This photo makes me feel beautiful.
My mom is in town visiting for a few days and we took my three kids for a walk through the woods the other day. It was about 40 degrees out, the sun was starting to set, the fog was settling in over the fields and it was absolutely beautiful. My mom snapped this photo of me with my daughter, Adeline as we were goofing off in front of a duck pond and when I saw it my initial reaction was, wow, I look beautiful here. That's not a reaction a lot of people would probably admit to out loud, and one I'm certainly not completely comfortable admitting to and probably under normal circumstances wouldn't willing to write an entire blog post about - but I wanted to share why.
A lot of people pay good money to cover their signs of aging; dying their grey hairs, waxing the little hairs above their lip or below their chin(s), tattooing fuller eyebrows, larger lips, a little surgery here, a little needle work there, hours of time spent contouring and coloring in what they see as imperfections- and while I can't speak from experience, I can imagine even with all of that time and effort spent - when they see an up close photo of themselves like this, they still see the flaws - the work that still needs to be done - instead of the beauty.
I look at this photo of myself and it's tempting to cringe at the imperfections; to start picking apart the things I don't like and need to/should/want to change. Instead of doing this and of thinking of all the things I could be or should be, I look at this photo and I see what I am and what is.
I see the crowsfeet near my eyes, and I know they're from 35 years of being on this planet and seeing unbelievable beauty. In people, in places, in experiences. I've been around this world and have had the ability to see extraordinary things and I'm thankful for those little wrinkles which have enabled me to do so.
I see the laugh lines around my lips, and I think of all the times I laughed so hard with (at) Brian, and how he was the funniest person I've ever known. I look at these lines and I think of the times out with my best girlfriends where we spent the next morning trying to piece together the previous night - laughing uncontrollably at the shenanigans we'd gotten ourselves into and sharing stories until the next round of whiskey was upon us.
I see the dark circles around my eyes and I think of how tired I am, but how my lack of sleep comes from taking care of my newborn daughter. The one her dad and I wanted so much and were SO thrilled to learn we were having. She might keep me up all night, but those dark circles means that she's here and the sleepless nights are so worth the alternative of there being no Adeline in my life.
I see my double chin and the extra weight in my neck and I think of the three incredible babies I managed to create with the love of my life. How the extra pounds I've put on mean nothing in comparison to the unbelievable joy these three kids bring to me on a daily basis and how I wouldn't trade anything for them - even if means I'm a little rounder because of it.
Lastly I see the gray hairs that have started to grow from the top of my head. These ones are the hardest for me to see as these remind me of the absolute horrendous 8 months I've been through. Each gray hair could tell you a story of sadness, of tragedy and of more emotional ups and down than most people could tell in a lifetime. But these gray hairs would also tell a tale of triumph and of hope, of being thankful for all the past has brought and of looking forward to what the future brings.
They say a photo is worth a thousand words and I can say this photo is proof of that for me. For those of you reading, please share a photo with me where you feel/felt beautiful and tell me why. As always, thank you for reading. <3