Beauty is pain. I’m not sure where I first heard these words but it most likely came from my mother. I would later hear it from my grandmother, sister, mentors, and almost any women who went to great efforts to look her best.
Even today I hear the words thrown around as we wear heels that blister and ache, or dresses that show too much, or hold everything in, to the point we might explode. Across generations and continents we have corseted ourselves, tucked our tummies, bound our feet, darkened or lightened our skin, botoxed our faces, removed veins, added cup sizes, and spent countless hours and dollars perfecting our nails only to have them chip three days later.
We have grown up in a world that tells us we aren’t good enough and we’ll never be beautiful. But what if what Tate Berry said to me when we were 6-years-old, that my legs were too hairy, wasn’t true? What if those extra 10 pounds gained from carrying life inside of you was not only okay, but beautiful? What if each and every wrinkle and fold that was gained from years of laughter, joy and a life well lived was beautiful? What if your skin isn’t too light or two dark? What if your hair isn’t too straight or curly or short or long? What if you were born pretty?
From the first breath you gasped, taken from the Divine, you are not only beautiful, but enough. Enough in every possible way.
I’ve been drawing a lot of flowers recently. The standard for beauty. And you know what I’ve learned? When a flower is drawn perfectly–equally spaced pedals that are all the same length that surround the center perfectly–it looks like a drawing on your home room binder. Cute, but nothing special. Not something you’d hang on the walls or show in a museum. But when you draw a flower imperfectly–with overlapping petals, twists and folds, tears and jittery lines–it becomes magical. It becomes beautiful. The colors of the plants behind it shine through, you see how it stands out from the rest, and it adds to the whole.
In its imperfections its character is brought through. Its beauty is what poems and songs are written about, painting after painting is created from, and yet we still can’t seem to get enough of this perfectly imperfect beauty.
So, my dear, I want to share with you a secret that even I am trying to grasp. A secret I can see in the world but still can’t believe it to be true. Maybe together, we can believe it for each other–you are enough.
The acne on your face, the weight you want to lose, the extra hair, the fading hair, the wrinkles and sags and unmanicured nails, it’s all enough. Because with or without all these things you are beautiful. Just like the flower, owning its unique offering to the world, you are beautiful.
Imagine if we both believed this, what a release we would find. A sense of peace. To let go of having to be everything to all. Think of the time we would get back in her day! If we really believed this, we could walk into the garden, wild and free, and fall into the flowers, becoming a part of them. Bringing our own beauty to the world.
For now, let’s just start by believing that the other was born pretty and walk hand-in-hand, encouraging each other to see their beauty too. Maybe if we start here, someday, we just might see ourselves as the flowers we so easily love.