What Makes You Feel Beautiful? 

Jenny Feldon

A while ago, I read a book called “Karma Gone Bad” by Jenny Feldon. I thought it would be a fluffy, summer read kind of thing, but it was so much more. Jenny’s writing style reminds me of Cheryl Strayed and her book, “Wild”. She is brutally honest, and let you see her heart and soul. I love honest writing, writing that makes a difference to me long after the book is finished.

The book is about when Jenny and her husband move to India temporarily for his work, and everything that means. The struggle to adjust to the culture, experiencing so many new things, how it affects their relationship; it’s fascinating. It made me think about marriage and how I live my life in a different way. I think it’s really important to constantly examine your life, and this pushed me to do that.

There was one passage in particular that truly struck me (the passage is above). I took a picture before I even had a blog, because it meant that much to me. I liked to go back to it and re-read it. Here is the passage for anyone who can’t see the picture:

“Yeah, sure.” I blushed under his gaze. “Thanks.”

Jay never told me I was beautiful. I’d been wounded by the absent compliment more than once, frustrated that he seemed indifferent to my appearance no matter how much effort I put in. Don’t you think I’m pretty? I’d ask. Of course I do. I married you, didn’t I? he’d answer, as though that were good enough.

I wanted him to think I was beautiful, or at least tell me so, even when I wasn’t. Because I wasn’t, always, but I longed for him to see me that way. My desire for his acceptance and approval hadn’t disappeared the day he put a ring on my finger. Sometimes I’d stand in front of the mirror, staring at myself, trying to see what he saw, wondering what flaw rendered me so ordinary to the person who was supposed to love me most.

But mostly, I let it go. There were other people who filled that void. Whose compliments lifted me up and made me whole. My parents, my girlfriends, my co-workers and classmates. Years before the cultural phenomenon of the Facebook “like,” we traded support like currency, banking a gorgeous here and a brilliant there, knowing that when we needed it, a whole slew of love-isms would come back to us in spades.

-excerpt from “Karma Gone Bad” by Jenny Feldon

Jenny’s words resonated with me, deep down. I had struggled to explain to my husband how I needed positive reinforcement. It always ended up coming out like I was begging for compliments. Compliments that felt awkward to him, and often undeserved to me. When it comes down to it, it was the way I wanted him to see me. Not as I always am in the moment, but as I am as a whole person. The person that should matter most.

This is a danger in relationships, I think. When you have something that you really need, really want to express, but don’t know how. Then you have to find a therapist, book, friend, pet… Et cetera to help you find it.

The plot of my obsession over this thickens. One day I thought, I should blog about that! So I took a chance and I contacted Jenny to see if it would be okay to use the passage. I told her how much I loved it and waited… Not really thinking she would get back to me. THEN SHE DID!! Oh my gosh, I was totally star struck 🙂 Part of her email is below. She was so nice, and I was happy that I let her know I loved her book. How cool is this?!

Jillian,
… THANK YOU for reading and for your incredibly kind and thoughtful words about the passage. It means the world to me that my words resonated with you, and especially the words in that passage, as it was both one of hardest to write, and the most meaningful to me in the entire book… Of course you can quote or photograph the excerpt… Thank you so very much for reading the book and for taking the time to write this email. It touched me deeply and I’m grateful.

All my best,

Jenny

I feel so honored that she wrote me back. It’s wonderful that I was able to touch her! It was a little hard for me to reach out to her (but not as much as it would have been in the past). I was worried she would think I was crazy, and definitely thought she wouldn’t have time to answer. I’m so glad that I was brave, because I feel so much more confident now.

I know that I deserve someone who gets me, but I truly think it is more about me. Getting myself, loving myself, and knowing how to express what I need. That is how I can feel beautiful 🙂

Tell me what you think- and if you have any reading recommendations for me?

Jillian

Comments

  1. I can relate to this so much. I felt invisible to my ex. I didn’t feel he cherished me or even valued me and it really eroded my self-esteem. I even visited a plastic surgeon to see if there was anything that could be done to make me prettier just so that he’d freaking notice me. Things are the opposite with Mike — he makes me feel special and loved and beautiful every day and it’s like a breath of fresh air. It makes me sad for who I was when I was with my ex — I was with him for so long, more than 10 years. That’s a long time to feel so invisible.

    Another thing you said struck a chord, about how it’s important to constantly examine your life. It brings to mind the Socrates quote, “A life unexamined is not worth living.” I think we should all strive for personal growth, and part of that is leaving behind aspects of life that are holding back your growth. For so long I was afraid to examine my life because I knew I’d conclude that I needed to get out of my unhappy marriage, and I was afraid to. Now that it’s over, I feel grateful that I was able to find happiness and beauty on the other side.

    Finally, I need to read that book! I recommend The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins — I’m reading it now and it’s been compared to Gone Girl. (I recommend that one too if you haven’t read it.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Im so glad that you are in a fulfilling relationship now! You’re right, invisible is not a good place to be.

      I have a problem with pushing things aside that I don’t want to think about. That’s exactly what you’re saying, and I totally agree. It’s important, and it’s what I am going to do moving forward.

      Thank you for the book recommendation!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read that book and it made me literally laugh out loud, cry, and reflect on my life. It is so great that the author replied to you. I would frame that email… lol. I cannot relate to not loving yourself. As a woman of color, it was instilled in me since birth that I am beautiful and gorgeous. I will never forget as a child my grandmother finished plaiting my hair, stood me in front of the picture window, and patted my braids and said others may not see you as pretty, but know you are a beautiful colored girl. Over the years I have looked in many mirrors and told myself that and believe it as my truth. I have also looked in the eyes of many partners and dropped them if they do not see the same. Life is too short to be invisible and to go unloved by yourself or anyone else in your inner circle! – Book recommendation Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile its about a woman reinventing herself and discovering family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad that you loved the book, too!

      It’s a wonderful gift that your grandmother gave you, teaching you to see the beauty in yourself. I think that is definitely our job, as women.

      I will look for the book!

      Like

  3. Hey glad you did that . Everyone woman loves to be appreciated it ain’t a crime gal. You should read Letters to my Daughter bt Maya Angelou it is a real eye opener.:-) Lots of love<3

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello there:) I am not so sure if you do blog awards, but just in case:) I have nominated you for the beautiful blogger award. 🙂 https://puffingcolors.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/beautiful-blogger-award/

    Liked by 1 person

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