Beauty isn’t skin deep, it’s what’s under the skin |

Beauty isn’t skin deep, it’s what’s under the skin

April E. Clark
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
April in Glenwood

When I was a young girl, probably starting around the fourth grade, I dreamed of being beautiful. I wanted beauty more than I wanted good grades. All I knew was that beauty was the ticket to being popular. And who didn’t want to be the “it” girl?

If only I could go back and have a talk with my 9-year-old self.

Back in those formidable years known as the ’80s, perfectly feathered hair and tight Jordache jeans defined beauty. Of course I could never train my hair to feather. And I was sort of a runt compared to the blossoming girls racing toward puberty like a horses in the Kentucky Derby. It’s safe to say my Jordache jeans took some time to fill out during those years.

I’m still working on that, actually.

Middle school was the toughest time, with the dorky braces and limp hair that still wouldn’t feather no matter how much White Rain I sprayed on it. Little did I know I was beautiful all along.

I just didn’t see it.

My mother saw it. But don’t most mothers always see the beauty in their children? When I would complain of being teased about having a flat chest, she would promise me that things would soon change. She ensured me that those awkward years of puberty would go by quickly, that I just needed to give it some time. It can be hard to convince a 12-year-old girl of that when nothing’s happening.

And we all know kids can be darn right mean sometimes.

Eventually, all the things my mom told me would happen happened. I finally reached puberty. I finally mastered the perfect ’80s hair – thanks to an obnoxious spiral perm that I so proudly rocked. I still subscribed to the idea that beauty came from the clothes I wore or the hair I teased. I still had a way to go before learning about true beauty.

I wouldn’t mind talking to my 16-year-old self, too.

If I could time travel and visit with these younger Aprils, I would make sure they knew that the experiences they would someday have in life would be where beauty lies. Not that they would listen, but the 9-, 12-, and 16-year-old Aprils would need to hear that material things aren’t what makes a woman beautiful. It really is what’s on the inside.

I can see my younger self not buying that.

Sure, weekly spa visits make for beautiful skin. And expensive fabrics make for beautiful fashion. But if the person behind the mud masque or under the cashmere sweater isn’t truly a nice person who respects others and is open to people of all shapes, colors and sizes, the beauty is wasted.

I definitely learned that from my mother.

Though my mom has been teaching me about true beauty throughout my life, it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve seen what she has really meant. For the last year, I’ve been part of the Viva La Woman burlesque troupe, and it has shown me the beauty that lies within all women.

Now I know what beauty is all about – and it’s way more than the make-up, hair and tight-fitting corsets. It is the women behind all the girlie glitter.

We are women, hear us sing. Watch us dance. Learn more about us. See that some of us tell jokes, while others master the art of the spoken word. We are women of all shapes, sizes and hair colors. We have diverse backgrounds and life experiences. We believe in ourselves and want other woman to do the same. We are loud and we are proud.

We range in age from our 20s to our 60s. We are single and we are married. Some of us are even divorced. We are funny and we are serious. We are fierce and we are delicate. We are dedicated and we are aware. And most of all, we are beautiful.

Inside and out.

– April E. Clark has just named herself Miss Dandelion Day 2012. Check out her Dandy Day emcee action Saturday in Carbondale at Sopris Park. She can be reached at

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