Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Beautiful Ones

This has nothing to do with my regular writing. This is about an epiphany I had I hope every person has sooner rather than later. Hopefully, this post will help you arrive at your own epiphany.

Today, I stood waiting with my kids at the bus stop. Another mom was there with her kids and we were chatting. We've become pretty good friends, so we tell each other cute things our kids say and smile together. Today, she told me about her daughter (coincidentally, her kids are the exact same age as mine). Her daughter dressed herself and was looking at herself in the mirror, turning this way and that. Finally, she exclaimed, "Mommy! I'm beautiful!"

I laughed and agreed it was such a cute thing to say. Inside...We'll get to what happened inside in a minute. First, you need some back story.

Way back when my life was still in the single digits, I would get these random flashes of feeling intensely beautiful. It was amazing. One day, I was finally close enough to home (I spent most of my days out-of-doors then) that I ran inside to look at myself in the mirror. I wanted to know if how I felt about myself was true or not. I couldn't imagine it being any other way.

What greeted me was a dirty face, sun-weathered face. My hair was wind blown and tangled (a rat's nest, as we called it in my family). My grin slid from my face. I was ugly. I couldn't understand why I felt beautiful when the truth, looking at me in the mirror, was so different. Of course I never spoke to anyone about this. Who wants to sound conceited or beg for compliments?

That one incident has hugely defined the way I've seen myself. I'm the youngest of seven sisters...and I was the ugly one. At school, I was the ugly one. At college, among my roommates and classmates, I was the ugly one. On the mission I served for my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), during my time spent teaching at a junior high school, at my wedding, being pregnant and giving entire life, I have thought of myself as "The Ugly One." I could never join the ranks of the women around me who I saw as beautiful. I could never be one of the Beautiful Ones.

Back to the present, now. Inside, I looked at the beautiful little girl. I looked at my little girl. And I thought, "How tragic it will be when you realize you're one of the Ugly Ones."

I was shocked. How could I think that these two girls would be anything other than what they already were (beautiful)? They are not ugly and they never will be. And I had my moment, my epiphany. It's taken me more than two decades to realize what I'm about to tell you. I'm not ugly. I never have been. And I know why I felt so beautiful.

Someone, somewhere said "God doesn't make ugly things." Up to this point, I've always secretly added, "Except me." Now, I know what I should have been adding onto the end all these years. It should have been, "Sometimes, it just takes a special pair of eyes to see that beauty."

You are beautiful, whoever you are, wherever you're at. You are beautiful and no amount of telling yourself otherwise, or listening to others tell you otherwise, can change that. Believe me. It's taken me twenty-something years, but I know it now. I am one of the Beautiful Ones. And so are You.

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