One morning, as I began to wash my face, rubbing the dark blue washcloth in concentric circles, I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I began with my forehead, looked down past my slightly pug nose to my full lips and took myself in wholly, from the neck up.
I don’t often scrutinize my face as if I’m searching for something lurking just under the surface. On that day, I discovered a long hair dangling from my chin. That one hair caused me to give my countenance a thorough once-over. As I looked closely, I said to myself, “Valerie, you’re beautiful.” I rarely say things like this to myself out loud, but I do often think them within the safe confines of my thoughts.
These were not the ramblings of a narcissistic middle-aged woman admiring herself, but rather an affirmation from a woman who has manifested her inner confidence to her outer aura. Beauty, as the saying goes, is in the eye of the beholder. However, my ‘beautiful’ has little to do with the façade and everything to do with the intrinsic qualities coursing within my being. I saw beauty when I gazed into my own eyes and was greeted with self-assurance. That beauty right there—the beauty of my heart and soul—is what put a smile on my face.
I am an intelligent, articulate and caring woman. I like to believe I’m graceful, creative and witty. Tenacious, giving and enterprising are words that not only others could use to describe me, but I would go so far as to say the same about myself. There is no shame in this. I am who I am.
As a midlife woman, I’m comfortable in my own skin and I feel phenomenally blessed to be at this stage in my life. While serendipity may have played a small role, culminating in the woman I’ve become, sage (and sometimes flat-out dumb) decisions, the spirit of endurance and strength of character put me on the path that led me to me. With few regrets, I love and respect the woman that I am, and I would love to see more women feel the same way about themselves.
The simple truth is this: we are who we are. As women, we cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the eyes of others. We are the beholders. If we look only as far as our eyes can see, we will likely only reach as far as our arms will allow. We need to reach beyond that. We need to delve deeper than that. We should love ourselves, accept ourselves, embrace ourselves, celebrate ourselves.
Your beautiful is different from my beautiful. As you live your wonderful life, bask in your beautiful…however you define it.