You did not fall in love with my face.
Though I'm sure brown eyes and brown hair are riveting, I'm also aware they're not uncommon. And you did not fall in love with my legs, or my waist. While I'm sure they're bangin', I'm also sure I've seen better. You did not fall in love with my hands, my feet, my calves, and those "unmentionables" that the middle-schooler in me cannot say (because I am #ForeverAPreteen).
Let me help you identify what you fell in love with. Because I remember when someone commented on my senior prom picture saying, "Wow. That's not the Lauren I know." What they were really saying? "If you looked like that more often, I would have considered you as a physically viable mate." My response to their comment? "Actually, that is the Lauren you know." And since I was 18, I also added "People be blind."
You cannot fall in love with abs, or eyes, or unmentionables. While I'm sure those things help, I'm also sure that what stays when the fights start, and the laughs end, aren't the biceps, or the abs, or the eyes. What stays is heart; soul; the things you can't even pinpoint because they're that gorgeous.
So when you say "Why don't you grow your hair out? You look so much more pretty!"
Please understand: I'm not trying to be pretty. I'm trying to exhibit beauty. And what I mean by that, is I'm trying to exhibit me; honestly, truthfully, boldly. Beauty cannot be weighed or maximized. It is you; me; bold and beautiful and not fitting into tight-enough dresses with long-enough hair, which somehow makes us more woman; even though right now, I feel more Lauren than I ever have.
Anecdote: This Christmas, presents opened, I sat alone in my room. I wore the sweater my mom gifted, with colors we both liked, which happened to be from the Target Men's section. Because why does gender define patterns or color schemes? I wore a trendy hipster hat my brother gifted me. And I wore my favorite earrings.
I looked in the mirror and started to cry. Because no one would deem me "beautiful" that morning; not the way they had the previous night, when I wore a dress. No; my boots and hat did not fit the definition.
But what if we used the phrase "you look beautiful/handsome/gorgeous," to resemble something more like "you look very happy in your own skin right now"; instead of "you look good enough, in your skin, for me/someone to invite you into a bedroom"?
Because you didn't, and you won't, fall in love with long hair, or short hair, or tight dresses or biceps. You fell/fall in love with a human being. So let's learn to call ourselves, and one another, beautiful. Sometimes the most beautiful thing is watching your truest self step away from the mirror; realizing its validation, is far less important than your own.