To the follower who told me I wasn’t beautiful.
And who felt I should sensor my self-esteem based on their assessment of my appearance:
I’m sorry you are unhappy. Or hurt. Or damaged.
I truly am.
But let me tell you a few secrets…
First, know that I am not beautiful.
I know that men don’t watch me walk down the street.
I know eating Taco Bueno in the car last time I cried over my son’s struggles was not the right choice for my hips or my belly. Or my backside. Or, or, or.
I know that I spent too many years tanning and the freckles and sun spots mar otherwise imperfect, large-pored skin.
I know that my one beauty is my hair and that when I am stressed and overwhelmed just pulling it back out of the way is too much work so I chop it off.
I’m pretending I’m funky but it’s really just a sensory thing.
I know that little girls don’t look at me and wish they could look like me when they grow up.
But I also know some other things that you, from the angry, bitter safety of your keyboard or phone, do not know.
I know that the looks I was born with and the ones I might have had with better self-care, are my shell.
They are not me.
I also know that beauty is many things.
There is beauty in my breasts that fed my son for 18 months even though that means I will never wear a strapless dress again.
There is beauty in my belly that carried my son even though I will never wear a bikini again.
There is beauty in my easy smile and even in my too-loud and often grating laughter.
There is beauty in the fact that I have friends who message me in the middle of the night when their hearts are breaking because, if nothing else, I will be there for them.
There is beauty in the fact that when I walk into the lobby of my sons therapy center little girls run and jump into my arms for a safe kiss and a hug and someone to dance to Frozen songs with while they wait on their therapists.
There is beauty in the way I kiss my son at night.
And in the way I sneak back in to kiss him again while he sleeps.
There is beauty in the fact that he knows he can crawl into my bed in the morning before the sun rises and that he will be held and kissed and know security that millions of children do not know.
There is beauty in how I have taught him and am teaching and will continue to teach him that people are more than their appearances, bodies or labels.
There is beauty in me.
So much beauty that when my friends and family and my son see me, they see a beautiful woman.
And there is so much beauty in that, whether you see it or not, that when I take a picture of myself or of “us” I see a beautiful woman.
And I post it for the other beautiful women who follow our journey to see.
This isn’t vanity.
I know I’m not “beautiful”.
It is the self-confidence of someone who has learned how to BE beautiful.
So, I’m sorry you see me through a stranger’s eyes.
I’m sorry you only see that I am not a model.
I hope you stay and get to know me better.
And if you choose not to I understand that also.
Because everyone has a place they belong and their own idea of beauty.
I only hope yours broadens a little bit.
And as it does, and you see more and more beauty around you, I hope you heal.
From whatever hurts I did not inflict, but that someone somewhere obviously has.
Pic of me.
In my bathrobe.
Chilling out and reading emails while my son plays at my feet.
Exactly as I was when I received yours.
Isn’t it beautiful?
Let’s keep comments focused on attitude and behaviors that share beauty.
I would love to hear examples of how you were a beautiful person today.