What Does Beauty Mean to You?

I would be lying if I said this question wasn’t extremely difficult for me to answer. Difficult in regards to the load in which my response carries beneath the surface. And I know every woman, everywhere can attest to that, because I do believe that every woman, at one point or another in her life, has experienced a moment where she didn’t feel beautiful and longed to be adored.

As a young girl, I would play princess dress up with my younger cousin. Wearing my finest gown and mothers heels, I would twirl and sing, curtsy and bow before the king, anticipating him saying how lovely I was. A woman of class, fit for a prince to marry. Unfortunately, my daydreams of splendor were overthrown with the judgment and cruelty from the other little girls.

For many years I was conditioned to believe that beauty was in the eye of the looker, not the beholder. So according to my peers, I was hideous. And the lack of outward beauty naturally stripped you of your worth as a person too…and when I look back at my younger self, I mourn for her. My heart breaks to think that she went to such great heights, for so long, to be nothing that she wanted to be, but everything that everyone else wanted her to be.

For 10 years I struggled with an eating disorder. To think that 10 whole years of my life were filled with constant thoughts of ways to make myself smaller, food, the lack of food, calories, insecurities…I wonder what other things I could have spent my time doing that were actually worth remembering. Instead I remember all the ways in which my hatred and anger filled me to the brim of my cup, that even one drop of overflow could drive me to the end of motivation to keep going. To keep living. It is there that I found my true beauty. It was there, without the make up to cover my acne, without the baggy clothes and waist trainers and diet pills to make my skinny, without the scale to shame me, without the noise of all the girls that told me I wasn’t pretty enough to get a date to the school dance…it was there that I realized that it IS ME that makes me beautiful. It is my very nature, and personality, my love, my kindness that makes me attractive to others. It is the love of Jesus that washes over me and fills my lungs, my veins and my heart that makes me beautiful. My beauty isn’t found in a number, a flawless face, a boyfriend. My beauty is exactly what it says; mine. Beauty doesn’t mean you don’t have insecurities or that you absolutely are in love with yourself and how you look, but rather you know that no height, no valley, no storm, no circumstance can ever take away all in which that makes you unique to this world and a life worth living…

It is then that I came to the realization that beauty IS the beholder.

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