Today is one of those days where I make a conscious decision to be grateful for having the face that I have. I only have these days when I’m either feeling really pretty, or, as is the case today, ugly.
Today I feel ugly. There’s no specific reason for this. Nothing I can really pin down as The Reason for Feeling This Way. I just woke up, looked in the mirror, and found that my face didn’t appeal to me. It’s too puffy and round, my lips aren’t full enough, my skin isn’t clear, my eyebrows aren’t thick, my nose is too big, my eyes seem to be angeled to the sides of my face, my pores are huge, my eyelashes seem to be non-existent… And blah blah blah. There’s a whole list of things to choose from on days like today. And I’m not saying that it’s necessarily bad to think those things. That it’s bad to not always feel so strikingly beautiful all of the time. I’m just saying that when I find I’m having a day like today, it’s so easy for me to let it get to my head. To wish that I had somebody else’s face. To wish I looked more like (insert name of person(s) I’m comparing myself to on this day in things that I have no control of). To linger on it all for as long as I can. Why couldn’t I look like so-and-so? Why didn’t I get my mom’s genes for fantastic legs? Why don’t I have beautiful wavy hair like my sister’s? (.ما شاء الله) Why why why. But, thinking like that isn’t fair. Letting it get to my head, isn’t fair either.
Because it isn’t fair to focus on all the positive things that you could have had whilst ignoring the negative, and it also isn’t fair to forget all the times that I have felt so completely beautiful.
There are days, I kid you not, when I look at my face and think “whoever is going to marry me is so lucky.”
And I can assure you that when I have those days, I’m looking at the same face I’m looking at right now. (I’m typing this on my phone as I stand in front of a bathroom mirror, okay?)
So, on days like today, I make it a point to make a conscious decision to be grateful for having this face of mine. This is my face. I don’t feel great about it today, but it’s an off kinda day. I can guarantee that I will be thinking very highly of it some time in the near future, inshaAllah. It’ll still be my face then, too.
When I was a little girl, my mom taught me this little duaa (prayer) to say whenever I found myself lookin’ reeeeeal good. We were in my Teta’s house (الله يرحمها/ may she rest in peace) in Syria, and I believe we were getting ready for Eid when this happened, because I remember myself standing in front of the bedroom mirror whilst I admired myself in what must have been a new outfit. Anyways, Mama saw this happening. Saw me enjoying my new pretty clothes, and, with a smile on her face, told me that whenever I’m feeling pretty, I should make it a habit to say:
”اللَّهُمَّ أَحْسَنْتَ خَلْقِي فَأَحْسِنْ خُلُقِي”
Which roughly translates to: (As found online)
“Oh Allah, as you have perfected my outward creation so too perfect my inward character.”
As you can probably tell, I did make it a habit to say that when feeling pretty. But! I also made a habit to say it when I’m feeling not-so-pretty.
Because the shell matters. Try as hard as you can to say and convince me that it doesn’t, and I’ll still think that it does. But it isn’t what matters most. Looks fade, and beauty trends shift. What once was considered desirable/trendy/beautiful etc., has now taken a backseat, if lucky. Saying the duaa not only helps to remind that it is my aim to have as good a character as I can manage whilst dealing with those exterior changes, but it also helps to make me feel grateful for what it is that I do have, even if I amen’t feeling particularly appreciative of it at this certain moment.
(Please note that this has nothing to do with my perspective on plastic surgery. That’s possibly a post for another time.)