There haven't really been that many moments in my life when I've actually felt pretty. A lot of that stems back to childhood, I think.
I look much more like my biological father than my mother, and since they were divorced very early in my life, and fairly acrimoniously, she couldn't tolerate seeing him every time she looked at me.
I heard all kinds of minor snips about my looks growing up -- my hair was always 'a mess of tangles,' my eyes were wrong, my body type didn't make making clothes (which she did for the first 8 years or so) easy as she always had to alter the pattern for me -- just little things, but little things that my brain filtered as ugly. (My mother is also the queen of the backhanded insult -- you know, it sounds like a complement until you let it sink in and realize what was really said -- which didn't help much.)
I didn't even know why I was ugly until a trip to see extended family when I was 17, and every family member we encountered said 'oh my, she does favor ****, doesn't she,' as though that were something bad.
Unfortunately, I inherited the worst of his physical traits: the big nose, the huge bags under my eyes, the unruly hair. And I've sort of hated how I look most of my life -- even more so with the weight gain.
Last Sunday, I popped into Supercuts to fix a bad haircut from a month or so ago. I had tried a blunt cut at my shoulders, which meant all my long layers had to be cut up to the shortest layer, just above my shoulders. It seemed a good cut at first, but mere days later I couldn't do a thing with it.
At Supercuts, I wound up with the stylist who had done an excellent job on rugrat's hair a week or so earlier, so that was good luck. She said that with my hair, if I wanted blunt cut, it would have to be very short and sleek; otherwise, I need layers.
I was worried about cutting layers in hair that was already much shorter than I prefer, but I trusted her. And she came through. She knew exactly what to do, and as she was finishing the cut, women waiting their turn began to comment on how great the cut was (it was a busy day, the waiting room was full, and her station was right in the front).
So when she was finished with the cut and while she had the audience, she grabbed her blow dryer and a brush and proceeded to give me an absolutely free blow dry and style. And she really made it work.
Typically after a hair cut, when I'm turned toward the mirror to look, I cringe. It just never seems to be quite right, especially under those bright lights. But when she turned me around, and amid the chorus of oohs from the 'ladies in waiting,' I was awestruck. It was one of those moments. One of those 'I feel pretty' moments. Because it really did look fantastic. They knew it, I knew it, and the stylist knew it -- that's why I got the free dry and style. It was her chance to shine in front of the customers, and she went for it...and made me shine in the process.
And I'm eternally grateful that she did. I've felt a bit pretty all week. Sort of a lingering feeling that I'm finding I enjoy. I find I'm spending a little more time doing my hair and makeup in the morning because I kind of like how I look...a little more than I usually do anyway.
Did I mention the stylist received a $10 tip for a $14 cut?
I'd have given her more if I'd had it, just for making me feel good.