I have deliberated about this post. I am afraid it will make me sound vain and narcissistic. On the flip side, I'm afraid that it makes me sound shallow and insecure. This deliberation shows me that while I'm changing, I still have a ways to go.
A while back I blogged about how I have a hard time seeing myself as beautiful. Growing up, somewhere, somehow, I picked up this insane idea that a woman could be beautiful or she could be smart. It just wasn't possible to be both smart and beautiful.
Since schoolwork came naturally to me (don't count math though!), and I still like learning (except math....which is why my current position makes perfect sense somedays), I identified myself as smart. As such, I mistakenly believed I wasn't beautiful. Oh sure, I wasn't ugly. But just ordinary. Just average. On a great day, cute.
As I've gotten older, I have become much more comfortable with myself. I am confident in my skin, and while I still have imperfections that annoy me to no end, I have slowly begun to accept that I am pretty. Even beautiful on the great days.
I have learned that my imperfections add to my beauty rather than detract from it. I have learned to accept compliments on my looks gracefully (except when I have been on a bus for two days and haven't showered in three).
That said, do you ever get caught off-guard by a glance in the mirror, a compliment, or a picture of yourself? A glance into how you truly appear to others? As opposed to the way you see yourself? Kind of like that whole being startled when you hear a recording of your voice and think, "I don't really sound like that, do I?"
When I first saw our vacation pictures, I was knocked off-guard. I saw those pictures of beautiful places, and a beautiful love, and a handsome man, and a beautiful girl. And I thought to myself, "There is no way that girl in those pictures is me." You see, the girl in those pictures was beautiful, and sophisticated, and elegant. Someone I would love to become, but most definitely am not.
Gradually, the more I looked at the pictures, the more I saw myself in them. The more I saw myself in those pictures, the more I realized I am beautiful.
I was not beautiful when I was younger. So why am I now seeing myself as beautiful? Did the ugly duckling become a swan? Did the caterpillar emerge from her cocoon as a beautiful butterfly? Have I just become so confident and comfortable with who I am that it shines on the outside as well? Am I beautiful because I am in love with a wonderful man? Is it just a matter of finally seeing myself as others see me?
Whatever the real reason is that I am now seeing myself as beautiful, I don't really care. I am smart, confident, capable, sassy, sweet, young, and beautiful. And that is enough for me.