I wanted him to know exactly what I was getting us into. “Us” because I really will be depending on him a lot in the weeks following. I think one of the misconceptions I had before researching all of this was that it was an easy surgery. It is definitely major surgery.

We both asked a lot of questions. Then there was the picture taking. If you ever want to test how fearless you are, forget bungee jumping or mountain climbing. Schedule a cosmetic surgery consultation instead. Seriously. Think of the parts of your body that you are most insecure about, strip naked in a brightly lit room and let a -very nice- professional stranger take up-close photos from multiple angles of exactly those parts you’ve been camouflaging for most of your adult life. It was kind of like the dream where you show up at school with no pants.

Ultimately, I don’t know what I’ll end up doing. Or how much I’ll share or not share along the way. There was a big part of me that was very apprehensive to share any of this. I guess I just thought it was fair to acknowledge the perspective that as women, mothers or non-mothers, we have control over our bodies to do with them as we please for our own satisfaction. You are allowed to get cosmetic surgery. You’re allowed not to get surgery. What we aren’t allowed to is pass judgment on the choices people make about their bodies “natural” or not.

Treat Yourself to a PureBeauty Experience inside Neiman Marcus Northpark

PureBeauty Spa Interior

Hidden inside the bustling shopping mecca that is North Park Mall in Dallas is an oasis that is calling your name – PUREBEAUTY Salon and Spa. Now I know what you are thinking… “Not one single thing could make me go to the mall this time of the holiday shopping season.”

Just hear me out.

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Ready?

PureBeauty Spa Northpark

Tucked inside Neiman Marcus, just past the fragrances, and down a golden spiral staircase is the calm quiet oasis of PUREBEAUTY. I had no idea how much I had needed this day away until I was greeted by Madison ( ig: @madisonpurebeauty for my massage. She escorted me into a beautiful changing room and handed me my spa robe for the afternoon and showed me the secure locker to store my belongings.

PureBeauty Spa Northpark changing room lounge

After I had changed she walked me to the massage room and waited outside until I was comfortably tucked under the prewarmed covers of the massage bed. It was one of the best massage experiences I’ve had. I had no idea how much stress I had been carrying around with me.

PureBeauty Spa Interior 2

I wrapped back up in my robe and slippers and Madison walked me to the facial room where she introduced me to Michaela (ig: @purebeauty_michaela). She asked me a few questions about my skin and then we began the facial. It was so relaxing I think I may have actually fallen asleep at one point but it didn’t seem to phase her one bit.

PureBeauty Spa Northpark facial room

You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.

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PureBeauty Spa Northpark

When I went back to change there was a little gift bag waiting for me. I felt amazing and my skin looked great. In the busyness of the season it can be easy to forget to take care of ourselves or push it off thinking we’ll get to it. The thing is we take care of others so much better when we have taken care of ourselves first.

PureBeauty Spa Northpark selfie

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8687 N. Central Expressway, Suite 400
Dallas, Texas 75225
Tel: 214-346-0731