A different kind of beautiful.

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.

Flawless.
Blemish-free.
Perfect.
Seamless.
Put together.
Standard.
Resilient.
Undamaged.

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. . .

Yes.
Yes.

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 rolls.
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.

All kinds.

You need you some home.

I left my job and went home to New York.

I stayed there two weeks without a man, without a care, without a worry in the world.

I’m at this exciting…thrilling…unrelenting place in my life where things are changing.

I’m changing.
My heart is changing.
My dreams are changing.

Everything, everything is changing.

You ever feel like that?

– –

Home is good for when life changes—wherever home is and however it looked or looks now. 

Home reminds you of who you’ve been; it celebrates how far you’ve come.

Home is the root, it’s the depth of you—the place that made you, sprung you low into piles of dirt, only to plant you and grow you into the tall, flowering heart and soul that you are now.

Home is the catching up with old friends. It’s the sitting around familiar tables. It’s the crossing over of acquainted bridges; the driving through memorized streets, those pathways forever etched in the recollections of your mind.

Home is nestling into Mom’s chest, even at the age of twenty-nine.

It’s walking that hidden pathway to your favorite Main Street; it’s nostalgic memories late into the night with your brother who remembers the road trips more than you do.

Home is knowing where the pots and pans are. It’s grandma’s living room stacked with moving boxes; stacked with flashbacks of Christmas trees covered with homemade ornaments and silver tinsel.

Home is the hurt and the mess and the rage and the pain.
But, so much more, it’s the healing and the mending and the memories and the hope.

Home is good for leaving; sometimes it’s good for staying.
But it’s always good for visiting.

Never neglecting.
Never forgetting.

You’re not crazy. You just care.

I WANTED TO PUNCH HER.

Wanted to slam my fist on the table, get up, and leave.

We were at a local coffee shop and we were talking about life.

She’s one of my best friends—a sister, the kind that knows your heart without ever having to hear from it.

And I was telling her about some things that I’ve been working through. Things that, really, I’ve been grieving through. Not praying, not seeking through. But shaking my fist up at God through. That kind of working through.

I told her I didn’t want to hear anyone else’s thoughts on what I believed. Told her,
“It won’t change what I think or what I feel.”

Didn’t matter. She still went on to tell me what she thought and what she felt.

She broke it down.

Talked about heaven & hell & death & my brother and all those other things that I’ve been crumbling over on the insides—all the stuff that’s made me feel

CRAZY.  LOST.  CONFUSED.  STUMBLING.
Voices in my mind; struggles in my heart.

Then she pointed my wandering back to the Truth, back to the Word, back to the stories of people who were all once in my position and back to the God who saw and saved them all.

I’m still grieving and working through it all. But at least I’m a little less lost.

. . .

So, now I’m feeling like I have to break it down for you, too. I’m feeling like, even though I don’t know what you’re grieving about, don’t know what you’re losing your mind over, don’t know what keeps your brain awake at night, what verisions of yourself you are seeing and hating when you look in the mirror.

WHAT I DO KNOW IS THIS:

The thinking to yourself, the feeling lonely, the hiding, the paranoia, the lies that are speaking louder than the truths that you know and so badly want just to believe.

NONE OF THAT MEANS THAT YOU ARE CRAZY. . .IT JUST MEANS THAT YOU CARE.

It all just means that you are seeking and searching and fighting and trying; you are desperate, you are frantic. And it’s not because you’re crazy. It’s because you care about something, someone, and you’re just trying to understand.

It’s not a good place to stay;
but it is a good place to be.

And all that I or anyone else can do about it is be there for you in the break down. Be there when it all comes slipping and sliding out the mouth. Be there when the tears, the rage, the confusion, the torment, all of it, come crashing down.

1. FIND THAT FRIEND
2. OPEN UP
3. POUR OUT YOUR HEART
4. BE HONEST
5. SLAM YOUR FIST ON THAT TABLE

And if you need a place to confess the craze, a person to talk about the cares with, this space is yours. Like a cafe, warm and dimly lit with the low hum of honest & raw conversations in the background: this space is yours.