When I was in elementary school, about sixth grade, I was in bed crying incosolably. My dad, always willing to lend an ear when I needed him, came into my room to find out what was wrong. Apparently I had a challenging day at school. I don't remember being picked on over anything in particular, but I felt awful about myself. I told my dad I felt my nose was too big, my lips were too big, and I was too short. He said, "as far as your nose is concerned...well...you get that from me, and I'm sorry about that." (However, thank you AM, you know who you are, for always telling me it was what you liked most about my face and you didn't even know this story). Then my dad said, "as for your lips...well...women pays thousands of dollars in Hollywood to have lips like yours. Someday you will be thankful."
(And now thank you XT for highlighting this on my facebook page for the world to see!! LOL!!) Lastly my dad said, "as for your height...hold on...I'll be right back..." with that, he left my bedroom. A minute later he returned with a magazine. "Look at her and all that she has accomplished and she is as tall as you are!" And there she was, low and behold in all her semi-nude glory, Sally Field on the cover of Playboy magazine. And thus began my downward spiral into self-loathing over my body, when my poor dad was doing everything he could to be helpful and keep me from crying! Hahaha!
I am proud to say I am much better today. I embrace my wrinkles, grey hair, and baby belly. Some of you may point out that you don't notice them. I will point out that you are either lying, blind, or looking at pictures on the internet that are taken from a good distance. No matter, though, because I am completely happy with who I am. And I feel I am just getting better with age. Wisdom is a much more attractive trait to have, in my eyes, and I am still on the path to enlightenment. To receive compliments today is nice, but I know deep down that I will be at my most beautiful when I am a little grey haired old lady that has lived a full life and taken risks and not been scared to face her fears and said "yes" when most people would say "no" and has no regrets.
There is so much life I have lived, and hopefully, so much more to go. If anyone thinks I'm beautiful today (and trust me, I know it's in the eye of the beholder), then I shall be drop-dead gorgeous when I am well into my eighties and above.
Before I got married, I dated this guy for about eight months...why so long, I have no idea. We got into a fight one time and he told me (I was 19), "you are lucky I still find you attractive after 6 months, most men would have been over you by now!" Thank goodness I moved on to the next guy, because the next one turned out to be my husband. And 15 years later he still tells me I'm beautiful. I'd like to think it is not just because he likes my lips, or my nose, or the fact that I'm short, but because I am a beautiful person inside. I happen to think he is the most handsome man I've ever known, and he just gets better looking the older (and more beat up and bruised) he gets. How lucky am I to have a husband that adores me even when he knows what a terrible housekeeper I am???
So, today I am grateful for the people who pay compliments off the cuff to others. We all appreciate a nice compliment, right? If I've learned anything from the folks I met in South America it is to not be shy about expressing how I feel! But when our society puts such an emphasis on outside appearance, I am reminded about the people who have seen me sans make-up, pregnant and 200 pounds, face broken out from too much chocolate, sometimes all of the above at the same time, and still think I'm beautiful! And that is where I find my strength and confidence!!! From the people who love me zits and all : )