A few weeks ago I spent my Friday night at my niece’s elementary school talent show and let me just tell you, if you need a little bit of joy in your life then I highly recommend this source of entertainment. It was the best three dollars I have ever spent, and that’s saying a lot considering my fondness for Girl Scout cookies.
If you’ve never watched a three-foot-tall kindergartener do a hula-hoop routine to “Ju Ju On That Beat” then you are missing out. I’m just saying that I didn’t know watching a room full of tiny humans performing magic tricks and stand-up comedy could make my whole weekend, but OH IT DID.
Something that struck me, however, was how many of the girls sang the song “Scars To Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara. From tiny little second graders to gangly grade five duets, girl after girl stood up on that stage and belted out the lyrics with a heartfelt angst, “She just wants to be beautiful, she goes unnoticed…she fades away.”
And sure, it’s possible that just happens to be The Talent Show Song this year, sort of like that one year when I was in school and everyone sang “I Hope You Dance.”
(Except for me. I sang Whitney Houston because I have never been a girl who knows her limits.)
(Plus, I really dislike dancing.)
But I think it’s also possible that just maybe these girls are connecting with a cadence that sings to them,
“There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark. You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are.”
These girls, on the precipice of those unsure tween years where growing up in a culture full of glossy, airbrushed beauty ideals feels like a gravitational pull to strive for flawlessness.
These girls, in the tug-of-war life stage between make-believe and make-up.
These girls, who have access to an infinite amount of information and are inundated with images of attaining imagined perfection.
They are on stage singing lyrics about looking for affirmation and acceptance.
And they can find it by mimicking magazine pages or by watching our own reactions to our reflections in the mirror.
What does she see when she watches me?
I want to model a message that she doesn’t even know she needs to hear, an assurance of wonderfully made.
I have a complicated history with beauty and I want my daughter to grow up hearing a different refrain than the negative self-talk that became my anthem.
I want her to hear the melody of beauty, the literal song that comes straight from Scripture:
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” ~ Song of Songs 4:7
It’s a sweet, sweet sound.
I hope my life sings it to her.