Some time later, [Samson] fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver.” Judges 16:4-5
Your kind of pretty is the loneliest kind, the cracked-under-the-surface kind.
It’s not altogether your fault. You learned it at eleven, when you read Seventeen Magazine secretly at your best friend’s house because your mom wouldn’t let you buy it. You learned that beauty was never really about you in the first place – it was about the boys.
It was about who noticed you and who didn’t and about whether you applied the right makeup or combed your hair the right way or wore the right clothes from the right stores. It was about the way you held your body when you sat on a bench, about what you did with your eyes. Flutter up. Flutter down. Flutter up. Catch his eye and then look away, and wait to see if you are magnetic enough to pull him in.
You are not so different than any of us.
The truth is that very few of us know how to truly believe in our own beauty without the second glance from a car window every now and then, the smile from the stranger at the end of the bar.
They offer you eleven hundred shekels of silver – each – to overcome Samson with your beauty and learn the secret of his strength, but I know you. You might have done it for free – just to find out if you could. To find out if you were enough. If, of all the women in the room, he would see you most of all.
If the boy doesn’t see you, do you even exist?
Somewhere along the line, you’ve forgotten who you are without the context of these boys. Their approval, their appraising eyes, their inappropriate whistles. You pretend to hate it, but I know you. You keep these things in an invisible ledger near your heart where you are all the time recalculating your worth.
And who can say where the lines blur? A game becomes something else and then, in the pitch-dark of the earliest morning, you find yourself holding scissors, cutting his hair, and it’s not so much to rid him of his strength but because you’re so unsure of your own.
Listen, love: You were always strong. Our minds are plastered over by so many advertisements and images. You know so many lies, and this will be one of the hardest truths for you to believe: that you are enough. That you are entirely beautiful and entirely seen, just you are.
Your beauty – the true version of it — exists deep in your soul, and you can’t lose it when you gain weight or when you add years to your age. You can’t augment it with your lipstick and you can’t earn it with their glances. It is already whole. You are already known and loved all the way through.
You are already enough.
I see you, Delilah. You are holding the money in your hands, and it is more than you’ve ever had, but you will never really feel eleven-hundred-shekels beautiful. You will either feel empty, or you will feel precious. There is no in between — only brief reprieves in the striving. Only brief moments of victory – then, hollowness.
I see you writing it down in that ledger near your heart – eleven hundred shekels, and you know it still doesn’t add up to enough.
Rip up that little book, Delilah.
Throw it page by deceitful page into the deep water and then watch it crumble, sink, disappear. Feel your soul swell with the truth that God is looking at you with his heart full to the brim.
That he’s never seen anyone as beautiful as you are right now.
Image credit: Matt Gruber, CreationSwap.com