If I was beautiful then… what am I now?
I’ve stumbled across a couple of old pictures of myself within the last few months that took me by surprise.
One was taken about two years ago.
One was taken twenty years ago.
Both of them caused me to catch my breath; for a split second I hadn’t recognized myself, and thought “wow, she’s beautiful.” …and then realized it was me.
This makes me cry.
I’m sure I’m not alone in having a hard time connecting with my own beauty. Perhaps it is a function of being female in the world as it is these days. Twenty years ago, I would occasionally think “hey, I think I look mildly attractive today” — and that was a GREAT DAY. I can remember on a day when I actually FELT pretty, I tried to capture the moment on film, because I felt that it would only be available or real for a short moment. I would then have a picture to remind myself that it was POSSIBLE for me to be pretty sometimes. SOMETIMES….
Two years ago I was still emerging from a divorce and a re-evaluation of all that I am and wish to be. Having been a mother to two children, and re-entering the dating scene in my late thirties – well, I felt far from desirable. It was still a great day if I could think “I believe I am mildly attractive today!”
This makes me cry because my soul knows it is wrong. I would never want my weekend daughters to perceive themselves the broken way I saw myself. I would wish for them to experience their beauty and allow it to fall behind them… to simply rest in the knowledge they are gorgeous, and carry on with being VIBRANT and making the world more awesome by being in it.
Two years ago, and twenty years ago… I was stunning.
And if I was stunning then… what am I now? What if I were to look at those old pictures with a sense of relish, to realize that what made me stunning then makes me equally stunning now? I’m still the same me, aren’t I? Sure, I’m getting older, and a little wider, and a little more droopy… but you know what, I have been stunned by the beauty of 90 year olds with rosy cheeks and a contagious smile, so I know my beauty resides in my spirit shining through.
And THAT, I know without a doubt, has only gotten shinier… like a raw precious stone that’s been tumbling around, getting more and more polished, the fire shining through.
That’s it. I’m going to claim my beauty for myself. It took me a few decades to stumble onto it, but it has now been seen by my own eyes. And it’s a picture I’m going to refuse to forget… even when I look in the mirror, today.