Celebrate Your Beauty

3  Ways to Find Unexpected Beauty

When I was an awkward teenager with triangle boobs, I sat behind a gorgeous girl in choir with the perfect curly, blonde hair, a flawless face with heart shaped lips, and of course a “womanly” body. She was sweet and sang beautifully, and I wanted to be just like her. When I went home from choir that day, I looked in the mirror and saw that I didn’t measure up. I had a shag hair cut (why? I don’t know.), it was the mid-2000’s so middle school fashion was at its lowest peak, and I didn’t wear a lot of makeup. I wanted to wear a lot of makeup, but my mama didn’t let me wear anything more than nude shades of eye shadow and shimmery lip gloss. I was the epitome of what a teenage boy wouldn’t want. I looked like pre-puberty Hermione.

It all came to a head when I dissolved into tears one day after choir because I was ugly. Like any good mom does, my mom sat with me at the kitchen table as I poured my pre-teen heart out. When I was done, she reaffirmed my beauty but gave me an important tool I’ll never forget.

Get naked.
Stand in front of the mirror.
Thank God for every body part you see.

I stood in the front of the mirror. Thank you God for my feet. Thank you God for my calves, even though their chicken legs. Thank you for my knobby knee caps. Thank you for my thighs, even if I think they’re too big. . . and so on and so forth.

I became more confident in my appearance towards the end of high school. During my junior year of college, I ran a half marathon. It was my first (and only) half marathon and I was running 30+ miles a week and not eating the way I should to sustain my running schedule. However, I found myself in the best shape of my life even though I was quite unhealthy. I had hardly any muscle mass, but the part of my body I had been most insecure about – my stomach – was less food baby all the time and more like abs. Because I didn’t have strong enough muscles to sustain running the half marathon, I ended up injuring my knee and my groin during my race.

After the half-marathon, I worked at a Mexican restaurant so I went back to my normal weight plus a little more booty in the pants thanks to the free chips and salsa. From thereon out, I started to struggle with my image again. I would fall into a cycle where I got into the routine of working out several days a week for a couple weeks, and then I would eat 4 cake pops at a wedding (read: me, last night. #noragrets.)

I started to become self-conscious about my appearance. It got worse after the holidays and wedding this year. My body changed in different places and I had to buy all new pants and shorts this spring, which, is a good excuse to go on a shopping spree, but I still found myself feeling like a middle schooler again. I felt weird about looking at all these ladies on Instagram with their fitspiration, knowing I could be more like them if I ate correctly and worked out.

But right now that’s not a priority in my life. My priority in life is to adjust to marriage. It’s to adjust to being a wife, taking care of my half of the chores, working full-time, and doing things that bring me joy. I still enjoy the occasional sweat sesh, but I’m learning to love myself and find beauty in the unexpected.

3 Ways to Find Beauty in the Unexpected

No matter what we look like, I’m sure we all have felt what I’ve described above. We all have parts of our appearance we wish we could change. So today I want to celebrate our beauty.

Get Naked.

Look at yourself in the mirror.
Appreciate how you have been made.
Appreciate the way your stretch marks tell a story of the baby your womb held.
Appreciate the way your dimple sinks into your cheek when you smile.
Appreciate the way your hair just looks #flawless when you wake up. Thank goodness messy is chic right now.

Celebrate your body. 

But beauty is only skin deep, there are so many other things that make you beautiful.

Reflect on your personality. 

Your beauty comes from the way you love others furiously.
Your beauty comes from the way you are determined to succeed.
Your beauty comes from the way you fight for social justices through taking a stand by writing, parades, veganism, etc.
Your beauty comes from the hope you carry and pass on to others.

Surround yourself with beautiful people.

I don’t mean conventionally beautiful people.

I mean people who are going to make a difference in the world with you. (And if they’re conventionally beautiful, cool.)

Surround yourself with someone who is uniquely different than you.
Surround yourself with people who wear love on their sleeves.
Surround yourself with people who fight for the truth.
Surround yourself with people whose language is encouragement.

Your beauty gives life to others, and it’s not because you can contour like Huda Beauty. There are so many amazing women out there who are changing their world around them, and to me, that is beautiful.

And like the orphans from Annie says, You’re never fully dressed, without a smile.

Tell me in the comments below what is one thing you find beautiful about yourself!