I had a really sad conversation with someone last night, and it still bothers me, so I am going to talk about it here because...it is still on my mind, and writing is what I do.
She had seen a picture of me and commented on how happy I look, and I told her I am happy. In fact, across the board, this is the best place I have ever been in my life--heart, soul, mind, and body. I told her I reached the place I always wanted to reach. I look in the mirror and see a truly beautiful person, and I love being me. There is honestly no one else I would want to be.
She said I look like I've lost weight. Yep, 30 pounds. She asked how, and I told her watching calories, weights, and cardio. Then she said, "Well, no wonder you look happy. Telling yourself you are a muscle building, fat burning machine has got to feel good. Just looking at your mirror everyday and saying that has got to be helping you."
"Well, when you tell yourself positive things about yourself, it helps your self-esteem. I bet losing 30 pounds has given you lots of good stuff to say."
I realize, she thought this was a compliment, but I thought it was incredibly sad because clearly she missed it.
I don't think I'm beautiful because of my body. I"m 49, still have sugar glider arms, carried two 9-pound babies and have the stretchmarks to prove it, have 50 more pounds to go to be in my happy range, and really don't like how my ankles look. Trust me. Beauty is not about my body.
I don't think I am beautiful because of my face. I like the red hair; without it, I am significantly grey. I have wrinkles around my eyes. I've always wanted fuller lips, and when I smile, one eye looks smaller than the other. Plus, I have this long forehead. Nope. Beautiiful is not in my face. Although, I do like my looks. Really.
What this person didn't understand was my statement:
I've become the person I want to be.
This is what I mean. The person I want to be and have become--
--answers the phone or goes to lunch or has coffee with someone who "wants to know how (I am)" but talks for 2 hours about themselves...and is okay that they trust me to listen even if they don't want to listen to me. (It is a very great priivliege when people trust you with their hearts.)
--has watched It's a Wonderful Life dozens of times...and still cries at the end.
--answers my phone in the middle of the night because I know sometimes the middle of the nighti s a hellish nightmare.
--likes steak...and a hotdog cookout equally, not because of the food but because of the people.
--loves playing board games with my kids.
--loves how hard I've had to work to get thinner.
--loves pushing myself beyond my comfort zone...even when it scares me a lot.
--loves the adventuresome side of me that I'm giving room to grow.
--has wisdom only God could give, and that is pretty groovy.
--loves the intimacy I share with the Lord. It is breathtaking.
What I love about me is how much I enjoy life and how my faith has grown and peace is so pervasive even when circumstances are not my ideal.
Like i told my friend last night, I don't look in the mirror and tell myself good things so I can love who I am; I love who i am, so I tell myself good things.
Here is the reality. Not everyone is physically capable of having a swimsuit issue body. Not all of us are going to have model perfect faces, no matter what we do. And even if we did, all of that can be gone in heartbeat. A car wreck. Burn. Stroke. Heart diagnosis. Arthritis. Poof! The physical you is gone, and you are along for the ride, but who you choose to be, the way you choose to live your life, the way you invest in and value people...those things are the beautiful parts. And that is beauty you can choose. And, it is beautiful no matter what goes on around you. In fact, when all goes crazy around you, that kind of beauty only becomes more beautiful.
Love and prayers,