You don’t need a man to tell you that you’re beautiful.
When the eyes are puffy, when the roots have grown in and the color is faded, when the clothes fit tight, when the skin parts with wrinkles and stretch marks—you don’t need the makeup company slogans, and the Youtube tutorials, and the feminist manifestos or any other kind of elevated word to tell you that it’s easy breezy to be a girl covered in concealer and that, maybe you’re born with it.
MAYBE YOU’RE BORN WITH IT. . .JUST MAYBE.
. . .
What you need is the same thing that I needed:
a reminder that digs past the sleepless eyes round with bags and dark with circles; a reminder that can’t ever fade or fall out of style.
“A different kind of beautiful?” I asked my husband, the other night as we drove home talking about my stretch marks. As if I’d forgotten that there was a such thing…as if I’d failed to realize that such a thing even existed.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF BEAUTIFUL.
He was telling me that it doesn’t matter how many marks stretch themselves across my stomach as I carry our first child — he’d said that I was always beautiful to him and that I always would be.
The words hit hard against the cement wall in my brain, the lie that I surround myself more than truth.
These words, the echoes of expectation that we’ve been told we can have, we can be. . .should be.
“You’re carrying our son,” he said to me. “Your belly is doing something that makes it even more beautiful to me,” he said.
“A different kind of beautiful?” I asked.
It dawned on me. . .
A different kind of beautiful.
A canvas won’t tell a story unless it’s painted over with obvious color.
So, the marks we have. The moles we can’t afford to blast away, the freckles we can’t conceal because they’re splattered all over us, head-to-toe. The burn mark and the scars from the incisions to save our life or the mutilation to take our life.
The dark spots and rough patches, the pale skin and all other things we’ve been told would fade with creams and come with tans. The stretch marks across your carrying belly, even when you put all the shea butter you were supposed to.
The shimmering grays.
The dimpled skin in places that don’t smile.
The ribs peeking through.
The masculine muscles.
The stubby nails.
The crippled hands and feet.
The invisible abnormality.
The amputated limb.
All of it, every crack in the clay of our hand-crafted bodies.
All of it is beautiful.
We are ALL kinds of beautiful.