break ups

Am I Not Pretty Enough?

“In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you”

— Dorothy Parker

I've been wondering about something recently. It's nothing ground-breaking - in fact it's something women all over the world discuss on a daily basis, but for some reason, it's been brought to the fore amongst the chicks that I know very strongly of late.

Why do we have such a low opinion of ourselves when it comes to the opposite sex? Or to put it more bluntly; if things don't work out, why do we always assume that we are the ones who should have done more, been better looking, been funnier, been smarter, been more attentive, been less needy, been more needy - and coming back to it again - been more attractive.

I am not going on a feminist rant here. I consider myself a feminist; I believe enormously strongly in the equality of women and men in life, in the workplace and in the home. I do everything I can to promote that equality. But I don't think women are better than men, just as I don't think men are better than women. My goodness, the person I speak to fifteen times a day on the phone is a bloke (admittedly he is also a Panda, so perhaps that explains things - ha, sorry Panda). I suppose what I am trying to say is that in terms of he said/she said, that's not what this is about.

This is purely about why we, as women - smart, funny, beautiful women - continue to blame ourselves when things go pear-shaped with boys.

And we do. We just do. And quite honestly? We need to stop.

There is a girl that I know. She is one of the most giving, open-hearted, loving and tender people on the planet; male or female. She would fight to the death, not for herself, mind you, but for the people that she loves.

She is beautiful both inside and out, which is a rare combination indeed.

She went out with a total nightmare of a bloke (and he is a nightmare - I know that of which I speak) at a time when she was vulnerable and hurting and frankly, easy prey for someone to mess with her head. Which he has done extremely successfully, to the point where her self-confidence has been shattered to pieces, and I know that a corner of her heart will now always have a sliver of broken glass in it that will occasionally dig in and cause a small bleed.

And she blames herself for him not wanting her anymore.

I say this now to every amazing woman that I know - and as every woman that I know is amazing, that's a lot of women;

You are pretty enough. You are smart. You are special, and funny, and spectacular. You deserve to be loved and cherished and desired. If things go wrong, yes, there is usually fault on both sides; but it is on both sides. Don't assume it's because you are to blame.

I am not a fan of Kasey Chambers. Honestly, her voice does the whole nails down a chalkboard thing to me. But that song does resonate in a way - with one reservation; the words need to be turned inside out. The message for all the gorgeous women I know should be this.

I am pretty enough. In fact, I am stunning. Particularly first thing of a morning, when my hair is all messy and I have a bare face. I am not too outspoken. Informed opinionated is awesome; you should thank your lucky stars that you have a girl who knows what is going on beyond who has broken up with whom in La-La Land. If I don't make you laugh, then tough noodles - it means you have a craptacular sense of humour. Because I am funny as a funny thing with added funny. I don't need to try it harder. I try damned hard, every single day.

Next time a girlfriend breaks up with someone, and says 'it was all my fault - I just wasn't good enough', I am going to do three things.

Firstly, get them wildly and inappropriately drunk on really good champagne.

Secondly, make them listen to an entire Kasey Chambers album as punishment for that statement.

And thirdly - possibly a little while after the hangover, because they won't be looking too crash hot, and it would be hard to justify what I am trying to make them see - I will shove them in front of a mirror. And I will make them stare until they see the truth.

They are beautiful.

And nobody has the right to say they are not beautiful 'enough'.