Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Redefining Beauty

A couple weeks ago I went shopping with my mom and made the mistake of trying on swimsuits for the first time in 2 years. (Reese was born last year at the very beginning of summer, so I was still hiding under t-shirts and basketball shorts for the entire swimsuit season). "Disappointed" is a huge understatement in describing how I felt in that dressing room mirror. There were things sagging and bulging in places that never sagged or bulged before. I tried on one suit after another, each one covering more skin than the one before it. I left the store empty handed and sad. Later that day, I made the 90 mile drive home and spent most of the way thinking about my self-image.

It would be impossible for me to fully express my feelings without admitting that I struggle with vanity. Before I got pregnant with Reese, I thought I was hot stuff. (This is a picture of me 3 summers ago on our honeymoon). At the time, being pretty was the most important thing to me. I'm ashamed to say that at one time I truly believed that I would rather be pretty than smart; that I would give up my degrees before I would give up my looks. Now that I'm on this soul-searching journey, it pains me to think about how much of a struggle this has been for me. How is it possible that I can value my shell so much more than my core?

I think pregnancy was the humbling experience I desperately needed. It has forced me to redefine what it means to be beautiful; to look at beauty in a deeper, more mature way. It has forced me to be proud of my body for different reasons. I grew a human being inside me, gave birth to her, and nursed her for nine months. I am proud of that and I am proud of myself as a mother, a wife, a friend, and a person. Motherhood hasn't made me less beautiful. It has made me more beautiful. (This is me last summer in Missouri, sporting my maternity pants and holding the little person who made every wardrobe adjustment well worth the change).

That day at Kohl's I wasn't looking for the right kind of beauty. I was looking for shallow-hearted, narrow-minded, society-driven beauty. And in doing that, I forgot about all of the other things that make me a beautiful person - all of the beautiful things about my core that I would never trade for a perfect shell. I needed to stop trying to look beautiful and start trying to be beautiful. And I'm slowly learning that changing that one tiny word is what redefining beauty is all about.

4 comments:

  1. Motherhood often redefines us in so many ways we never even would have thought about had it not been for such a complex gift of becoming a mother. Beautiful post, Lisa.

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  2. Love this Lisa! You are beautiful and I'm blessed to know You!

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  3. There are few ugly people in this world, of course I am talking about true beings-their soul!

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  4. Lisa, I love this and I am sharing it with my best friend, who needs to read this. Your blog is so fun to read :)

    --Kristen (DeBellis)

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