i remember heidi telling me about a conversation she was having on a mother-daughter weekend with her sweet mom, among other mothers and daughters. they were sipping glasses of wine and started listing some of the things that were disconcerting to them about themselves.
we women (and men) have all done it. we are sitting smack in the middle of a society that puts great value on appearance and youth, rather than the wrinkles of wisdom, the not-perfect-shape of having children and nurturing families, the heart-showing-on-our-face that has learned great empathy through the years, the grey hair of hard work and compassion. and so we complain about the obvious changes we are going through.
i have looked in the mirror numerous times and thought, “wait! hold on! that is NOT how i look!” followed closely by, thinking, “it must be the lighting! good grief, why do they use these dreadful florescent lights? where are the soft white light bulbs? what about indirect lighting?! haven’t they invented soft focus mirrors yet?? umm, i prefer my photos over-exposed, thankyouverymuch.” we are hard on ourselves. understatement.
instead of recognizing the beauty, the light in our eyes, the smile lines on our faces, the brow of concern, we list to the negative. we do not look like the photoshopped version in the magazine; we cannot measure up to the three-or-four-decades-younger version of even ourselves. life changes us. why is it so easy to minimize ourselves and so difficult not to maximize what those changes have brought?
heidi’s mom interrupted the conversation. she gently stopped the flowing list of self-deprecating complaints. and she said, “you will never be more beautiful than you are right now.”
we passed this spray-painted graffiti in chicago. i grabbed the phone out of my purse and tried to quickly capture it. my finger blurred part of the image and i ruminated after on how i had ruined the photo. and then i realized that no, indeed i had not ruined it. for that blurry flaw in the photo would remind me (much better than were it not to be there) that we were walking fast down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, trying to capture the photo inbetween lots of traffic, laughing and excitedly on our way to see The Boy. that blurred sixth of the photo – a photo that was not perfect – would remind me of that day, imprinting in my life right then, the reminder timely and empowering.
you are beautiful. right now.