My Beautiful Self
When and how did you begin to doubt yourself? Was it rejection from someone you deemed important? Did you, at some point, begin comparing yourself to other people? What made you notice lack in yourself?
For me it was comparison - head to toe comparison with other girls. Everything from their physical looks to upbringing, status and privilege; or at least my perception of it. I can remember watching Miss America pageants thinking it could never be me. I didn’t have a flat stomach, long skinny legs, ability to play the harp or sing. I had never traveled unless you counted Disneyland, Niagara Falls or Cedar Point, and none of those places could be considered experience in the big scheme of life, so I felt like I had nothing to offer. I watched those pageants diligently with envy and hopelessness. Mostly because there was no one to teach me differently; to tell me that could someday be me. I don’t blame anyone for it, it was just what my village knew as their truth. I'm sure they did the best they could. We have since evolved. We are no longer all represented to have been cut from the same cloth. Our shapes and shades are uniquely beautiful. Our sizes are just right.
Recently while meeting some colleagues at a coffee shop, I began to revisit this old haunting. But, can you imagine my delight to discover that I was chopping it up with Miss Texas USA 2010? Who, by the way, is as sweet as she is charming, funny and beautiful? I only mention her accolade because my conditioned thoughts and memories rushed in like flood waters. I found myself sinking back into comparison mode. Wondering if she had some advantages that I didn’t. The reality is, we are the same. Our thoughts and struggles, our hopes and dreams, things we could discuss and relate to without comparison or envy.
When we parted, I began to think on all the wonderful, talented, confident, POWERFUL women who bless my life daily. The women who faced the fear and did it anyway. Those who carry master’s degrees and lead companies. Those who are entrepreneurs. The ones who get out there everyday with blue collar jobs or work in offices. Those who work as servers or from a drive thru window. The teachers, the nurses, the athletic trainers. The authors, the bloggers, culinary geniuses; the counselors and stylists. The list of powerhouses that are directly connected to me is extremely vast. These women deem me worthy to be in their company and for that I am honored. These women range in ages of 17 – 70, with different races and religions represented as well. These women embrace me, teach me and learn from me. These women shape my world and inspire me and give me courage.
Recently, a fashion blogger revealed a revelation about a crop top and her weight (see link below). An article so touching that I took a good look at my own fears and stepped out of my comfort zone. I bought a bikini. The first time since EVER! When I tried it on in the comfort of my home, I looked in the mirror, crinkled my nose put on my coverup and walked (like only I can walk) to the pool. I removed my coverup looked at the people at the pool, flashed them my million-dollar smile and jumped in. It was the most liberating moment I’ve had in quite some time and it changed a small piece of my life. I realize that all my life can be changed, one small piece at a time.
To the women who are continuously carrying me, I love and appreciate you and I promise to pay it forward.