As a child, I‘ve always felt “beautiful.” I am the baby of my family and growing up my family friends and relatives referred to me as “la plus belle.” Meaning, the most beautiful in french. These things never made me infatuated with myself or with my looks but they did do one thing.. make me feel special.
In middle school I went through the “awkward stage”. The high-watered pants, the high pony-tail that sat on top of my head (that my best friend loves to make funny references about), the taunting that I endured due to my dark skin, and the strong French accident that I tried so hard to shake. Yet, I still felt beautiful.
In high school, I was super shy, but for the first time ever, I came out of my shell. I was full of life, I had an amazing sense of humor, I was liked, but most importantly to me at the time, boys found me beautiful. As a young women the desire to be wanted and liked equated to how beautiful I was.. I felt beautiful.
Then all of a sudden.. I didn’t feel beautiful.
I didn’t have my family and family friends constantly reminding me that I was “la plus belle”, I didn’t have the reassurance from the opposite sex reminding me of how beautiful I looked or the reassurance of my friends reminding me of how amusing I was.
One evening, after a period of hesitation, I finally hung out with someone who I knew lusted after me. Once I arrived, I sat in his apartment and without beating around the bush, I asked him, “Why did you want to hang out?” he replied, “because I find you beautiful.” That was the first time that words weren’t enough to make me feel beautiful.. I left.
One afternoon as I walked through my college campus it began to drizzle. Five minutes later an unusual amount of downpour that made my socks disgustingly wet made me grateful that I decided to carry my umbrella that morning. As I reached my destination, I spotted a woman walking in the opposite direction than I was. What shocked me was that she had no umbrella, no jacket, and from what it seemed like, no sense of direction. I approached her and placed my umbrella over both of our heads as I asked her where she was headed. She told me that she was a freshman heading to her dorm. I understood that was a 10 minute direction from our location which translated into a 15 minute walk considering the heavy rain and a 15 minute walk back. Yet, I was still inclined to walk her home.
Finally, we reached her destination and the appreciative lady thanked me for my beautiful soul.
It dawned on me that outer beauty is a temporary gift. What will happen to our self-esteem when we don’t hear affirmations from others? What will happen when we age and we lose our outer beauty?
The most everlasting gift we can give to ourselves is inner beauty. We may be unable to see the inner beauty in others but isn’t it amazing how we can “feel” these things? A person with inner beauty always touches those around them. Your inner beauty is your untarnished truth. In fact, it is the purest expression of beauty that the soul has to offer.
So when you see the warm and hypnotic glow that radiates from my face please understand it has everything to do with the magical ember that burns deep within my soul.