The challenge from a friend on Facebook went like this: Post six photos of yourself that make you feel beautiful.
I’ve never felt beautiful. I’ve had many many moments of beauty in my life, and there are some pictures of me that I think look decent, but beautiful? Ugh. I mean, I spend a lot of my time trying to fight the typical American standards of beauty as it is. I think we’re all beautiful! Except me.
Yeah, I know, but I’m positive I’m not the only one who struggles in that way. In fact, that’s why this challenge was issued I believe. In a world where even the models don’t look like they do in the ads, what chance do us mere mortals stand? And the truth of it is, I’ve never really stared into a mirror and wished for Disney Princess looks. I always wanted to be the pirate, or the cowboy, and you know, I still do. And I like that about myself.
I had this Halloween costume once, and I was telling this guy about it. It was just a tiara and a wand and a sash that you would wear with your own dress, and the sash said Miss Diagnosed. Anyway, this guy said to me “What are you hiding behind humor for? Just admit that you want to wear the tiara and be the princess and go out and have a great night.” Now, he meant well, he really did. And he believed he was right. But no. The truth is, I have always been about the humor, about the weird, about the corners of the room. And even now, just because I’m finding my voice, that doesn’t mean I want to be at the center of things.
I spend a lot of time talking about weight, and beauty, and all these issues around how we feel about ourselves, but of course I’m a hypocrite when it comes to me. I’ve been so very mean to myself for so many years. Again, I’m not the only one. But it’s way past time to deal with it I guess. And so I will look in the mirror and find nice things to say to the girl on the other side. Okay, the old lady as my son would say! Still, I will be nicer.
And yes. Six pictures that make me feel beautiful. I picked my pictures based on, well, what I had available (I’m usually in goofy group shots making faces or the one behind the camera), and more importantly, on the moments when they were captured. There’s the picture when my son was just a few days old, he’s in the foreground, and I’m more of a nose than a face, but I’m utterly in love, and you can tell. It shows. And it’s beautiful. And there’s one from my (second) wedding on the beach, when the man who married us (and was also the photographer) told me look into the camera and send myself a message. Yes, beautiful. Pictures with friends, those are easy, my friends make me smile. And one of me in a kayak on the lake near where I grew up. Moments of beauty, and I do love looking back on them all.
I wish I could end this by just saying “I’m beautiful.” It would be strong, and powerful. But I’m not that girl. What I can say is that I’m as flawed outside as I am inside, and yet I do believe I’m mostly good inside in spite of the scars, maybe even beautiful. Yes. Maybe…