This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beautiful Inside and Out

I wrote the following for a contest.  I thought the contest called for a 700 word essay.  Then I went to submit it and found I'd totally read the rules wrong and the limit was for 500 characters.  I wrongly interpreted this to mean 500 characters with spaces, but no.  Essentially I wrote an essay when they wanted a couple "tweets."  Well, whatever.  At least I got this nice essay out of it.  The subject is "A time when you felt beautiful inside and out."

I felt most beautiful at the end of one life and the beginning of the next.  Ten years of increasing self-reliance set the stage for what I had been referring to as my “butterfly moment,” when I would come out of the hard working cocoon I was wrapped up in and reveal my  wings.  In this proverbial cocoon I was working on myself.  For too many years I had thought of my body as the enemy and of “myself,” somehow a separate entity, as deserving of happiness.  I wanted happiness to be a more stable thing in my life and I knew I had to learn to fold my body into that equation.  I did many things to progress toward this reality.  I relocated myself to a more naturally intact environment, in order to tease myself out of doors and do the things I’d never trusted my body to do before.  I learned about food and how what I put in my mouth impacts everything I do, think, and feel.  I learned about my likes and dislikes so that I could better adorn myself in loveliness.  I took more risks, I spoke more surely, I grew and grew toward the strong and vibrant woman I knew lived inside of me. 

All this worked wonders.  I had a rich ten years.  And then?  Then I felt ready to settle down with someone.  I felt capable of sharing the strength inside of me, and the vibrancy I so cherished.     

Also, those wings I’d been waiting on, that I mentioned earlier, were still wrapped around me.  I needed to return to something I’d had earlier in my journey toward self-love and the thing was actually a place.  I needed a place that more closely resembled the one that helped me feel adventurous previously.  Along with a lasting love, I needed the balance of the authentic outdoors to ground me.  I was sure that my wings would stay tightly wrapped around me until I set myself down in a place like that.  My request to the universe was a big one, I wanted true love and I wanted a true home.  Thankfully, amazingly, my requests were both answered at once. 

So now we come to the ending of the one life and the beginning of the next.  It was love.  It was my man, Hadj, who turned up somewhat surprisingly and took the beauty inside of me, that I had been gathering and protecting and savoring, and rooted it.  We fell in love.  It was a sometimes crazy romance that left us both feet of the ground and reeling in currents.  The exciting energy of a new relationship was something I had experienced before, but I felt there was a deeper reality at the bottom of this iteration. 

Of all the amazing things this love has done for my life, one of the earliest impacts was that Hadj taught me to actively stop thinking meanly about myself.  Eight months after we began living together, I was out walking one sunny morning.  I was barely three months pregnant and I was feeling quite good, wearing a long sun dress and a new spring grin.  At one point, I noticed a man checking me out as he approached on the sidewalk.  I felt shy noticing this.  I felt like I didn’t particularly want to be looked at right then, and then, I heard Hadj in my head.  He reminded me: you are beautiful.  That man is only appreciating your gorgeousness!  Smile at him! Let him share in your beauty!  And I smiled.  And I laughed! And I had that spring in my step as I walked on by, knowing my beauty inside and out.

One last thing, I have yet to explain how I got a two for one prize from the universe.  Yes, Hadj is the someone I was wanting.  Yes, my new life as a wife and mother is the  most perfect challenge I’ve ever experienced.  And, Hadj and I now live in the home he had when we met.  That’s the bonus prize.  It’s across the old Western frontier from my original Chicago home in the piney shadows of Western Washington state.  


Maria the Cat said...

Lovely. i think we are on parallel paths. thanks for the reminders and sharing. we've gotta meet soon.

ShanaRose said...

Are you planning on wandering the W. Washington way, Ms. Cat? I love meeting people on the path!