I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.


Yesterday I wanted to look pretty.


I have this vague memory of  when I was a little girl.  My mother would dress my sister and me in froufrou-y dresses and white gloves for Easter.  I have pictures as proof.  But frilly dresses and white gloves do not pretty make.

Despite the fact that I know better, I still wanted to look pretty on Easter.

God whispered in my heart, “Easter isn’t about you.”

I felt a little like Tevye, who asked God, “So what would be so terrible… if I had a small fortune?”  Except I asked, “So what would be so terrible… if I were a little bit pretty?”

I took my girls shopping for new clothes to wear on Easter, and felt even more depressed about the whole pretty thing.  Apparently clothing manufacturers think that every girl today, from the age of 5 on up, has pencil thin legs.  I found myself thinking, Whoever invented skinny jeans — I hope you develop a thyroid problem and put on a bunch of weight — in your thighs.  Not a very Easter-y, redeeming thought.  But the dresses were all too short and the pants were all too tight.

Grace, Hannah, and Deirdre each found tops they like and assured me that they had nice pants to wear with them.  I found a sweater, plain and simple, but it was new, and I hoped it would make me feel pretty.

It did not.

I felt fat.  And my hair, which never has wanted to cooperate with me, was particularly argumentative as I got ready for church.

Oh, and shoes.  I had forgotten about shoes.  I had no shoes that looked dressy at all.  In a purge earlier this year, I had gotten rid of any shoes that hurt my feet, which, as it turned out was anything that wasn’t sneakers or slippers.  So it was a pair of white high-tops that were fairly new and clean that I wore.  Not pretty, but at least they didn’t hurt my feet.

As I whined to God about all these things, He kept up His whisper. “This isn’t about you,” He said, and I knew it, but I ignored Him.  On Easter.

Does anyone else see the irony here?

Today, I’m back to not caring about pretty.  Really.

I even watched the “Pretty” poetry slam to remind myself.  Pretty sucks.  I want the message in that video for my daughters.

The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be, and no child of mine will be contained in five letters.  You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing, but you will never be merely pretty.

Here’s the truth, too — I am a pretty good mom.  I have pretty wonderful children.  I have a pretty wonderful life, actually.

If you’ve never seen it, watch this video —


8 comments on “Pretty

  1. nuvofelt
    April 1, 2013

    We may not be pretty, we may not be happy, but we DO have joy! I often take comfort in that . Thanks for posting.

    • sarahlangdon
      April 1, 2013

      Yes, we have great joy, and the ability to see beauty in all those around us, which is so much deeper than pretty.

  2. catterel
    April 1, 2013

    What is “pretty” anyway? My art teacher once commented on a drawing I’d overworked: “You’ve tried to make it pretty and it’s no longer beautiful.” That goes for a lot of things!

    • sarahlangdon
      April 1, 2013

      In the pretty vs beautiful contest, I’ll opt for beautiful every day. Except, of course, Easter Sunday, when – and I can’t explain it for the life of me – I wanted pretty.

      Your art teacher had a great truth. In our quest for pretty, we lose out on beauty.

  3. Judy Guion
    April 1, 2013

    The obsession with being “pretty” by the standards of society hide the awesomeness of being beautiful from the inside out. A very sad state of affairs to present to our children and grandchildren.

    • sarahlangdon
      April 1, 2013

      Yes — an obsession with pretty is the last thing I want to pass on to my children. I think it’s why Peter said, “Let not yours be the outward adorning, the plaiting of the hair and the wearing of fine gold, but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit which in God’s eyes is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

  4. Alyssa
    April 1, 2013

    I hope to have even half of your beauty someday. I mean it.

    Meanwhile, since I don’t have it yet, all I can think about is how I’m dying to tell the woman in the video that “pretty” has six letters, not five.

    • sarahlangdon
      April 1, 2013

      I’ve listened to that poetry slam countless times and never caught the fact that pretty has six letters.

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This entry was posted on April 1, 2013 by in Conversations with God, Postaday 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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