I’m not one of the gifted few who can say she loves the way she looks in photographs. Good deeds and a kind heart cannot be measured in the flash of a bulb or an Instagram filter and, therefore, I tend to not see the good in my own image.

I value the ideas I have to share and the love I have to give. I believe I am talented and intelligent and strong, but beautiful? That’s hard for me to accept.

IMG_3651Like many people, I’ve battled with self-image several times throughout my life. Sometimes the negative thoughts happen more frequently than others, other times I go for days without cutting myself down to size.

This image was taken over a year ago on the day of my first half marathon. I finished the race in 2:00:10 and raised almost $900 for the American Cancer Society in honor of my grandmother, who died from colorectal cancer 1 year prior to that date.

This picture is one of the proudest moments of my life. Or was…

Last year, a colleague of mine saw this picture and replied, with a gasp, “God – you look like a man!”

This comment, added to the usual barrage of “you’re going to die alone” humor that my male colleagues thought was hysterical, had sent me plummeting into a night of Joni Mitchell / Neil Young-listening, peanut butter cracker and chocolate-eating, red wine-drinking, crying-yourself-to-sleep despair.

I became ashamed of the way I looked – the muscles in my arms, a thin, angular face, no makeup, hair pulled back. I became ashamed of who I was. All of my fears of not being pretty enough, delicate enough, feminine enough, dateable, lovable, girly, worthy….came into actuality. I felt like nothing worth loving and the furthest thing from beautiful I could ever feel.

Until I thought – fuck you. I look like a WOMAN. A strong, resilient, powerful, confident, beautiful woman and I refuse to let anyone take that away from me. How dare my male peers make me feel any less about myself because I don’t conform to their ideals of female beauty. THIS is beauty. THIS is strength. THIS is the face of someone who will never let you take away her self worth ever again. THIS is a woman.


Yesterday, while preparing for a small procedure on my wrist, I had discovered that the doctors had misinformation about me. 1) That I was married. I am not. 2) That I had a child earlier that year. I had not.

I became frustrated and angry, not only that the hospital wouldn’t have the proper information for me, but also the look I had received from both doctor and nurse when I, exasperated, said, “No, I did not have a kid. I’m also not married either. I do have a dog though, so things are not completely hopeless!” The Look. The Look that married, settled, people with 2.5 kids give single people. The Head Tilt. The Frown. The “It’s Okay, You’ll Find Somebody” Head Nod.

Again, the shame, the vulnerability, the aloneness sank in, becoming a real, tangible Monster of Doubt. The “maybe I deserve pity” thoughts crept in. The echos of “you’re gonna die alone,” circumnavigating my cranium. The thoughts of “you’re never going to find someone to share your pain or celebrations with” poked through walls of confidence and worth. I felt like nothing worth loving and the furthest thing from beautiful I could ever feel.

Until I thought – fuck you and your “pity the single” face. I plan on doing this right. I plan on doing this once. I plan on loving someone not because they’re faulted and I can make them better, but because we are whole and can only make each other better. How dare you tie my worth to that of another man’s last name or give me tired recitations of “maybe you’re too picky” or “when you’re not looking for it.” THIS is my life. THIS is how I choose to live it. THIS is the face of someone who will never let a man take away her self worth ever again. THIS is a single woman.

I’m not one of the gifted few who can say she loves the way she looks in photographs. Good deeds and a kind heart cannot be measured in the flash of a bulb or an Instagram filter and, therefore, I tend to not see the good in my own image.

I value the ideas I have to share and the love I have to give. I believe I am talented and intelligent and strong, but beautiful? That’s hard for me to accept.

For now.

Starting today, I am going to work on finding the beauty within myself. Knowing, accepting, and believing that a good heart and Love makes me beautiful and worthy of Love, Success, and Abundance.

I don’t love all of myself, yet. But I will.

3 thoughts on “The Beauty Within

  1. It takes a lot for me to comment on the blog of a person I don’t know. I came across your writings, I’ve read them all, have fallen into how easily and honestly your words flow and now refuse to let myself, a new reader, sit in silence on this note.

    Whether these colleagues were friends or just shitheads you worked with, they’re ability to allow that sort of comment regarding your looks slip so freely from their lips, shows less of what they think of you and more of what’s inside themselves. It reads nothing but ugly to me.

    I am someone who has struggled with self-image issues my entire life. From severe insecurity that left me shaking just having to walk past other students at school as a kid, due to my worry that they all thought I was ugly and were talking poorly about me, to a teenager into my 20s suffering with severe eating disorders, depression and self-harm as a way to deal with the damage caused by horrible things others had said about me. How they made me feel – worthless and ugly.

    The thing is, when I step out of myself, I am able to see someone who is not ugly at all. By others I am told quite the opposite, but all my life, people told me and led me to believe otherwise. And I did, I believed them, hated myself, hurt myself and you know what? FUCK THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS. They’re ugly, they’re worthless, they’e all pieces of shit. There really is no nice or eloquent way to say any of that because what their words molded me into for so long, was undeserved. What was a small, vulnerable child to do? I believed them, unfortunately.

    My point is, I know and I understand how you feel. But you mustn’t allow any of the comparisons or negative comments influence you any longer. I have days where it’s still hard, but I have even more days where I regret wasting so much of my time and energy allowing them to influence me and take away the love I should have always had for myself. Time I should have been loving myself for the good and wonderful gifts that I was given. You already know what’s inside yourself, a beautiful, caring, funny, extremely intelligent woman. Now see how all of that has manifested on the outside, coupled with your physical beauty and never let yourself be anything but in awe of the beauty you’ve been given. You are beautiful and this world has a love greater you can even image planned for you.

    1. Thank you, C, for both your kind words and your incredible courage and vulnerability. It is so hard to talk to yourself like a friend, even harder to love yourself like a friend. It’s a constant struggle, just like any other relationship. It takes a lot of strength to recognize that – and it appears to me that you are stronger than you could ever imagine for seeing in yourself not only a beautiful, special, human being, but also a friend. Thank you for speaking up… for me, yes, but, most importantly, for you. You have all of my love and prayers – on your good days and your bad. And yes, FUCK THEM! xoxo

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