Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beauty Thieves

Beautiful Fatima and her wonderful brother Jabril

"When you cut someone else’s legs off, you won’t grow.”

I’ve been writing a book called Beauty Thieves. It’s about a coven of people who literally suck the confidence and therefore beauty from their unsuspecting victims. People with low self-esteem are the easy prey but not the most desired as those with low self-esteem have little confidence. However, the confidently bold and bodacious are prime targets of beauty thieves.

We all know those people who can hit us where it hurts. They will ask a childless woman why she hasn’t had any children or will ask an openly gay father where his child’s mother is. The questions always appear innocent. (Are you really going to wear that? Are you supposed to be eating that?) But the questions have a deeper, darker intent; they mean to hurt. Like the beauty thieves in my work in progress, these people seek the most joyous beautiful lights they can find, in the belief that if they can take them down a peg, they, the thief will somehow be younger, more beautiful and more powerful.

 My daughter Fatima has one of the brightest lights I’ve ever seen. I know, she’s my kid and I’m supposed to feel that way, but I’m not alone in this assessment. She is an instant friend to many, brightens up a room and can make you laugh until it hurts. She can instantly zero in on what brings someone joy and then deliver.

In my life I’ve known or briefly met others with this kind of light as well; Tiphanie Rockingham the hairstylist/social worker in St. Lois (I’ve never met a more giving stylist, she picks up her elderly clients and then drives then around on their errands before taking them back home,) Nancy Furst (,) the healer and shaman I met at Red Mountain Spa who uses her beauty as a mirror and reflects her clients’ hidden dreams back to them, and my mother Beatrice Berry who at 87 was still turning hearts and heads. What these women exhibit is that joy for life everyone wants so therefore they are the special targets of beauty thieves.

A few days ago, someone asked me how my daughter was. She’s had an extremely rough year health wise but is recovering beautifully. I told the woman that she only has a half of a day during the week when she is dragging, which is fantastic, because when she first came home from the hospital and intensive care, she could barely lift her head or get up for even one day.

The woman remarked that this was great and then asked if she had been able to lose any weight. My daughter has always ways been on the chunky side. She was hefty at 3 months old when I first took her home and she’s been sturdy ever since. I told the woman, that she had lost some weight, but I was not concerned with how she looked, I was grateful that she was alive.

“Well,” the woman said, “I know you have your little wellness book and I just figured that you may have been able to help your daughter with it. When you lost weight,” she said “You were able to get well.” I smiled to myself and told her that I lost weight as a result of getting well, that it was not the other way around. She continued to say that she was praying for my daughter and that God had led her to ask about her weight.


There are many studies which point to the fact that when we look at others with disdain, we internalize that disdain for ourselves. I believe it was Jesus who said “The haters you will have with you always,” okay maybe he said, the poor, and he was speaking about the poor in spirit. When we are feeling low about ourselves, we often feel a need to attack both aggressively and passively, those who appear to be a bit too happy, too joyous too, too.

Comparing your weight, looks age, or wealth to someone else will not make you better.

My mother used to say that “If you cut someone else’s legs off, you won’t grow.” She said there will always be someone who is smarter, prettier, and richer, but no one can beat you at being you.

Enjoy what you bring to the table of life and share your light with others along the way. But when others attempt to “suck your flavor” find another seat.

                 You are beautiful, you are wonderful, you are powerful, just as you are.                

·         Who is sucking your flavor?

·         Who do you compare yourself to?

·         Who do you put down with little nips and snaps?

·         How can you shine brighter today?

                 You are beautiful, you are wonderful, you are powerful, just as you are.

Bertice Berry, PhD



  1. I can shine brighter today if you give me the name and address of the cretin who said anything about Fatima except how beautiful, talented and kind she is. I, too, am, re-reading your incredible book and Rule #1 is to allow people to be happy as they are and if they want something different to allow them the space to find their own path (see Buckle, I listened). I look back on other "FAT" photos of myself and see someone who looked damn good, but questioned myself and my health because of the nattering naysayering of negativity. So give me the address,please. This overweight middle aged lesbian has a plan of redemption for that person. I know what it tastes like to be hurt by the words of "helpful adults" over my weight, but I have never expereienced the taste of demanding they mind their own business.

  2. I luv the wisdom that your mother had (which was passed on to you), and I luv you for sharing..

  3. I luv the wisdom that your mother had which was graciously passed on to you, and most of all I luv you for sharing and providing the needed light at the right time.