My Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

handheld mirror

One woman realizes that image is arbitrary, and true beauty is simply who she is.

When I turned 30, I was suddenly hot.

Before then I was OK. Cute at best. I had my awkward years, of course. As a baby, I had gravity-defying hair and bulldog cheeks. At 13, I wore glasses and braces, and was one of just a few Asian kids in a Jewish-Italian neighborhood, where big Bambi eyes, pert noses, and long legs were all the rage. In college I gained the freshman 15, lost it, gained it, lost it, and gained it again.

By my mid-20s, I'd come to terms with my average looks. I knew my coarse and kinky hair would never miraculously transform into smooth and silky locks. I'd never have bone structure like Lauren Bacall's or peepers like Winona Ryder's. And I had to accept that my brother was the one to inherit our dad's tall and skinny physique while I got our mom's round petiteness (a better match anyway). The Frisky: I Want To Be Told I'm Beautiful

I had other attributes. Brains, a wicked sense of humor, writing prowess. Guys still liked me. I dated, fell in love, and got married.

Then at 30, things changed. I lost some baby fat and bam! out came my cheekbones. Years of running had whittled my waist down to nothing and gave me an ass Madonna would have been proud of. I started wearing fitted tops, tighter pants, and strappy heels, tossing aside the baggy outfits and clunky shoes I'd been wearing since college.

Finally, I was beautiful.

But my husband didn't even notice. He'd always appreciated my "demure beauty," but now he seemed troubled. "You wear thongs now?" he asked, perplexed. I didn't understand. Didn't guys like that? Why was he so withdrawn and angry? I was trying my best, I thought. With his sick mom, to make our home nice, to make more money, to make him happy. But none of it seemed to be working.

I bought more clothes. I clocked more miles on the treadmill. I lost more weight. But I didn't feel better.

Then my husband cheated on me.