Have you seen the thing floating around Facebook lately? The thing where you’re supposed to post five pictures of yourself that you think make you feel beautiful, and then you’re supposed to tag your friends? Yeah, that thing. So far, I’ve been tagged twice.
That was sarcastic, in case you couldn’t tell. The boy is right, there totally needs to be a sarcasm font.
Anyway…I find this concept difficult because for as long as I can remember, I’ve honestly never felt beautiful. Photographs just make me feel even worse about myself. This isn’t me fishing for people to say things to make me feel better about myself, I’m just stating a fact. From what I can tell, I’m not terribly different from other human females when it comes to how I see myself.
Last night, though, I had a bit of a paradigm shift. A few friends on Facebook has posted a link to an article, and the title got me curious enough to read it: Exposed by My Children for What I Really Look Like. Even though I don’t have kids, the self-loathing the author describes is something I can definitely relate to. What I couldn’t relate to was how the author was able to see the good things along with the negative things. The more I thought about it, though, the more I came to realize that I’m cheating myself out of a lot in life by only seeing the negative. The flaws are going to be there. They just are. That doesn’t mean that I should run away from doing the things I love. Things like swimming.
I want to go swimming. I adore swimming. I spent my whole childhood wishing and wishing I had a pool, and now that I live in a complex with one available 24 hours, I avoid it all costs because I hate myself in a swimsuit. I hate how I look in one. I hate other people seeing me in one. I think child me is probably pretty disappointed in grown-up me. And I don’t blame her.
So, I’m going to learn to love myself and accept how I look. I’m going to look in the mirror every morning when I’m bleary-eyed and my hair is a bed-head disaster and say, “I am beautiful, I am lovely, I am precious, and I have value and worth.”
Oh yeah, here’s the 5 photos. I’m forcing myself to use photos from the last 5 years, which considering how much I hate photos was a bit of a challenge coming up with 5 of them. (Also, I’m relatively certain that as much as I love the people in the photos with me, they may not be thrilled that I’m highlighting them like this. But them being in the photo with me is part of what makes me feel beautiful)…
1. This is not a great quality photo, but I really love it. I love these beautiful ladies.
2. This picture was taken a few years ago when all of us ladies were heading different directions in our lives, and we weren’t 100% sure when we’d all see each other again.
3. Okay, I really do love this picture. This was when we were praying over my “sister” right before she walked down the aisle. That was a good day 🙂
4. I think mom kinda hates this photo, but I love it. This was taken about 3 months after we almost lost her. She was still recovering, and looks much healthier now. But when this picture was taken, I was so glad I still had her, that was what was most important.
5. Of course, it’s a picture with the boy. It’s true, he exists! He’s not just a figment of my imagination. This is from Free Comic Book Day, last May. He’s the Dread Pirate Roberts, and I’m a brunette Buttercup. Also, fun fact, this is (as far as I know) the only photo of us that exists. Hardly surprising considering how camera shy we both seem to be.
You are so brave! This article is so honest and true. I thought the photographs you shared were each beautiful, and it is an honor to get to meet you, and your family and friends. You should think about maybe expanding this line of thought a little further, perhaps – and submit it to some magazines for publication – it reminded me of the short insightful essays by Amy Bloom that I used to devour each time she would send one in to Vanity Fair or where I could come across one. You get out into that pool, girl! (thanks to you, I’m going to go take a walk today, as in, outside, where everyone can see my fat and out-of-shape self!) Yea!!