When I look in the mirror, the reflection is less than perfect. It doesn’t make a difference how many times my friends and family tell me I look beautiful, because they aren’t looking at the mirror through my eyes, with my brain, having endured my experiences. The way others perceive a body as healthy, thin, sexy, strong, etc. are their thoughts and theirs alone… only you have the power to understand and welcome yourself fully.
It has taken nearly a decade for me to recognize the beauty in my own body. And it’s intriguing how this perception changes over time. When I was younger I was always too short, too muscular, and too tough. Well that little girl was determined to make her brains and heart known above all else. Now as a petite, fit, genuine adult I should feel self-assured and confident, wouldn’t ya think? But that just isn’t how it works.
From a tender age, children are consciously and subconsciously drenched in information about what his or her body “should” look like, what is acceptable, flattering, lovable, right. It’s overwhelming and frankly disturbing.
You only get this one vessel by which to live in the physical world. Treat it right, feel grateful for the wonders it allows, and live joyfully. It is a work in progress, always.
Just last weekend I came to the realization that I have not bought a single pair of non-athletic shorts in two and a half years… clearly I have some insecurities to face. I am not proud of that moment, but I am human. I actually cried. Sometimes it hits you all in one moment feeling awe-inspired and body positive, then somehow you realize that reality isn't the same as the picture you painted in your mined.The mirror still won the battle. Fuck that.
My body does amazing things for me! Rejoice. Remind yourself of the great capabilities this temple has to offer and rejoice. You are not the television show, the magazine cover, your adolescent self, your mother, your best friend. You are inexplicably you. And that is oh so beautiful.
So I leave you with this whimsical note: An ode to you and your wondrous wrinkles.
Choose wrinkles. Every damn day, choose your natural beauty. Choose tenderness and authenticity in a soft tear running down your flushed face or a snort in your laugh. Choose the beauty that is you. Yes, You. The essence of your life and the spirit that moves within. That, you. Choose the four small horizontal lines that run across your forehead that show long nights of a furrowed brow searching for research articles and poignant reads. Choose the wide set of parentheses that frame your lips that show lingering moments of laughter at the dinner table. Choose the beauty that is you. Yes, You. The essence of your life and the spirit that moves within. That, you. Choose the three starburst crinkles that live on the outside corners of your big eyes that show hours of cheeks raised and smiles formed. And don’t forget to choose your less than white teeth from years of coffee and wine shared among your favorite people. Choose wrinkles. Every damn day, choose the mystery of your life and its’ stories written in the lines on your face. And choose to turn your face to the sun, close your eyes, and welcome the open road ahead. Choose the beauty that is you. That is your life.