She laid out perfectly matched outfits each night before school. She measured her pigtails to make sure they were even. She devoured books the way kids nowadays devour Spongebob. And she *may* have been a bit of a bossypants (Though thanks to Tina Fey, this is now super-cool).
But you know what else? She thought she was awesome. With sauce. Which is why, despite her quirks (or perhaps because of them), she is exactly the kind of girl who should be writing on our theme of beautiful this month. So I decided to tap into my inner six-year-old, and ask her what she would call beautiful.
— Her voice. Hands down. Chirping along at the top of her lungs to the oldies station mom played, she could swear she sounded exactly like Diana Ross.
— A dripping, icy, rainbow-colored popsicle fresh from the ice cream truck.
— Taking out the braids mom plaited the night before to reveal gorgeous mermaid hair.
— A fistful of spunky dandelions staining her hand with vibrant sunshine.
— A white paper bag, a dollar to spend, and a convenience store busting with sugar coated penny candies.
— Running towards an untouched, sheet-of-glass lake with wild abandon, arms flailing.
At six years old, beauty was never my goal. It was just there. In everything. All around me. In the swirling clouds drifting overhead that I swore looked just like a puppy playing an electric guitar. In my favorite skirt that swirled around me like a kaleidoscope with the slightest flick. In an army of ants skittering along the sidewalk, in the musty-smelling stack of books from the library, in the crack of my red plastic bat.
I don’t remember ever wondering whether I was beautiful. It took up zero brain space. I mean, of course I was beautiful. End of story.
But somewhere along the way (hello, black hole of adolescence), there was a shift where beauty became a goal. Not just a goal. The goal. I began to believe that beauty was not inherently part of me, all around me anymore. It was something to be achieved. Chased after.