Snap. Click. Snap. Click. It went so much faster than I expected. I know our world is digitized, but I still forget how quickly things can move. Each time Jermaine snapped my picture, it was available within seconds for viewing on a widescreen monitor. While I was initially thrilled at how celebrity-like it seemed, it didn’t take long for me to find myself contending with an old foe who so often assured me that beauty wasn’t quite attainable for me – not by my self-imposed standards that is.
While I still loved – and would never exchange – the wonderful experience that I had last week (on my late grandmother’s birthday, who would have been 89), a bittersweet moment crept within that triggered a very unexpected conversation with a member of our team. Peering into the screen with some of my brother’s finest work, I began to glare at everything that I thought was wrong – and I slowly and precisely hated it. I could clearly see all my flaws.
The hair didn’t look right. It was uneven on one side and unattractive from that angle. I could see tiny scars on the legs that reminded me of childhood accidents, and I wanted them to disappear with immediacy. The chest looked ugly. It seemed like ribs were poking through the screen. And the eye. One looked lighter underneath than the other.
Those hips. Oh how I wished they were more rounded, like my sister’s. If the legs were just a little fuller. They looked too thin. If the waist could go in more, my shape could look more like an hourglass and less like – a box, as someone once generously shared with me years ago – and I never forgot. I thought the picture was nice, but I wanted it to be so much prettier.
What I didn’t realize is that these ugly thoughts weren’t in my head. I was saying them out loud – to myself – but within earshot of a member of Team Carla. She listened first in disbelief, assuming I was joking, but then became stern after she saw – and heard – the disappointment in my voice. Because really, I wanted the picture to be flawlessly beautiful.
Instead, I reflected on the many tear-filled days I struggled from elementary to college of feeling completely inadequate, not quite attractive, and spending hours stuck to a mirror because I was afraid that when I stepped out of the restroom, everyone else would see the many flaws I’d been staring at hopelessly unable to “fix”; like the red-hair and freckles I hated after being dubbed Pippi Longstocking, Raggedy Ann, Strawberry Shortcake, Annie, and my favorite Garbage Pail Kid Curly Carla. I swore I’d dye my hair black in high school to escape the torment that came with being different, but my mom didn’t let me. I’m so glad she didn’t. Somehow, I thought I was over that. But apparently, remnants of that poison lingered.
Going back into the quaint studio for a touch-up, I received quite the heartfelt chastisement from everyone on Team Carla who insisted I was crazy for focusing on the minors and not the majors. It was so ironic – because a rather large part of my business as a speaker is reminding women – and men – that it is not our commercial-ready polish that determines our beauty, but our inner-being, strength, and energy that we share with others that makes us wonderfully unique. Nevertheless, after years of training myself to avoid self-depreciation, I relapse here and there, momentarily listening to the status-quo in my head.
Nevertheless, Team Carla had other plans. Not only did they tell me not to worry about it, but they reminded me how heavily laden we all are with flaws, and how our imperfections have no bearing on our path to pursuing our dreams. I briefly forgot that, but I’m so glad they snatched me back into reality.
Having recovered from my digression Saturday, I have an uplifting message for you. Be Your Own Beautiful. Embrace your flaws as a badge of uniqueness and be not ashamed of what makes you different. You are not the product of photoshop, you are the one of a kind creation of a Master Designer, Who just happened to put everything where He wanted it.
I know there are days when we may feel way better looking than others, but I’m now convinced that on everyday, there’s something in my life that I can feel beautiful about – and it doesn’t begin and end with a mirror. That’s the bare truth. And I’ll take mine raw.
#beyourownbeautiful, #theresonly1u, #idonthvtolooklikeavideovixen, #myhusbandlovesmejustthewayIam, #learntoloveyourself
Picture: One of my favorite behind the scenes shots – where I can clearly see despite the make-up, that this is just me. And I’m learning to like it. Click here for more behind the scene shots.