This is something I am learning and reminding myself of daily. When I was a child I don’t ever remember focusing on an outward appearance…of course as I grew that became more important. It makes my heart hurt to think I thought I was “bigger” when looking back, I was the thinnest I have ever been.
Now here I am two babies later, nine months after being diagnosed with breast cancer and I feel as far from attractive as possible. Now most of you probably are taken aback by that statement. The raw truth is… after going through the struggles of weight management with babies and nursing, then to go through the struggles of chemotherapy infusions, which left my entire self bald, then to go through the struggle of having a breast removed…I don’t feel attractive in the least bit. I feel like when I went through all I have, I sort of lost the physical appearance part of myself. I look in the mirror now and see a body that has gone through what no 33-year-old should.
Now when I say this bold truth the reason is because my grasp of beauty has completely changed. I have been forced into a completely uncomfortable state of being… and in that forced way of living my heart has been washed clean of any sort of vanity. When I look in the mirror now I see strong. I see durable. I see resilient. I see brave. I see a woman who has looked darkness in the face and chose light instead. I don’t want to miss anything just because I am outside my comfort zone…I will swim with my daughters, I will be in the pictures, I will show my daughters that when life hands you difficult challenges, sitting on the sidelines is never the answer.
I vow to teach my girls what the true meaning of beauty is…because our outside appearance can be stripped from us in a matter of seconds. My girls see me dress every single day, they see my “tiger stripes” from them being grown and loved in my belly, they see my loose skin that shows the mark they left on my body from growing their healthy, gorgeous little bodies to full term. They see my scars from having my breast removed. I want them to see their mommy tackle breast cancer (and any challenge in life) with strength, positivity and grace. I am determined to use kind language when speaking about myself and to them (specifically physical appearance). I aim to not only compliment their outside beauty (because of my incredible bias… how can I not remark on their gorgeousness…they are my babies! Haha), but I aim to compliment their growing knowledge, their gifts, the way they carry themselves, their strengths, etc.
In all honesty, I can hardly handle this short hair I am not a fan in the least bit (thank you all for the kind compliments though!)… it is poofy and often when I look in the mirror I feel like a 12-year-old boy. Nevertheless, I am trying to stay positive and make the best of each phase as my beloved long locks slowly grow back. Even in that statement above, guilt drowns my heart because above all I am grateful to be alive.
Despite, all the physical challenges I have faced I pray every day for another day with my children and husband, regardless of what I look like. I want my legacy to be that I lived my very best life, carrying beauty with me in the way that I lived, not by how I looked. I want to show that I overcame adversity, pain, darkness, and rose up to help others around me live a healthy life...realizing that beauty is within.
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