Hey you. Yes, you. I see you looking over your shoulder. Don’t. It’s you I want to talk to. Why, you ask? Let me tell you.
You are incredible. You are beautiful. You are special.
Don’t give me that look. I know what I’m talking about. No? Ok then.
You, in your sweat pants and t-shirt, with your hair in a messy ponytail. You look in the mirror and you see the bits of hair that just won’t stay in place, no matter how many times you tuck them back in. You might be tired, and when you look in the mirror, you see what appear to be bags the size of a large koi fish under each of your eyes. You see freckles. Ones that you think make you look like a kid.
You, who sees a lumpish figure looking back at you in the mirror, underarms that wiggle when you wave, a bum that is too big and not shapely enough, big thighs that rub and touch each other, and giant calves that make it so you can’t find a pair of tall boots that fit.
You see hips and boobs that are too big, a tummy you can hardly stand to even think about, eyes that squint when you smile, a wee, flat nose that you’ve never quite grown to love and you swear that when the light hits your face or when a camera is on you, you look like you have six chins.
Why can’t you see how beautiful you are? I wish you could see yourself through other people’s eyes.
What you don’t see is this…
You don’t see you beautiful, wavy, soft, fine hair that flows beautifully over your shoulders. You don’t see your chocolate brown eyes that are big and bright, with a slight almond shape that gives a clue about your heritage. You don’t see the smooth unblemished skin that, according to the lady who last gave you a facial, looks much younger than your 36 years. I know you see the freckles, but what you don’t see is how they smatter across your nose and cheeks, giving away another clue to where you came from.
You look in the mirror and you don’t take note of the teeny tiny little waist and curves that give you a beautiful hourglass shape that some people try their whole lives to achieve. You somehow miss the muscles on your arms and shoulders that have been made strong by exercise and by hugs and by picking up the little person in your life. You don’t see the round butt that comes from zillions of squats and stairs and exercise, one that people have told you, to your face, that they’d kill for. You don’t see the line of definition that has slid its way down the outside of your thigh or the way that your calves bulge with muscle from the countless hours of training and high heels.
You fail to remember that the wide hips that you hate helped your body carry a baby, and that the tummy you hate was cut open and sewed back together to save the life of your baby and that kid is worth any scar or tummy pouch. You see what you think are squinting eyes but you also miss the sparkle and the emotion in them. That nose? The one you used to want to get a nose job done on, it’s a part of your heritage and one you’ve passed on to your boy. It’s a part of you that he shares and there aren’t that many outward physical traits that he got straight from you. Someday, he is going to look in the mirror and smile and think “I’ve got my mama’s nose” and you want him to love it for its a physical reminder of you, right there on his gorgeous face. The double chin thing? Honestly – if you’ve tilted your head wrong or the camera is at a funny angle, anyone can have them. It’s not just you.
Why don’t you see these things? Is it that you really and truly can’t, or is it that you are scared to admit to yourself that yes, you are beautiful? Why do your definitions of beauty have to fit convention? When you look at other people, do you not see their beauty? I know you do – I have heard you compliment others. What makes someone beautiful to you? Is it just what you see on the outside?
Why do you judge yourself so harshly? You would never look at other people the way you look at yourself, so why do you do it? Does it give you some kind of weird comfort to see nothing positive when you look at yourself? Or have years of not quite fitting the “beautiful” mold just worn you down and conditioned you to see yourself as less? I know the media doesn’t want you to think like this, but let’s be honest, they don’t want anyone to. It’s what they do.
What are you scared of?
Beauty, real, true, honest beauty is not just your outward appearance. It’s the untraditional, the unique, the special things that make you, well, you.
I want you to look at yourself through the eyes of others next time you walk by a mirror. Try to suspend your judgement and criticism and see what they see. Don’t pretend you don’t know – they’ve told you. You know that thing? The one that draws you to people? Well guess what – you have it too. You just need to open your eyes, really open them and be willing to see. Please don’t be scared. It’s ok to be you. Embrace it.
You are beautiful. Yes, you.