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Inner Beauty| Loving the flaws and all

posted on: April 17, 2014



Some time ago, I got really wrapped up in being a woman, not just any kind of woman, but a woman who really loved herself-all of herself. During that time, I had to step back and re-evaluate compliments, and who I thought those compliments were making me become. It's quite easy to get wrapped up in who everyone says you are, rather than who you feel you actually are. For some, that's good, being wrapped up in what others think of them, the good parts at least. For others, like myself, I noticed that I felt watered down. I felt that I was often defending my real womanhood, my scars and my flaws without someone even knowing they were the offender. In fact, they were not; it was me. always.

When I was young, my family started to see dry spots form around my mouth. The dry spots turned into what looked somewhat similar to a sunburn, and later the "sunburn" turned into white spots called Vitiligo. The white spots increased in location, spreading under my eyes, my elbows, my knees, my ankles, and even the knuckles of my hands (I've talked about this on here before). It seemed as if it spread rapidly, too rapidly for a young girl to comprehend, and truthfully, I was torn into pieces internally about it. No matter how awesome my clan of brothers, sister, mother, father, grandma, and aunts and uncles thought I was, once I stepped out of my house I felt vulnerable. My soft spot was there for anyone to open and poke at. Knowing that I was so easily accessible in that way hardened me without a doubt.

A few years later with a diet change and much less stress the white spots started to go away, just like the doctor had once said (I love this article on health and her personal experience) . They decreased a substantial amount in a few years, becoming non existent on my face and only making slight appearances throughout other areas.  I became more confident, I felt more beautiful, and embraced every little white spot that speckled my body. I think this change came with knowing that acceptance is the key to loving yourself. My white spots were flaws and are flaws that are -mostly- out of my control, but I also don't feel controlled by them. Not one tiny bit. I no longer feel vulnerable if you happen to notice them, or even point them out. They've become such a part of me, that I don't even notice them, but yet I am so very proud of them. But when the time comes that I feel as if that confident person with a story to tell is watered down, by her and her alone, I sit and stare at my flaws. I reflect on my past, my story. I remind myself that most of what you and I see daily is just stuff; make-up, a diet change, oils, the list goes on. I feel as though if I called myself beautiful, it would be because I know my flaws exist and I accept them, because I am weird and loud at times, because I can look on my past and it can knock me down from whatever pedestal I had set before, because no matter what path you've walked I feel as though I can identify with you, and because I know that in an instant all of the stuff and pretty talk can just disappear. If I were to call myself beautiful, I'd rather be beautiful for all of it.. not just the stuff. 

I often think about this and how it will affect River. How as a pretty girl she might get wrapped in just that. Compliments from strangers, friends, and teachers, how they can easily mold her. Mold her into thinking that being pretty, will actually create some sort of deep happiness for her. As her mother and as a woman who has seen all sides, I want to raise a girl who knows that it's all just stuff. I want her to know that being pretty won't fulfill you internally-at least long term. I want to teach her that when people say you're pretty, it's best if they're saying it because your a good person, because you treat others well, because your compassionate and loving, and because you accept every part of yourself.

Finally, I want to teach her, and also remind myself, that as long as I (we) know that we aren't flawless individuals, there's no reason to feel as though we have to defend our real womanhood. The inner stuff, the parts that we constantly work on, aren't watered down, they will always be there reminding us of our place, who we are and the paths we've walked.

Here's to being beautiful on the outside, but more importantly on the inside, always and forever.

16 comments:

  1. This is so beautifully said. People so very often only see and comment on our outside looks, its so important to believe in all of your wonderful qualities to not get lost in all of that.

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  2. Post of the year from you! Well said. And don't forget to teach those lessons to your lil boy. As a Mama of two boys I always try to share the same message so they too know the meaning of true beauty.

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  3. Thanks for making me think about this skin-deep obsession many of us have, which certainly doesn't lead to happiness deep within.

    Great food for thought!

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  4. I'm finally at a place where I see my Vitiligo as a blessing. Since I didn't have it as a child, it's been a challenging process making the adjustment as an adult who developed Vitiligo close to her 30s and it's spread pretty rapidly. The blessing is that it's made me take a long look at the things & ideals that I valued--both for myself and others--and rethink what I believe it means to be beautiful as an American woman. I follow you on Instagram but never knew you had Vitiligo until I saw your post this morning. Thank you for sharing your story...women like you are such an inspiration! I always say, no one can ever truly understand what it's like to have it until you do. I have so much respect for you journey--blessing to you, my dear!

    XO,
    Dayka

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  5. I absolutely love this post. I myself have some flaws that I'm grappling to handle and reading this post has really made me think of them in a new light, so thank you for that.

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  6. thanks for sharing this-- really nice to read.

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  7. this reminds me of the speech Lupita Nyong'o gave at the Essence Awards, about how her mother would tell her, 'You can't eat beauty.' One of the most moving moments so far in 2014 for me. Thank you for sharing!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPCkfARH2eE

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  8. Such a lovely reminder for us to not compare ourselves to others and embrace what God gave us... Thanks for your honesty. I just love reading your blog daily...

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  9. It's so hard to try to teach my daughter, and myself for that matter, to know that she is beautiful and to also know, it doesn't really matter.

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  10. It's so easy to get wrapped up in other's opinions about us, especially as women. I'm glad to read this an acknowledge the importance of my own inner voice-- what I tell myself, my character, my thoughts matter more than all the superficial "stuff" people have to say. Of course, it's nice to receive compliments, but it's a dangerous path where one can loose themselves/who they really are fishing for validation from others. Thanks again for such a wonderful read, and by the way, you're beautiful, inside and out. I admire your spirit so much.

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  11. One of my favorite of your posts thus far. <3

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  12. I know that vulnerable feeling. I have a pretty large birthmark on my left leg, and it really takes everything in me (until this day! and I've had it all my life) to not be insecure and feel vulnerable about the looks it gets. Maybe they are more significant in my head, but I feel them and sometimes I'm bold and love me and other times I let it break me down.

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  13. I see no flaws here - only extra lovely overflowing from a lovely person.

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  14. Thank you for this. I was recently diagnosed with vitiligo, (celiac disease diagnosed 8 yrs ago) and felt extremely depressed. With diet changes, and reminding myself it's not just what's on the surface, I feel stronger. Your words are encouraging. ❤️ Http://Instagram.com/Jaquilynshumate http://Jaquilynshumate.com/blog

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