Who are you calling beautiful?

Since leaving my job as a lawyer, I miss getting coffee every morning with my friends down the hall, to compare workloads and talk about people in the office who are annoying us. Starting the day by yourself with a cup of instant coffee in your little home office can be really lonely. It just doesn’t have the same kind of pick-me-up quality that in-person commiserating does. In an effort to fill this social void, I’ve been getting my morning java from the convenience store down the street, where I’ve become really friendly with the guy who works behind the counter. Yes, the coffee is generally terrible but I think it’s really important to support local business. Okay that, and every morning when I buy my coffee he says “Good Morning Beautiful!” Obviously it’s a lie. Bleary eyed, in ripped jeans and wild curls forming odd geometrical shapes, I look far from beautiful. Some might say I look downright ridiculous. Unhinged even. But every morning without fail I am greeted with a semi-hot cup of coffee and a sing-songy “Good Morning Beautiful!” Except today. Today he just smiled and said “Hi.” That’s it. “Hi.” “HI!” As if it’s no big deal!? Can you believe it!?

Look, if you’re going to tell disheveled people without makeup that they’re beautiful then you need to do it consistently. You can’t just go around throwing out completely unwarranted “You’re Beautifuls” willy-nilly and then stop! That’s just hurtful. People are relying on you. I mean, if I wanted someone to not tell me I’m beautiful, I could just drink mediocre coffee at home by myself! I don’t need to scrounge up 75 cents from yesterday’s pant’s pockets and make sure I’m wearing two of the same shoes!

The fact of the matter is, I really needed to be told that right now. I’ve been a little unlike myself since leaving my job and Convenient Store Guy’s “You’re Beautifuls” are really all I have going for myself right now. Though it was my decision, I miss my pantyhose, pencil skirts and definitive sense of purpose that came with my legal job, however inauthentic it may have been for me. I lost something when I shed my work clothes. I am finding it tough now to rally myself and that’s just not like me. Not at all.

In her book Radical Sanity, Elizabeth Wurtzel (whom I idolized like a rock star in my 20’s until she betrayed me and became of all things (gasp) a lawyer!) writes that you must always present yourself to the world “as the most delicious, enticing and well-wrapped package you can possibly manage,” even, says Elizabeth, if you’re simply heading to the corner store to buy a newspaper. I have always subscribed to this notion; I think always looking your absolute best, no matter where you’re going, is a good rule to live by. I think people should only see the best possible you.

Except sometimes it’s hard because you don’t feel like the best possible you on the inside. And right now, changing careers and finding my way, I don’t. Right now, beneath my untamed curls, I feel a little lost, a little alone, and not at all beautiful.