“I love my body! I love my body! I love my body!” So began the bath-time boogie and serenade from Pink that had us all in stitches the other night. “I love my belly! It’s so nice and round! I love my belly!”
Her smile, her volume, her movements, they all screamed confidence. She felt—and believed—every word that came out of her mouth. While I laughed, I also said a little prayer that nobody takes that away from her too soon. Especially me.
Goodness knows, I’m already walking too close to the line, even crossing it at times. It’s an easy thing to do when my not-so-little girl creatively expresses her love of noodles daily too. Sometimes it’s hard to determine where the line is as a mom—when does her physical health trump her mental health? And visa versa? Of course I want both for her. Well-balanced perfection isn’t too much to ask for, is it?
If I’m Pink’s primary example though, she’s in real trouble. I’m certainly not running around singing about my beauty these days. In fact, last week, my lovely friend Cristie wrote a post highlighting what she finds beautiful about me (and some other fabulous women), and I couldn’t even bring myself to read it for a couple days.
I didn’t feel worthy.
Instead, I got to thinking… Lately, when I see myself, I realize that I’ve become dull. Not in the boring sense of the word, but in the not-as-shiny-as-I-used-to-be way. My hair is a bit less copper penny and a lot more silver dime (at least the 2-inches at the top that I haven’t had a chance to “fix”). My T25-toned body was so last year. This year’s version? Well it’s a bit more plus 25. The lines on my face look a little less laugh-y and a bit more worry. My eyes are tired, my legs are veiny, and my joints are achy.
I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking. Real beauty is on the inside. Here’s the thing. My inside hasn’t been feeling especially shiny either. I’ve been so caught up in the busyness of life, that I’ve lost a bit of myself along the way. And the worst part? I’ve found myself being unintentionally unkind to the people I love, including myself.
But, thanks to Cristie, I know it’s time to bust myself out of this funk. To see what others see in me. I may not have time to get that much-needed pedicure or haircut, but I will work harder to wake and share the beauty within my spirit.
The #20BeautifulWomenChallenge Cristie wrote about calls upon women to find—and share—their unfiltered beauty.
The picture above? It’s Cristie and me—moments before we rode California Screamin’ together. We were feeling young and adventurous, vulnerable and exhilarated. Beautiful.
While Cristie can rock high heels and red lipstick like no other, her real beauty is in making others feel special. Her heart is as wide open as her mind, making it easy to want to bare your soul to her. Her words can be equally reassuring, insightful, and hilarious—often at the same time. Her love of life and learning and wanting to help people—physically and spiritually—is contagious. And her timing is obviously pretty amazing too.
Me? Well, according to Cristie:
West Coast Amy and I might have been separated at birth with the way I felt like I had known her all my life but probably everyone feels that way, because Amy lights up the world with kindness, compassion and the gift of being able to say what we’re all thinking in a way that makes us feel just fine thinking it.
And here’s what I would say: My beauty is in my honesty. In being able to share my heart—even the ugly parts—in the hopes that others find themselves in my words. My beauty is also in my easy smile. The one that makes me friends at the coffee shop, grocery store, and preschool art table. And my beauty is in raising a little girl who absolutely adores life—and herself.
I see beauty all around me, too. In each of you. So I’m taking this #20BeautifulWomenChallenge and giving it my own twist.
It’s your turn.
Please, join me. In the comments, share one thing you find beautiful about yourself, as well as one thing you find beautiful about another woman in your life. If just ten of you comment, that’s twenty worthy women being celebrated and honored right here.
And, if you’d prefer not to do it publicly, I urge you to send a quick note to a friend to tell her why you think she’s beautiful. You never know, it could be just what she needed. More than even she knew.
Jodie Hoffman says
I love that I can make myself crack up… and I think I’m pretty good at giving others a good chuckle, too!
And my sister is beautiful because, despite how absolutely amazing and accomplished she is, she is always the first to compliment, give credit, and point out how absolutely amazing and accomplished others around her are!
Amy, Using Our Words says
Jodie, I absolutely agree. Your beauty is in the way you approach life. You have a wonderful sense of humor, an outrageously creative mind, and a positive, energetic way of doing everything. Your love of life and family is contagious!
Gay Jacobs says
I like my smile. It’s genuine and it comes from the heart. As a kid, I always hated that my 2 front teeth overlap a little, but as I got older I grew to love it and it makes my smile even more unique.
I have a friend in Michigan who lives a very blue collar life, but never feels like she’s missing out on anything. She works 3 jobs (law office, teaches dance, and makes incredible decorated cookies) and all the extra money she earns from dance and the cookies, she uses to help out her 2 young nieces because her brother barely scrapes by on his minimum wage paycheck (his wife doesn’t work). Part of that makes me nuts because she never EVER does anything for herself (I’ve been trying to get her to come visit me for over a year), but the other part is the reason I adore her. It’s her heart. She has nothing, but would give everything she has to the people she loves. To me, that’s true beauty.
Amy, Using Our Words says
Wow, Gay, this is so heartwarming and, yes, beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.
Your smile is absolutely gorgeous. It draws people in and makes you such a warm, welcoming friend to all. I love that you love it. I also think your love for the special people in your life (including pups) is so very special and admirable. Your friend is lucky to have you in her life too!