On Beauty & Lessons

“You can’t eat beauty, it doesn't feed you...beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be. You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What actually sustains us, what is fundamentally beautiful, is compassion--for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty inflames the heart and enchants the soul.” 
           ~ Lupita Nyong'o

Most mornings she wants to put on a pretty dress (her words).
"don't I look like a princess...don't I look beautiful?" she asks?
I always nod my head, and assure her that she looks just like a princess...very beautiful.

At the age of 3, The Man and I don't talk about her particular shade of brown hands, or why in the world her family members all looks slightly different from each other.

Our book shelves are filled with books about children from all races, and cultures.
Those borrowed from the library are so diverse, it's a non-issue.

In the past 2 months however, she has lifted the veil from my eyes, and has forced me to come to terms with the fact that she's beginning to see all the world through a different lens.

We have always taught the children to use "other" describing words to talk about people (not fat, White/Black).
We have given them clear examples, like the boy with the blue shirt; or the lady with the red shoes etc.
So I was thrown off guard when she recently referred to an individual as a "colour".
Call me naive, I just wasn't prepared for that.
In addition, she has started referring to dad as White - which he is not, and insists she likes his colour better.

I suppose she is navigating her way in this diverse world, and describing things as she sees them.
I am not fully convinced of this...

I want to tell her, and show her (by example) that beauty really has no meaning.
We are all created in the image of our maker.

In reality, the world will tell her differently.
The world will tell her beauty is all about her physical shell.
They will shove all their definitions of beauty down her throat...feed it to her, and try to fill her up.

What do I know about beauty?
I know that it has no race, or style.
It does not and never has been the source of any real happiness.
I know it is also limited, and, confining.

It is my hope that as she grows she will not let others define her.
That she will not wrap herself into a neat box of ideals, trying to be someone or something she is not,
or can never be.
It's my job to help her know that she's perfection, only as Allah intended.
...not more or less than anyone else.


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This week . 34

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