Yesterday I posted a quote from former Bond Girl Eva Green, who complained about being told she’s beautiful because she’d rather people compliment her for her acting talents. This quote irked me — as it irked many of you — and I’ve been thinking a little bit about why, exactly, I found it so annoying. On one hand, it’s irritating to hear anyone complain about being complimented. On the other hand, I “get” why it would be bothersome to have her good looks seemingly overshadow her other talents. Regardless, Green’s problem is utterly unrelatable; it’s certainly not one I’ve ever dealt with — quite the opposite, in fact.

Put simply, I would just love for someone to tell me that I am beautiful.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror at the person looking back at me, I see ‘pretty,’ but then my memory of just how not ‘pretty’ I was comes back crystal clear and I find it impossible that what I’m seeing in the mirror is reality.

I’m not proud of this desire. I know beauty is only skin deep, that it’s in the eye of the beholder, and other such sayings. I know that what is considered beautiful is something that, in large part, has been shaped by the society we live in. Hell, Jessica Simpson has managed to make an entire crappy show about that very topic. I would rather be smart and funny and kind than drop-dead gorgeous — that’s the truth — but I would still very much like for someone to look at me and praise me exclusively for looking lovely.

This desire to be viewed as beautiful by other people stems from being, well, ugly during my teenage years. When I turned 14, I was hit with a triple dose of hideous — very bad acne, glasses, and a mouth full of braces. My mom will tell you that I was beautiful then and she wouldn’t be lying — but then again, my mom, like most, is utterly incapable of seeing her kids as anything but beautiful. But, in my eyes, I was grotesque and I don’t think I have ever gotten over that. I spent countless hours during class staring at my skin in my compact mirror, applying and reapplying powder, trying everything I could to hide my blemishes. It took me years to get used to smiling wide after finally having my braces removed.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror at the person looking back at me, I see “pretty,” but then my memory of just how not “pretty” I was comes back crystal clear and I find it impossible that what I’m seeing in the mirror is reality. I still feel, in some ways, like that unattractive teen, and I desperately want to have someone (oh hell, a man) look at me and confirm that the person in the mirror is me.

I don’t always feel so insecure — I am totally secure in my abilities at work, in my writing, in my sense of humor, and in how I am as a friend. There are days, a lot of them even, where I feel cute and sexy. Usually this is without any “help,” but I am guaranteed to feel good about the way I look if I get some sort of validation from a man. But even during those moments, I never feel beautiful. I can’t remember the last time I was told that. That’s why insults — intentional or not — directed at my appearance cut so deep; that’s why criticisms about my clothes and style are a dealbreaker.

Every single time that I meet a guy or hook up with someone and it doesn’t go any further or it does and then ends, my gut instinct is to assume that it’s because of the way I look. There is still a teeny tiny part of me — which I know, in my brain, is irrational — that thinks that my ex-fiancé ended things because he just wasn’t attracted to me. Having such a lame time online dating isn’t helping matters either — when I “wink” at someone (never “out of my league” physically, by the way) and they don’t respond, I am sure it’s because I’m not pretty enough.

I’m not fishing for compliments here, I promise. I just want to stop pretending that I am completely secure, that by projecting security I can defeat the pangs of low self-esteem I still sometimes feel. Regarding how an innocuous quote from a celebrity can bug the hell out of me, I should probably examine why; doing so might do me more good than pretending it doesn’t.

This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.

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  • RenJennM

    I grew up knowing in my heart-of-hearts that I’m beautiful but believed I was lying to myself because, in my head, boys never seemed to see it. I often got passed up for the girls who were basic in the face but awesome in the body; I, on the other hand, was all face no body. Once, in 9th grade, a boy I knew came up to me and was like “You are so pretty, but you are too damn skinny!” Built up just to be knocked down. Scarred me for life!

    Even today, as a 23-year-old, I struggle with my beauty sometimes. In a perfect world, I’d have my same face but with a slimmer nose; I’d be at least five inches taller in height; and my body would be shaped like Laura Dore’s, with the even skin of Gabrielle Union’s. Instead, I’m tiny, with the body of Golden Brooks, the height of Jada Pinkett-Smith, and the cherubic face of a 14-year-old… not to mention the stretchmarks, scars, and constant *ahem* body grooming I have to deal with to even have smooth enough skin to show off to wear a dress WITH tights.

    Luckily, when I clean up, I clean up WELL, and in those moments… I truly believe my beauty really COULD compete with a celebrity’s or a model’s. But those moments take a lot of work. And even with six-inch heels, I’m still short and am often mistaken for jailbait. In those moments, I do wish I would be noticed by men as much as my friends or my cousins. I find myself putting on a game face a lot to make it seem like it doesn’t matter that EVERYONE I came with to an event collected numbers but me. The craving for validation is a motherf*cker, I swear. But the older I get, I worry about it less, which makes me more secure and more happy. That is, until we’re out another night, and it happens again, and I’m knocked back down to square one.

  • Emma Russell

    I saw Nadezhda Vyacheslav testimony on how she got that guy to love her as she did him.Though i don’t know her, i believed her cos she said Mutton Osun a spell caster help her seen it happen. I didn’t believe her cos she used a spell i believed her cos she made mention of a mutual spell caster i know of that is mutton Osun. I have also see a lot of testimony about his work on the the internet on blog pages and so on. I literally took a lip of faith to contact him and it turn out that it paid off. In my own case i didn’t ask that him to make anyone fall in love with me or ask that my cheating wife comes back. This time i was at fault i messed up.Will really like to say it was an honest mistake or a few hours or days of weakness but then i will be insulting my wife and the love i feel for her. I was in full control of what i was doing i had the choice not to cheat but i still did. She didn’t find out by herself i told hoping if i told her how sorry i am and how much i still love and want to be with her despite my betray she will forgive completely. It was the biggest mistake of my life maybe i should not have told her, i guess she would have still found out if she didn’t catch me then i bet the other lady would have told her what was going on to destroy what me and my wife had. It was obvious my betray really hurt her i could she it in her eye and i was really sorry. That is why i wasn’t so surprise when she asked that we go our separate ways. There and then i realized that i was following the part that ruined my life and my family. I literally lead four month of my life in misery. I have never felt like i needed her like i had felt begging was not an option nothing was an option cos she was gone. It was right about that time Mutton Osun came into the picture or when i asked that he help me get my wife to love as she did before. I was able to provide the items he asked that i get for the spell and send then down to him. Like Nadezhda Vyacheslav said “the spell does become effective at once that ” she was right also cos just after i did what Mutton Osun asked me to do with what he sent me, it took 7 days before anything happened i even thought for a minute that i had met a fake spell caster but in the end i am happy with my wife again. We going to be renewing our vows on the 20th of September. I was on the edge of become a walking dead a woman with nothing to live for thank my star Mutton Osun helped. I will also leave his contact for those who thing he can help them { [email protected] }