Friday, August 11, 2006

Content Is King, or Sara, Plain and Tall

It's 11:45 p.m. on a Friday night. Here's what I did today:
  • Worked late at the office
  • Grabbed a quick chicken nugget meal from Chic-fil-A, complete with a new hand-spun chocolate milkshake
  • Talked to my sister on the phone for about an hour
  • Fell asleep around 8:00 p.m.
  • Woke up at 11:00 p.m.
Since I'm young and single, I could probably still go out for the night and not miss a beat. But I prefer the dull tapping of my computer keyboard as I write the night away!

So here's what I've been thinking about:

In the Writing for the Web seminar I listened to on Tuesday, it was reiterated that content is king. Having an incredible format for your Web page doesn't really matter, if the content stinks. If there's no meaning behind what users first see, people won't stay on your page.

It was perfect timing for me to hear it that day. It should be my daily mantra because despite my radiant beauty and hot body, keeping a positive self-image is something I struggle with a lot. I've never felt very pretty, physically. Sure, I have my good days, but most of the time, I feel extremely plain. I know I don't stand out in a crowd, especially the one of really pretty and cute girls at church. How do I shine, when every girl I hang out with does too?

Part of my problem is that I was born last in a set of 6 kids. That's really not a good place to be if you are trying to form your own identity. Growing up, this is what I heard (the name in parentheses is the sibling about whom the particular phrase was said):
  1. "Man, you're SO quiet! Not like your brothers and sisters! What happened to you?!? Why don't you ever talk?" (Blake and Lexi)
  2. "You're so different from your brother! He's SO funny!" (Blake)
  3. "Your sister has the best butt I've ever seen." (Summer)
  4. "Your sister is hot. Can you give me her number?" (Lexi)
  5. "Say hello to your sister for me." (Lexi and Summer)
  6. "Oh, your brother -- " followed by a pleasant, reminiscing smile. (Brooks)
  7. "You're brother is AWESOME!" (Brooks)
Keep in mind that this is just a sampling. And also keep in mind that lines 4 and 5 were spoken to me by boys in my grade about a sister who is only 363 days older than me. She looked like a model at age 13 -- I'm seriously not kidding. And since Lexi and I were best friends and were almost always together when we could be, people started to distinguish the two of us. Lexi was popular and fashionable and gorgeous. I was quiet and studious. So what naturally follows? She was dubbed the "pretty one," and I was the "smart one."

So what happens when you are the smart one and constantly compared to your beautiful sister and boys from your grade are calling your house and asking to talk to her? (Keep in mind that this occurred in my formative years, a highly critical point in the evolution of a young girl's self-image.) Well, I think I developed a complex. And I think my sister did, too. She likes being told that she's smart. I like being told that I look good. But it's still something that I think about, especially since I'm not married yet, and especially because I think most guys are taken away with pretty, shiny things.

Nobody notices the unnoticeable. I'm one of those people who "grows on you," I think. And though it phases me sometimes, I can handle it, and I'm okay with it now. I know, for example, that there's really nowhere for my looks to go but up, since my middle school days. So I'm not worried when I see a wrinkle or an undereye circle. I don't mind aging.

But mostly, I know that I have one of those personalities that is -- what do they call it? "Winning?" (Don't get me wrong -- my sister and the rest of my siblings are the very best kind of people, and I'm proud to be related to them. But I'm talking about me for a minute, here.) Once I open up and start talking, I can be warm and friendly and funny. I love making people laugh. I know I have killer analytical skillz. And I know I'm a generally good person. I know I will be a devoted wife and mother. I know my kids will think I'm great. I know that despite my shortcomings, Heavenly Father is pleased with my spiritual progress.

Content is king. I may never feel physically beautiful, but I know that that doesn't even matter very much anyway, if the content isn't there. The principal substance is what's going on inside someone's spirit. And maybe this is a juvenile revelation, but it's one that I've needed for a while. It's a lesson I've learned over and over again, but the specific phrase used in that Web seminar is one that really hit home for me on that particular day. Oh, I never knew how good usability principles are for the soul . . . :)

Thing I'm thankful for: a body that works properly. I don't want any of you thinking that I'm not deeply grateful for the physical body I do have. I'm grateful that I can sit here and type this blog right now. And I'm grateful that I can walk and see and feel the ground under my feet or the pain that comes from an accident.


Blogger Lexia said...

I had no idea the journey this post was going to take me on; it made me laugh AND cry ('cause I was laughing so hard).

Where to begin. You are beautiful, No matter what they saaaaaaaay... You know, I always heard how smart and moral you were. Also, remember that talk in church where a certain someone mentioned something about you and a place we mortals refer to as Heaven? :o)

I'm so glad we were never competative with each other as sisters. If that were the case, we couldn't have supported one another. You're my best friend and sister and I can't wait 'til we have our double wedding like the Brady Brides or the sisters in the Jane Austin novel.

P.S. Looks fade; "content" lasts (as long as it's archived properly).

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can attest to that truth, Lexia. Looks fade but content lasts and lasts! Very insiteful article Sara. I love to read your blog. It also, makes me laugh and cry and I love that you two are best friends. LOVE MOM

10:36 PM  
Blogger Lexia said...

You're our best friend too, mom!

11:43 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

How could you look so much like Gwyneth Paltrow and not be beautiful?? What are people trying to say all the time when they say you look like her?? Anyway, I find your wit and sense of humor very striking and I don't know how you wouldn't stand out: You're freaking 5'10'' or so and you look like a movie star!!

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yvonne's right! Here we are, comparing you to movie stars left and right! What further proof do you need? ;-)

5:57 PM  
Blogger Heather S. said...

I love you Sara. Just the way you are, and to me you are beautiful. I've always thought that. Not only are you beautiful on the outside, but you seriously have a radiance about you that lights up your eyes and your whole being and you truely are a beautiful woman. I respect you on so many levels.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AND BY THE WAY< DID YOU RECENTLY HEAR ABOUT OUR GENEOLOGY LINE EXTENDING TO MANY OF THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF EUROPE! ?! Kings and Queens of Europe are content in your blood lines! hahahahahahah Going back from Grandma Euphemia "Famie" Berry to England, Denmark, Sweden, France Britagne (before it was Britain) and Austrasia (before it was called Austria)Norway, Finland and Bavaria and even a Princess from Israel married to an awful English King. Talk to you later about it. MOM
STILL NO Password and not the right User name. How do I get them again?

1:37 AM  

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