Additional Writings

Will I Be Pretty?

I watched a video by Kate Makkai entitled “Now For Sale: Daughters, $10,000 Each (If They’re Pretty)” from a link on a friend’s Facebook page, expecting that after watching it, I would be shaking my head in wonderment about how such a thing could happen. As expected, I was shaking my head. Not as expected, I was shaking my head at myself, wondering how such a thing could have happened.

I was consumed by the feelings of a 54-year-old, 16-year-old girl, and the many truths and not truths that have come into and out of focus in my lifetime. Stopped in mid-breath by an all too real reality and an all too unreal pretending of some of those truths and some of those not truths.

The video is a remarkable commentary about self-worth, and the pains (figuratively) and pains (literally) that we sometimes put ourselves through to be pretty. It is a remarkable commentary about how much value so many people place on measuring up. It brought with it my own personal metal video of the actions, decisions, and thoughts that are part of my daily existence. Will I be pretty?

Every morning I sit at my make-up table and look into my make-up mirror and take actions, make decisions, and think thoughts, all designed to influence how I am seen. A lot has changed in the 5 ½ years I have been doing this. Mountains of make-up have been replaced by touches and the day has come when I can actually go to the store without putting on any make-up at all.

All of this leads me to believe that my understanding of the image in the mirror is something not the same as the image in the mirror. Something more about how I see myself and something less about how I will be seen. Something more about being who I am and something less about being who I think I am supposed to be.

Then I walk into the world and see the most stunningly beautiful women with narrow waists and perfect faces. I still see in them what I wish I could be and what I wish I could have been. My heart still longs for the never possible chance for me to be a little girl, shopping for the most darling little-girl dresses, and spinning and skipping my way through the store.

Resentment never takes hold as a recall the pain of pretending to be a man and a struggles of trying to play the part well, in spite of myself. That I am allowed to present myself as a woman is a miracle in itself. Of course, the permission was given to me, by me. The degree to which I am a woman is something of my nature and requires no permission. The only permission required is that should I dare to allow myself to be me.

But then again, I am allowed to be me. It is not entirely my choice. There are still too many transgender people who are not allowed to be who they are. Even if there were only one such person it would be too many. But couldn’t they be who they are if they only gave themselves permission?

Permission to what? Permission to be disowned by their parents? Permission to be beaten? Permission to be fired from their jobs? And we could all be able to drive race cars, if we only gave ourselves permission. The fact is that we can’t all drive race cars, and we can’t all find the courage and/or insanity it takes to simply be who we are, no matter the price.

I will still sit at my make-up table in the morning and look into my make-up mirror and take actions, make decisions, and think thoughts, all designed to influence how I am seen. In the mix of those actions and decisions and thoughts will be the ones about how I will live my life, the ones that lengthen my lashes, and the ones that drive me to try to make the world a little better on a daily basis.

Will I be pretty? It depends on how you look at it. More importantly, it depends on how I look at it. Watch the video:

© 12/02/2012, Stephanie Mott

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