For as long as I can remember I was teased for my looks. Throughout elementary school I was told by so many classmates that I was ugly, the ugly duckling, and anything else you can imagine. In fact, when I was in the 7th grade a boy told me, "You are so ugly that I want to blow your head off into a pile of shit with my 12 gauge shotgun." My Dad always told me I was beautiful but his words didn't seem as strong as all the other messages I received from kids both at school and at church. I felt that he was supposed to say that to me, after all, I am his daughter. When I was in High School my friends dad (who is a pastor) actually said to me, "Too bad you're not as pretty as your sister."
I grew up believing this poison. I went through high school rooted in the knowledge that I am not good-looking. My biggest fear in high school was that a guy would ask me out only as a bet with his friends. I believed a guy could never like me because I am not attractive.
Instead of focusing on what I lacked, I began to develop my personality instead. I'm funny. For serious. And eventually I became really smart too. I have all my ducks in a row, my life is great and full of adventure. Yet, in my darkest moments when I wonder why I am single and fabulous at the age of 36, I believe deep down that it's because I am ugly.
Things have not changed much. In a lot of ways I think it's because when people see my old pictures they say, "You look the exact same!" so how could I have become more attractive if I look the same? When I am out with good-looking people I am invisible. I am the extra girl in the shadows.
Two years ago my friend Julie got a tattoo on her left wrist. It says, "good" in large letters. I love it and every time I am around her I want to see it and touch it. We've talked about what it means to be good, that God created all things to be good, and about how life IS good. Finally this past winter I emailed her and asked her if I could borrow her tattoo. I said I wanted it for myself. She said yes, she would share it with me. I told another friend about my desire to have the "good" tattoo and she said, "diane, find your own word."
On a cold February night I was sitting outside looking into the sky and thinking about God. I was mulling over words that define me or a word that I permanently needed to hear. I needed a word from God. I needed to be reminded of how He sees me. And this word kinda floated down to me and settled into the top of my head, "Beautiful, diane you are beautiful, that is how I see you."
I emailed Julie, who works at the tattoo shop, and told her that I will no longer steal her tattoo. I have my own word. Four days later I went into the shop and had the word "beautiful" permanently marked on my wrist. I can't say that I feel beautiful all the time, or even some of the time. But when I see the tat on my wrist, I do smile and am reminded that it doesn't matter how men see me. I love my tattoo and am so glad I can carry this word around with me.