Ugly for 20 Years

by JenJ

I was “sweet sixteen and never been kissed” and it mortified me.

At that point, all of my friends had been to homecoming dances, on group dates, or even coveted one on one dates. Some of them shared stolen kisses with boys after school, others had sweet good night kisses on the porch with their parents watching through a window.

They were living the typical teenage fairytale.

And I was cognizant of being left out for the first time.

When I was eighteen, I asked a friend to be my prom date. We had a great time, but no love connection.

When I was twenty, I watched all my friends get asked to fraternity formals. Sure I took dates to my own sorority events, but again, they were friends. I had my first kiss somewhere in there, but never went out with the boy again.

Those are hard years to not be singled out by a fellah and it took me a long time to realize that I had little scars on my heart, as a result.

During a deep talk with another single friend, she was able to verbalize something I never really knew I thought…not being picked makes you feel unloveable and unattractive.

I’m 36 years old and no, I don’t think I’m ugly. I have a healthy sense of self and know my strengths and weaknesses.

BUT, there is also a deep dark smidgeon of irrational sin in my heart that whispers: you’re single because you’re ugly, otherwise you would have been married by now.

And I hate it.

I hate that the confident woman in me also seeks to be valued by a man.

I hate that I’ve given the Enemy a foothold into my heart.

And I hate that other women (or men!) might feel this way, too.


24 Responses to “Ugly for 20 Years”

  1. Kari September 10, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Thanks for being vulnerable, and I’m glad you realize that is a lie. I think it’s a lie many of us have been told.

  2. dearabbyleigh September 10, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    it’s a hard and healthy thing to say what you hear in the dark places because just hearing it out loud takes away some of the power. thanks for sharing it here – i appreciate it very, very much.

  3. brenn September 10, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    I feel the exact same way- I’m only 21…but I’m the only from from my high school friend group who’s still single. Everyone’s engaged or married. I love them all and I’m so happy for them, but I’m lonely!!!

    • JenJ September 10, 2013 at 11:21 am #

      I’ve been through several cycles of weddings and engagements, then later, babies! And I really get the feeling of pure happiness for your friends, while still feeling a twinge of sadness. If your friends are anything like mine, they want you to share your heart with them, too! My best girlfriends have been so supportive of my aches even in times of their celebrations. They know that one emotion doesn’t trump the other. My advice would be to share where you’re at with them…I have a sense that it will be soothing!

  4. Alece Ronzino September 10, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    ohmyheart. this is me too…

  5. Michelle September 10, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    That line that your friend verbalized… that right there carries a whole lot of truth in it and it resonated with me. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Diana September 10, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Not only are you beautiful – and about as far from ugly as it’s possible to get – but you are brave, too. Thank you for this honesty. My heart hurts for your heart and for anyone who feels this way in any part of themselves . . . which, to tell you the truth, is a whole heckuva lot of us, single or not. Keep calling it out as a lie and lean into the truth of who you are – lovely, cherished, valued.

    • JenJ September 10, 2013 at 11:24 am #

      Thanks, friend!

  7. Michelle September 10, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been divorced for 7 years now. My ex is the first guy I had been in a relationship with that I clung to in my early 20′s because I did not have the confidence I so desperately needed! I was also not one who was asked on dates in high school. I know now that I am not ugly, but I still struggle with what may be wrong with me since I have not been asked out since I’ve been divorced.

    • JenJ September 10, 2013 at 11:23 am #

      It takes a lot of work to fight the lies. They wrap themselves around our hearts and don’t like to let go. I’m sorry you’re hurting…I so often wish the Lord would reveal His plan for our lives in OUR time…it would lessen a lot of the aches. Ha!

  8. Leigh Kramer September 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    So proud of you for finding the words and speaking this out. I hate that that lie still creeps in on me all these years later but I am so grateful to know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Love you, friend!

  9. Yumefulfilled September 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    “not being picked makes you feel unloveable and unattractive”. Goodness! Profoundly true. I have had those thoughts many times over the years. You are definitely not alone (fellow sister in her 30s). Thank you for sharing.

  10. Sarah September 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    thank you for sharing this. my heart resonates strongly with all of it. it’s always good to know you are not alone in these struggles. and its a great reminder that the struggles are stemming from a lie. thank you!

  11. Kelly @ Love Well September 10, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    I’m proud of your heart, friend. Proud of you sharing this story, but even more proud of you recognizing the lies (which they are) and battling them with truth. Let me put one more arrowin your quiver: You are beautiful, inside and out.

  12. Tina Francis September 11, 2013 at 1:53 am #

    P.S. I know this is totally besides the point but you happen to be babelicious. For reals. Such a beautiful light in your eyes. (I know ’cause I’ve stalked you on Facebook. And Instagram. And… )

  13. Nick September 11, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    I think that your desire to be valued by a man comes from a curse that God Himself placed over womankind in Genesis chapter 3 verse 16:

    “16 To the woman he said,

    “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children.
    Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.””

    Now I have a strong suspicion, as there was no such thing as ritual marriage at that point, that “husband” can more accurately be translated as simply “man”. So in a way, this is something I think every woman deals with in one way or another. I could probably write an article of my own about the things I’ve seen in society that link into that particular verse. Anyway, that’s not to say you shouldn’t be confident in yourself or that you absolutely need a man to satisfy you completely. The likely story is that God simply has a separate plan unbeknownst to you. And perhaps in a way, he may have saved you some heartache from getting into a relationship that wouldn’t work out.

    Now I’m a 21 year old guy, single, never really had a lasting relationship. I’ve been on a few dates but nobody really intrigued me. Sometimes God gives us a gift of singleness so that we might grow in Him as Paul alludes to in Corinthians. But having said that, its still frustrating to be alone when you know you want someone to share your life with. So I can definitely sympathize there.

  14. Megan at SortaCrunchy September 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Oh, those ugly lies that take root no matter how vigilant we may be. I hear you in this so so so very much.

  15. Ulli September 12, 2013 at 1:57 am #

    See, you are healthy though.

    I hadn’t been kissed until I was 20…and then, when I was 23, I met my ex-husband (emphasis on ex) and because of having some of those thoughts and because he was my first boyfriend and I was, I suppose, so desperate for someone to love me as a woman, I married the completely wrong guy and divorced him 5 years later…..silver lingings everywhere really. So maybe you haven’t been married yet, but maybe it was a good thing too because could have been the wrong dude years ago and now you know who you are and what you want and such and you will find the right match. :)

  16. Missy September 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing. I see me in much of this. While I don’t necessarily wish to be married, never being “chosen” for a serious relationship or even just a date is something that has been a source of pain and I too have to battle the thoughts of being alone because surely this means I’m ugly, boring and undesirable. I know the Christian rhetoric…you are beautiful because you are created in the image of God…yet somehow when I look in the mirror all I can see is a woman who is lonely and feels like she doesn’t measures up to what others deem as beautiful.

  17. Angela September 18, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    Being married (or “picked”) doesn’t necessarily silence the lies. The lying voices just whisper other ways of telling you that you don’t measure up. I still hear them and I’ve been married to a great guy for 21 years. Those voices are the “mean girls” and it’s hard to shed them once they’ve taken up residence in your mind. But they’re still wrong.

    Thank you for having the courage to share this.

  18. Marie September 18, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    The voices don’t stop after marriage. I constantly tell myself that it’s a wonder that my husband picked me; that he’s a 10 and I’m a 6; that he would never have picked me if he’d had other girlfriends first and realised he could have bagged a prettier girl. And don’t get me started on how I feel if he ever rejects my affection, even for the most legitimate reasons.

    I think this is something that most women feel, though we are rarely brave enough to talk about it. Thanks for your bravery.

  19. SoyJoya September 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Thank you for this beautifully written truth. That irrational sin so resonates with my heart… a heart that gets frustrated that I struggle to feel content with the abundant, pure love of the God of the universe. I totally have been through those roundS (accent on the plural) of marriages, babies and sadly starting on the rounds of divorces. All I want is chance #1. I’m glad to see Believers starting to address this growing sect of late 30′s, Single, Fine as Wine adults who don’t fit squarely in the youth ministry nor the young couples ministry.

  20. Jennifer September 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    “not being picked makes you feel unloveable and unattractive”… definitely something I’ve been feeling a lot lately and I hate it! It is so nice to know that I’m not alone! Thanks for sharing!!

  21. Wonder February 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    From someone who can relate…
    23 -26 dated via online sites, previously no boyfrends

    I can tell you that ugly to some is attractive to others- really!
    Also that being validated by a man who marries you (and is the type to never criticize appearance no matter what) brings with
    it a real sense of calm and strength because he is the only one that matters. eventually most of the negative image fades and that is really liberating!

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