We celebrate milestones all the time: first steps, first words, starting school, first kiss, graduation, and then marriage.
What do all of the above events have in common? They make you and the people around you feel amazing. And the time that I felt most amazing is usually not included in popular lists. The first time a boy called me beautiful. The point where I truly accepted myself.
His name was Mark. It was at his birthday party, quite recently, and we were all sitting around and talking. I had been without a boyfriend for nearly two months, and Mark had just broken up with his girlfriend, Taylor, a few days before. I was rather secluded, sitting on the window-seat, staring out into the driveway, absentmindedly watching cars go by, when he walked over and asked me what was wrong. I looked up, startled out of my reverie.
“Nothing’s wrong,” I said, quite truthfully. I then made an honest attempt at joining in the festivities for a while, until things started to quiet down and I could inconspicuously restore my position by the window. Eventually Mark came over and sat down by me.
“So, have you found a new boyfriend yet?” he asked brazenly. I was completely unfazed. This was his way.
“No,” I replied, wondering where he was going with this.
“That’s surprising,” he said, looking slightly shocked.
I looked at him as though he were insane. “How is that surprising?”
“Three reasons,” he said matter-of-factly.
“Oh.” I figured that he didn’t want to tell me his three reasons, so I let it go.
“It only took Taylor three days to find a replacement boyfriend,” he said in my ear. “Him,” he said, pointing at another boy sitting in the room.
“Oh, wow,” I said appropriately, mentally comparing Mark’s looks to the other boy’s. Mark was much better, I decided.
“Yeah,” he said. “It wasn’t pretty.” We both laughed.
Later on, I remembered our earlier conversation. I was laying on the window-seat, my head propped against a pillow. He was sitting by my feet. I prodded him with my foot.
“Are you gonna tell me your reasons?” I asked him.
He sighed, pretending to be annoyed. He got up and stood next to me so that he was looking down at me.
“Well, you have an awesome personality, you’re really fun to be around, and …” he put two of his fingers under my chin and turned my head so he could see my face clearly—“you’re beautiful.” He nearly whispered the word and his voice was completely loaded with emotion. I stared up at him. I could feel my face turning red as he returned to his position near my feet. I started giggling nervously. I definitely hadn’t expected that.
And in that moment, I realized that not all guys are the same. The last time someone had called me beautiful was my ex-boyfriend after he had read my blog on Myspace. I had written that girls like it when you call them beautiful, not hot or sexy. And Mark had called me beautiful without even knowing that I would like it. It had been his first choice of words. And now, when I look in the mirror, I feel absolutely perfect. Not because I have decided to base my life on Mark’s words, but because I have finally accepted myself the way I am. Not the way some shallow boy sees me. I know that I’m beautiful. And that’s all that really matters.