Friday, March 9, 2012

Beauty and the Beast?

I recently saw this on twitter - "Two women cannot be friends when one is stunningly beautiful and the other questions her beauty."

I met Jo (not her real name) when we worked at a local college and had to share an office. She was the Program Manager and I was the Technical Assistant. I took this job because I was not happy being a SAHM and needed something else to keep my mind occupied.

Jo was pretty, but she had a stern exterior. I was my usual cheerful self. I never felt intimidated by her looks or capabilities; slowly but surely she began to thaw and we became friends.

One Saturday we were required to be at a workshop. As I parked, I saw this beautiful lady outside crying - it was Jo. I approached her and asked her what's wrong and that's when I began to hear of her relationship woes. I listened, and she eventually made it inside where she was able to complete the day.

Over time I got to know a lot about Jo; we were a good team. She encouraged me to pursue other professional opportunities because she saw something in me that I did not see. Ultimately we were both recruited to work in a local school district. This school district was a high need school district and it took a toll on both of us.

One day I passed by her office and notice that her clear complexion had broken out. I am one of those people that if I care about you, will ask you a question even if it's considered off-limits by others. I asked her about her face. She proceeded to tell me that a male co-worker had attempted to take advantage of her and she did not know what to do. Because a similar situation had happened to me in college, I knew she needed to speak up - and that's what I told her to do. I hugged her and provided the best counsel I could so that she wouldn't jeopardize her job and continue to suffer unnecessary stress. In the end, the offender was removed and she remained in her job.

A funny event that transpired during our friendship - we had to visit one of our schools together. When we arrived we were greeted by a very handsome custodian - who seemed to wear many hats at the school. Through the course of our interactions, it became clear that he was flirting with me and ignoring my co-worker. My co-worker was taken aback and I was highly amused (and flattered). She surely thought he would be attracted to her instead of me. happens. Perhaps we were both beautiful!

We started walking together in the evenings and our children hung out together. We were friends and her stunning beauty did not stand in the way of our friendship. Stunning beauties need real friends.

Maya Angelou wrote this poem called Phenomenal Woman which encapsulates the concept of beauty that comes from within and glows without. It's long but I wanted you to read it.

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size 
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips, 
The stride of my step, 
The curl of my lips. 
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman, 
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please, 
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees. 
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees. 
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes, 
And the flash of my teeth, 
The swing in my waist, 
And the joy in my feet. 
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered 
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them, 
They say they still can't see. 
I say,
It's in the arch of my back, 
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed. 
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud. 
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels, 
The bend of my hair, 
The palm of my hand, 
The need for my care. 
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

—Maya Angelou

This poem defines inner beauty that radiates outward. Beauty on the inside makes you more beautiful to look at. 

This thing we define as beauty is fleeting and ever changing depending on who is looking. I think most people are beautiful even if society's standards don't say you are. I think one's personality enhances one's looks.

Outward beauty fades over time, but your insides - your character can grow over time if nurtured.
Every culture has different standards of beauty - so what may be pretty here is considered unattractive elsewhere.  Your beauty shouldn't depend on who is looking at you. God made all women to be something beautiful
Take time to know you. Don't let anyone define your beauty. Know you're beautiful because God says you are.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7   

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7

Are you beautiful? Do you have any beautiful friends? Do you question your beauty? Does the original statement ring true?


  1. I am beautiful and I have several beautiful friends. However, I define "beauty" the way that you do. As an immature woman I questioned my beauty. I can be honest and admit that I have had esteem issues in the past when I allowed the devil to win, but life has taught me so much. "Pretty is as pretty does" as they say. Physical beauty is but a facet of a person. I don't give a lot of credence to things that may not really require any effort i.e, nature beauty. Just like I am not impressed with high end clothes, cars, homes, etc. I am more impressed with qualities such as kindness, consideration, work ethic, integrity and selflessness. One thing my fiance has taught me is everything is not for everybody. Just like that man found you more attractive than your friend, people find themselves naturally drawn to people for various reasons. It can be very subjective. I told him very early in our courtship that "the most impressive things about me are not things that you can see across a crowed room". He still remembers that.

  2. That's one of my favorite poems. I agree with your description of character, spirit and inner beauty. Therefore, I am beautiful, as are all my friends! =)

  3. I have some very pretty friends but it doesn't make me evil or jealous towards them-which I think can be an issue among women. There is just no need for that. Now, if you don't like them as a person that's totally different. It's so true. Beauty is really only skin deep. I wish that I had a better grasp on that concept when I was younger.


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