Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Baby, You Fugly.

Most babies are cute, right? Most of them—even if you aren’t a fan of the little ones—inspire oohs and ahhs or, at least, a deepening smile from on-lookers. And I had just such an experience recently when I saw a sweet little girl in the airport. She was smiling and giggling and looking right at me with an unabashed grin of enthusiasm at meeting another human. “She’s so cute,” I said.

And then I looked at her, I mean looked right at her, and I tell you, she was ugly! Not just ugly, but really ugly; she looked like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings. Big ol’ pumpkin of a head with thin straggly hair hanging over her broad forehead and big ears that stuck dramatically out to the sides. I looked at her parents, neither of whom was terribly ugly, and it seemed that she had gotten the worst traits from them both. Yet they were all just happily loving each other, a little family in the midst of a crazy airport, smiling, talking together and completely unconcerned about the busy world around them. They loved each other, it was obvious.

Baby Gollum leaned her way over to me, inch-by-inch against the row of seats. The whole way she looked at me, she just looked at me and smiled. Not a half smile or a smile of uncertainty, but a giant, ear-to-ear, drool-filled smile. 

She had no insecurity about herself or her actions. She had no fear of being rejected, no thought of what I would think of her and she definitely wasn’t concerned with how she looked. She was simply content in her own little skin, making friends with anyone who was interested. This, I thought, is what makes her so beautiful. It made me grin right back at her and even smile at her parents.

Confidence is beautiful. Confidence is sexy. Confidence can get you a job or a date. Really, it can help with anything. A friend of mine once told me a story. He was tying his boat up to dock when a confident, well-dressed man walked up to the boat next to his. As he started to untie said boat, my friend asked if he’d like help shoving off. The man said yes, they exchanged pleasantries and off they went their separate ways. Next day at the dock my friend was approached and asked if he’d seen anyone or anything unusual at the slip next to his because the boat that docked there had been stolen. Seems confidence can even get someone to help you steal a boat!

Beauty, really, occurs naturally when we truly accept and honor who we are. Sexiness is when we love ourselves so much that we are confident with how we look, even if its not the norm that society or media tells us is beautiful. (And a little reminder, societies differ in their thoughts on what’s beautiful and what’s ugly. One of my friends always says that if you begin to feel your age is making you unattractive, it would be better to spend the money on a trip to Italy—where age is thought to be beautiful and sexy—than on plastic surgery.) Nothing is a bigger turn off than someone repeatedly complaining about themselves and their problems. That makes anyone Fugly!

Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But, for a beholder to see the real you, you have to reveal the essence of who you are. Each of us has an inner uniqueness, an essence that we can’t change no matter how hard we try or how many surgeries we have. Some of us are just plain quirky. Who me? Match the color of my clothes to the mood I’m in? And sometimes change three times a day? That’s not strange. It’s just who I am. You have to have swagger enough that says Hey, world, I love who I am, take it or leave it! Actors and models have been doing this for ages. Think J. Lo’s booming posterior, Madonna’s gapped front teeth or Brooke Shields’s thick eyebrows. The quirk, when loved and preened to perfection, becomes a trademark.

To be true to your quirks and true to who you are is one of the most confidence-inducing things you can do. It is to live out your purpose here; be yourself and be happy. That’s your dharma. Most definitions of dharma include some sort of wording about right action or living a proper life. For me, the most “right” thing you can do is just happily be yourself regardless of the most demanding situation or the rudest a-hole. One of my traits, part of my essence, is I am an incredibly loving person. To live my dharma requires me to be the love-bug that I am even when some jerk cuts me off in traffic. When I react in hatred it goes against the fiber of who I am and all I’m left with is feeling terrible about myself and angry, while he drives away to cut someone else off.

What if all of us were as open as little baby Gollum? What if we stopped being so overly-concerned with what other people think of what we are doing or how we look? Wouldn’t we be more open to meet strangers and make friends? If we could be comfortable in our own skin and turn all of our scars into marks of beauty and honor them, wouldn’t we be more happy?

I know you have funny quirks and cool birth marks. I know you have traits that make you unique. I’d love to hear about them, I’d love to hear about your swagger and your dharma. What do you do that is true to you? How do you show off your marks of beauty? What makes you, well you?

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