For the past four and a half months I have not felt pretty. It's living in a cottage with no plumbing. It's hanging around all day wearing physical-work-appropriate clothing due to the renovation work at the house. It's not bothering to wash my hair or my clothes as often because I am covered in dust or other crap most of the time anyway. It's about feeling tired an awful lot.
It occurred to me recently that I have not not felt pretty a lot in my life. Not that I've always felt beautiful, I just haven't actively felt not-beautiful. Apart from the occasional bad-hair-bad-skin-bad-whatever days and the times here and there when I've felt self-conscious about being too skinny, I've been okay with the way I look for a long time. I realize that I've been very lucky in that sense, that I've made my peace with the way I look, that I'm comfortable in my own skin.
Both Chris and I have let ourselves look like crap while our lives have been stuck in the summer-cottage-limbo. Most days I wear really ugly clothes. I haven't had a haircut in months. I feel like I look like crap most of the time. But considering the circumstances I look perfectly presentable in the outfit pictures I've posted here and there. Heck, I've even looked pretty in some of them. But you know that feeling, when you're not looking good to yourself, because you are just not feeling good? That's where I've been at for way too long now. That's the worst kind of not-pretty. The kind where you're just not bothering to take care of yourself, the kind that makes you think "what's it for anyway". It's not that I don't believe, to borrow the much-used phrase from a mega-cosmetics-company, that I'm worth it. I just can't be bothered, and it's a bad cycle: why bother leads to feeling like crap, both physically and mentally.
Self-appreciation is really important. Prettiness is important. Not the type where we compare ourselves to others, not the type where we try to achieve mindless standards of beauty. I'm talking about the type of prettiness that radiates from within. Pretty because we're enough, pretty because we just are. Prettiness is so, so much more than just looking like the part.
Things will get better soon, once we move in to the house, once we get our lives back. Once we have access to running water 24/7, once we are done sweeping sawdust from our floors every day. I know things will get better, that I'll feel better, that I'll look pretty to myself again. Chris had a haircut this week, and he's already looking like a real boy.