|My Mirror (CAI with Midjourney)|
The body I got is a middling model, nothing special. Normal. Pretty enough to stand out in a room with only a few pretty girls, but overlookable if there's a beauty or two around. Prettier than plain. So I spent the first half of my life feeling average, not unattractive but nothing special, imperfect in unattractive ways, while at the same time, finding out I was still pretty enough to attract the unexpected and unwanted attention of Men. Not the prettiest girl in the room, but maybe the prettiest one he thinks he can get somewhere with. Or, a colleague who suddenly notices I'm prettier than he thought, and changes how he sees me to sexualize me. I felt like hiding whatever beauty I did have, so it wouldn't be dangerous, while simultaneously wishing to feel desirable, beautiful, attracted to. Being young really sucked my life force in so many ways in a woman's body.
Now I am not young, not pretty. I'm beautiful in a way that shocks me in the mirror. Not because I am more beautiful now than I was, when I was young and pretty enough, but because I am better at seeing beauty, my beauty. Better than most people. I can see it, now. I'm startling to myself. I see myself like I see a photograph - the humanity, the unique structure, the expression. My eyes meet my eyes.
Maybe I feel the safety of the cloak of age and imperfection - for most men, I have strayed beyond comparisons of female beauty or sexualization into a neutered territory of aunt, teacher, "older lady." Maybe I am not as afraid to be "maturely beautiful" as I was to be pretty, because I know most people won't even see me at all.
Maybe I just stopped feeling like other people's opinions had any relevance at some point. Maybe I shifted my standards, shifted my view from my deviations from the beauty standard to just seeing what's there. And what's there is more than enough.
Pretty enough for me.