Today starts our Beauty Adventure. We spent all of October talking about reclaiming body image, and let's be honest, we'll never stop talking about it. We can't. Not if we really want things to shift for all of us.
This is where we add to that act of reclaiming. This is where we start to rebuild.
Before I got married I spent a lot of time playing with hair color, hairstyles, makeup and accessories. They mattered to me. They didn't define me, rather I felt like I defined my own beauty. But then I had my first baby and my world spiraled away from all things beauty. I didn't feel beautiful anymore. I felt tired, worn, fat and uninterested. I scraped through for a few years, pretending I didn't care anymore. Sometimes I really didn't care. I just gave up. I might have said then that I let myself go, but it was more than just my appearance. I LET MYSELF GO. I stopped nurturing who God made me to be. I stopped acknowledging the things that made me beautiful. Lets be honest - that had little to do with my makeup or hair color. Those things were just the outward symptoms of something that was happening inside of me. I was a little bit lost in the world of parenting, anxiety, marriage to an addict, and loneliness.
When Aravis was a baby we lived on the west side of Phoenix, far away from our families and friends. I was isolated and so alone. Joe was working two jobs, one of them was a ministry job, and everything was unbalanced. At the same time, he was having an emotional affair and I was in complete denial. I just kept drifting away.
I've noticed that, in the past year and a half, as I'm finding myself again I'm also rediscovering my love of beauty. I don't wake up and pull out my makeup basket because I need to hide my true self from the world. That's what I was doing when I was wandering around in a numbed out haze, dead to my deepest spaces. This is a season of finding life in embracing who I am again. And that's a big deal, isn't it?
Hear me sisters: beauty products won't fulfill you. They won't heal your wounds or ease your grief. That's not their job. But you don't have to hide from them either. It isn't vanity to celebrate your own unique beauty by highlighting it. I'm pretty sure we've all heard the lie that we have to downplay our beauty to be really truly pleasing to God. Pretty sure that's a pile of BS. God is ultimately the God of CREATION, of colors and shapes and textures and wild, furious beauty. The God who piled vibrant, glorious color into the fragile wings of an exotic insect is not the same fear based god who demands that we hide our brilliantly created selves. That god is a lie; a whispered demand to deny the true God.
So, shame to the wind, its time to embrace your individual, beautiful self. Its time to find you again; to uncover the unique and awe-inspiring pretty that was planted in you in your most basic design.
The first step to loving your own beauty is so simple.
Okay, it's not easy. It's hard as crap. But we can't move forward until we wiggle our toes into that footprint. Stop mirror shaming TODAY, sweet friend. When you finish this post, go stand in front of the mirror with some grace. Look at your body and your face as if you were a stranger. Imagine not knowing all of your own insecurities, or the mean things people said to you YEARS ago, or the critical way you were taught to view your genetic makeup. You are made up of beautiful parts and its your job to discover them. No one else can do it for you. And now's the time.
So, hey. I'm with you. Sometimes I have to ease the swelling of my sad heart with a great big dose of grace. We're all going to have to hug the midline for the rest of our lives. We're going to have to diminish shame with glorious grace. We're going to have to balance our love of beauty with our willingness to ride out the hard days in yoga pants and Einstein hair. The revolution in the world of women is truly found in the land of grace. We can be both highlighted and contoured on Mondays and fresh faced on Tuesdays. We can find our personal style without the crushing fear that we aren't doing it the "right" way. There's no right way. There's just your way.
Look at these women. These are my real life friends, in their real lives. They are beautiful. So so beautiful. And they are all different. Today is just the first step to loving your own beauty. Sometimes it helps to learn how to love ALL beauty. Because, somewhere in there, is YOUR beauty. Amen?