Monday, August 24, 2009

The Cover Art ... is just Marketing

I grew up boy crazy.

If you were "sneaky, sneaky" and you opened up my journals from elementary school, middle school, high school and college, you'd find it littered with pathetic poem attempts, highs and drastic lows, and... lists of boys that I thought were.... "cuuuuuuuuuute".

It's entertaining to read through my childhood...and remember how I felt, smile knowingly at the budding soul...and thank the Lord I grew out of that...somewhat (celebrities not included).

When I was a young 'un it was all about how a boy looked. That was all that was important. Of course, if he was mean to me - he'd instantly be off the list. Even at that young age, how someone acted would either elevate them higher on the "good-looking" list, or plummet them off my chart.

And... oh yes... I played a lot of MASH.

I am a bit sheepish to admit that "boy crazy", kind of defined who I was, even in high school. I even took pictures with "hot" TAs. I am so utterly embarrassing.

A turning point came when one of my friends in high school turned to me one day during brunch or lunch and said, point blank, in reference to my frivolous obsessions, "why don't you get a personality"?

That hit me hard. It struck right to my core. I realized, she was right. I was so one-dimensional, dull, and let's be honest - silly - that even if a boy was interested in me, there was nothing of substance to sustain any kind of mature relationship.

So I took that to heart. I realized I needed to be more than just brainlessly obsessed with one thing.

Through college I discovered that a person's attractiveness... at least for me - increased based on their personality, character, and heart. I learned that by watching how a person reacted to doing acts of service, treated the "outsiders", took initiative... those things they did when they thought no one was watching, spoke volumes about the person behind the facade.

I have looked back at "THE" list. I'm sure you've done one. The list of what you wanted in a spouse. I was surprised, and a little relieved that my list was full of qualities and traits, not physical appearances, and shallow requirements, that in the end, mean very little.

I was also pleased that I had eventually abandoned that first list as a focal point, and had created a list of qualities that I knew I could work on to make myself the type of woman a good man would want to marry. A woman that my children would want to have as a mother. A woman that I would be able to respect.

It's amusing to hear my Beehives talk about the kind of men they want to marry - it's not much different than when I was young. I wish I could pull out my experiences and hand it all over to them, so that they can be that much more ahead of the game in discovering what is important.

Then again, it's not my turn to learn - it's theirs. And... while I can hope that they learn it, I know there will be some that might not learn it as quickly. I say that because I still see women, grown women, who are mothers, who only like to be friends with women who look like them - or look like the women they'd like to be associated with. These women judge a person based on if they look old/young, or fat/skinny or burlap sack/fashion-forward. They don't see that our appearances aren't something we have much choice in. If they could look behind the physical appearances, they'd discover how brilliant the women they write off are.

There is nothing more lovely to me than the friendships I value. I don't look physically like any of my friends that I respect. But I hope I do look like them in the things that matter. I hope I match (or one day match) these great women I respect in faith, service, humor, joy, devotion, wisdom....They are beautiful to me.

I'm grateful to that friend in high school. The one who was mature beyond her years, to call me out. Our looks are just cover art... but what's inside... well, we can make it glorious.


~j. said...

Do you still talk with that friend?

b. said...

I love your words of experience here. What a tough but crucial principle to learn.

Can I send this to my 16 yr old niece?

Queen Scarlett said...

~j - I had been in touch for a while in college - and haven't been since... actually tried to find the person on FB but no such luck... also ... it could have been one of two people... both of which I like. I was lucky to be friends with really good people in high school. I was the crazy mormon girl they let hang around.

b. - Of course you can share... I am. ;-) I am just grateful to have experiences like this. Change for the better is good.

Lucky Red Hen said...

It's interesting to read what the "lightbulb moment" was for others. I, too, wish I could *snap* my fingers for these teenagers so they GET IT and quit acting like, well, a teenager. I still have lightbulb moments.

I prefer to have friends who look a certain way and match my list of requirements. That way I can say, "I have the MOST BEAUTIFUL FRIENDS IN THE WORLD!!!" ...and I do.