"Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who wanted to go to a ball ..."
So start countless fairy tales. Oh sure, in more modern ones, the princess is often really smart or really talented or really kind as well. But, you very rarely hear a story that begins with, "Once upon a time, there was a princess who had frizzy hair, thick glasses and acne, and the day before the ball, her orthodontist installed top and bottom braces that she would have to wear for the next eighteen months."
When you're a little girl, it's all about being pretty. Just count the Disney princesses at any preschool Halloween party. When you're wrapping up middle school, you still want to be pretty. But by then, it feels more like wishful thinking. Most fourteen-year-old girls have an acute sense of their own flaws. Too thin, too fat, too tall, too short. The wrong color hair, the wrong color eyes. Life was a lot easier when a long dress and tiara was all it took to feel beautiful.
I wish I could tell every tween and teen that looks don't matter. But, sadly they do. And these girls don't just know it; they live it. Instead, I'm going to try to give equal time (at least in Lovin' the Alien) to all the other beautiful things girls can be. Smart and generous and strong and honest.
For our girls, here are some words of wisdom from some very beautiful ladies:
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
— Eleanor Roosevelt
"It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength."
— Maya Angelou
"Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical."
— Sophia Loren
"The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows."
— Audrey Hepburn
"I didn't have any confidence in my beauty when I was young. I felt like a character actress, and I still do."
— Meryl Streep
"The ideal beauty is a fugitive which is never found."
— Joan Rivers
"I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside."
— Whitney Houston
"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."
— Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
"A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude, and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful."
— Jacqueline Bisset
"Beauty is not just physical."
— Halle Berry
"Sometimes the beauty is easy. Sometimes you don't have to try at all."
— Ani DiFranco
And, one last contribution. (Or should I say reality check?)
"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?"
— Lily Tomlin