Do you remember looking in the mirror as a child pretending you were a star? Your hairbrush and bath towel transformed into a microphone and luxurious locks. You belted out the soundtrack to Grease and flipped that terry cloth hairdo giving Farrah Fawcett a run for her money. Or maybe that’s just me.
Whatever your story – there was a time in your young life – before braces and acne, crushes and hormones, you simply felt beautiful.
When we’re young, our feeling of beauty isn’t so much based on the external things we see, but it’s rather equated with how we feel. Beauty is nothing we stop to even think about, much less donate precious play-date time to obsessing over whether we measure up.
As we age, our hearts expand beyond an affinity for birthday hats and jungle gyms, and something happens with our perception of beauty. Our eyes jump off the pages and Hollywood screens on to our mirrors – and what was once seen as perfectly acceptable becomes a sorry ass imitation of what is actually real. We see flaws as nothing but eyesores and hideous differences between them and us.
There’s something utterly delicious about our flaws. We look at a scar on someone’s body and can appreciate their pain left in its wake. We feel the anguish in their eyes and want to convince them – it’s what makes them unique – who they are – even more beautiful.
One of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves is the ability to shift our perception of what we see as flawed.
Flaws are real, honest. They don’t have to carry the hurt we give them. They can exist as reminders of how badass we are, for having survived the meat grinder of ridicule and backlash from the assholes who choose to point them out as “ugly.”
And let’s take a look at the word UGLY.
There’s nothing more unattractive than a mean-spirited heart. And that has nothing to do with your nose, scars, teeth, hair, skin, freckles, body fat, height, eyes, lips.
After nine surgeries on my face, and although they are a bit softer, I still have (and will always have) deep scars from a skin disease I was born with.
Is there a struggle with my perception of beauty at times? You betcha. But that’s when I remind myself of one of the most profound beauty lessons as the result of so much pain: the flaws are the best part.
Post-surgery photo Early 20s. 4th of nine.