You’d Be Pretty If You’d Only…

You’d Be Pretty If You’d Only…

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these words.

Usually while growing up.

But still sometimes as an adult.

I grew up being told I wasn’t the pretty one. The one who’d have to settle for whomever wanted me. I would never get a top-shelf boyfriend, as it were. Not anyone worth anything. I would have to take what I got.

Sometimes the word pretty would be substituted for Cute, lowering my potential even more.

My family would talk about how smart I was to other people but at home, I was rising above my worth, acting like I was better than they were because of one thing or another. My love of books was dangerous and I can’t count the number of times I was hit because I was reading.

But I’d be worth something if only I’d tried.

I grew wary of compliments. Wary of people trying to be nice to me. Wary of affection. It was a tactic used to draw me in close. Being drawn in close meant bruises and sometimes broken bones. I have chips of bone running along the inside of my jawbone, beneath my teeth and under my skin. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to have those. I can’t remember not having uneven chips and divots there.

My right ring finger is deformed at the first joint. I did that to myself. Writing. Writing continuously. Because you see, in hearing I would never be pretty, would have to settle, never be worth anything… I buried myself into words.

Both reading them and writing them.

Books brought me into worlds I never knew existed. I created words out of the oddities forming in my brain. I wrote about faces that looked like mine but I rarely read words that echoed my face, my experiences, my cultures.

I learned not to be worried about being pretty. It was easier to shed that expectation because I was never going to be more than cute, even if I tried my hardest. But what I could do was sculpt my own worlds out of paper and ink… which could be pretty if I tried.

I love writing pretty but that’s not my world. I grew up in violence, grit and a manufactured paradise with a bit of rot behind the stage dressing and some laughter here and there. I’ve loved and lost. And I’ve been loved by family members who were taken from me too soon. I never heard damning words from my grandfathers, not the kind of hatred-hardened rocks used to break my bones. I was told it was okay to be smart or even not be good at something. So long as I tried.

So I guess that’s really the best bit of advice I use to guide me.


Try to be a person you can be with. Try to form your own worlds or reach into someone else’s. Wear what makes you feel pretty or handsome. Be what you admire. Remember people are sometimes assholes but for the most part, they want to help you.

Just be.

And just try.

16 thoughts on “You’d Be Pretty If You’d Only…

  1. Dude…Baby Rhys breaks my heart😢 Just…every kid deserves to be safe,especially with freaking family,to be loved unconditionally. It truly sucks that that statement is followed by ‘in a perfect world’

    *Hugs* In spite of those who tried to bring you down you grew into a strong,loving person who keeps sending out words of hope & love to anyone who needs it. I admire you greatly!

    1. I’m okay. I had my grandfathers for a good few years of my childhood and well, I’m as stubborn as fuck *grins* Smooches. We just go forward, you know?

  2. It’s amazing how the universe works. I have been having a rough go of things recently, and I have found myself floundering. Your message touched deeply and reminded me of what is really important. Okay, enough making this about me.

    Baby Rhys is beautiful. Adult Rhys is beautiful, too, but also so much more. She is infused with effervescence and an ability to take darkness and transform it into something to touch others in the spots hiding deep in their soul. Her willingness to share without sugarcoating shows an iron will and a fierce determination. Adult Rhys is inspiration.

    1. *hugs* Just remember, YOU are important. You do matter. And who you are is someone you should be happy to know. *HUGS*

      Me? I’m just ornery 😀

    1. I was sooo going to post that saying!😁
      It’s true…surface beauty is ephemeral & in the scheme of things unimportant. What people do & how they live is a more real proof of ‘beauty’
      Beside beauty is soooo subjective.
      …alrighty then! lol

  3. Confero1

    Ive always admired your courage. Your ability to write what it is like to heal from childhood abuse is a gift I am certain deeply touches more than just me. Ive had trouble building my own ramshackle tribe, but I wont quit. Your writing has helped me move forward from my own violent childhood, one where I was told I would never be pretty and left me with debilitating injuries inside and out. You are a beautiful human being. You’ve changed an entire generational legacy from violence to love, and that will have a lasting impact. You remind me theres hope for us tattered and ornery people who fucking survived.

  4. Renee

    Wow. So many feels. Hard to put into words. You are beautiful to me. Your writing is beautiful. Your books are so important to me. I believe your characters will live on long after the ‘pretty’ people are gone. Thank you for doing what you do.

  5. Cherry Starr

    Lord. That tag took me back to about 12 years old. You’d be pretty if you’d only loose some weight. I think that is the most hurtful thing my Dad ever said to me. Looking back now I can see that some of his other comments were just as bad but that’s the one that stuck with me.
    That picture? Adorable!

      1. Alli Brovi

        How about, “I love you. I’d love you more if you were skinny, but I still love you. “

        Just what every chunky girl (woman) needs to hear from her fat parent.

        And then to try and influence what comes out of that parents’ mouth so they don’t pollute the grandkids.

  6. The man I was date told me, “you would be pretty if you would work out.” I was a size four at the time, so he had to go. My father told me, “you will never get a gentleman to marry you if you cuss like that.” Well, he was wrong and I’m still married the first time while he’s been married three times, so he had to go. My friends all say they “love my honesty,” right up until it’s directed their way, and then they need to go. Bye Felicia.

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