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October 19, 2012

on feeling beautiful.

you're so pretty. 

ben said this to me the other day. he'd barely finished saying the words before i dismissed them and shoved them away. 

i don't even have makeup on!

this is how i responded. and it's sad that i equate beauty with makeup, but i'd be a liar if i said makeup didn't do a whole lot to help how i sometimes feel about myself. i laughed and tucked my hair behind my ear. i do that when i'm uncomfortable. even with this man i am wholly in love with, that word, pretty, makes me uncomfortable. i took his kind words and pushed them away. because i had just woken up and most likely looked like a raccoon. or a jungle beast because i somehow wind up with half a dozen knots in my hair every morning. 
 
he uses the words pretty and beautiful. it's hard to accept them, these pockets of kindness. accepting them means acknowledging them as truth and acknowledging that a good man said them to you and this man looks at you this way. but it's especially hard when beautiful is the most foreign feeling in that moment, on that day, during a long stretch of unlovely-feeling days. and it's hard when things around you feel crummy. because you then start to feel crummy. and a bad mood becomes a runway train of i'm as big as a house and i hate everything and eating this maple donut will make the problem go away.  

oh, sweet girl, you know that it won't. because that maple donut will be gone in two minutes. on particularly bad days, less than that. and the problem will float back to the surface. and all the sweet foods and salty foods in the whole world won't make you feel better about yourself. you don't need them. and you don't need to ignore compliments or believe that you don't deserve them. 

everyone deserves them.

i have body issues. that sentence is so very loaded and tricky and tiring. these issues make those moments of hearing someone say nice things to me hard to believe. he sees me this way, so why can't i see me this way? 

this takes time.

it's important to think of ourselves as beautiful. but more than that, the feeling part, truly feeling beautiful is everything. feeling is believing. and it means everything when you feel it on your own. beautiful doesn't always have to mean red lipstick, a fancy dress, and high heels. it can be much quieter. 

i feel beautiful when i run. when i find a rhythm on the treadmill or street and i quiet my mind. 

i feel beautiful when i'm biking twenty miles in spin class, cursing the instructor and the awful music she's choosing to play. i feel less beautiful when i compare my thighs to the girl on the bike next to me. comparison is the thief of joy. teddy roosevelt was on to something there. my thighs have nothing to do with that girl's thighs and they definitely have nothing to do with my self-worth.

i feel beautiful after i wash my face and everything feels fresh. 

i feel beautiful when i hear i love you. and especially when i say it. 

i feel beautiful sharing wine and stories with my girlfriends, the funniest and most loving women i know.

i feel beautiful when someone says my name for the first time, when they sometimes smile because it's so different. and i love that about my name. even for someone who craves familiarity and stability, i love the differentness of what i'm called. 

i feel beautiful on sunday mornings at church, feeling calm like i've never known. rocking eva back and forth and sharing animal crackers and singing songs. beautiful is happiness, finally coming to stay. let it stay. beautiful is praying that this, all of this stays.

i feel beautiful when i'm eating a healthy meal i've cooked for myself. when i'm on my fifth or sixth glass of water, with lemon if the mood strikes. i feel beautiful when i'm taking the best possible care of myself, when i'm taking care of my heart.

beautiful has nothing to do with a number on a scale or a pair of jeans. it is about hearing that word and not flinching and not tucking the hair and not looking away, but looking at the person saying the words, and when necessary looking in the mirror and saying them myself. 

this takes time.

feeling sexy is a whole other can of worms. that feeling is harder to hold on to, but i'm working on it. 

beautiful takes time, but i have faith that i'm getting there.

what makes you feel beautiful?

3 comments:

  1. Very inspiring. Your honesty is admirable. And I think THAT is beautiful!

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  2. Reading this post made me feel beautiful.
    You are so absolutely fantastic, Rhi.. may I call you Rhi?? :)
    Sarah

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  3. Thank you, Amanda! Sarah, of course. I love being called that. All my friends do. :) And I'm loving your website/blog/videos. You're incredible.

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