After yesterday and opening up about my struggles with food, it seems time to finally write about something I have kicked around in my head for years. Please know this is my take on this situation, and doesn’t represent all women, or all CPTSD survivors.
Please don’t call me pretty. Some of the most horrific acts committed against me were justified by my abusers saying “It’s because you are so pretty.” It was my fault they couldn’t control themselves, because I was so pretty. It was my fault that other people would look at me, so I had either better have perfect make up so they could adore me, or I had better hide myself under every layer possible. I couldn’t follow my interest, because pretty girls didn’t do those kinds of things. I couldn’t talk about the abuse, because that wasn’t pretty.
I get that those words were used to harm me. Used to cover up the “ugliness” inside of these abusers. I understand that now, in a normal setting, this is intended to compliment me. The word pretty, especially from a male, is still a trigger. It can make me so angry that I won’t hear anything else said after that. I feel sorry at times for the person who doesn’t realize it when they say this as a compliment. I immediately think less of someone who says this, and that is not fair to them or me.
After having no self worth for years, when I started looking at what I wanted to value about myself, pretty wasn’t there. I have a kind heart. I’m a fierce friend. I am a mother who will tell you I believe in you everyday. I have been to the bottom and survived. There are more, but that’s just to give you and idea of what I want to celebrate about me. These things have nothing to do about my looks. They are everything to do with me.
It saddens me to see a part of the world that is superficial. Where beauty is valued more than a kind heart. I used this to my advantage(or so I thought) when I gained a lot of weight. I was no longer bothered by those who valued pretty, but that is a hard price for my body to pay. Now I tend to ignore the superficial, but because I know it holds no value for me.
So the next time you want to compliment someone, I challenge you to say something about anything other than their looks, clothes, or nice ride. If you leave out those to things, what you say immediately becomes more sincere, more personal to the person. This kind of compliment will have them smiling when they remember it later. It may be harder to word or say, but it’s because this kind of compliment is worth it’s weight in gold.
And please, if we ever meet in person, don’t call me pretty. 🙂