My name is Michelle and I am beautiful. There I said it.
Photo Credit: Sarah Grace Photography
Now, I’m not saying that I am ready to model for H&M or any model for that matter. (Although in jr. high my eyebrows were mistaken for Brooke Shields.) Well, I’m no model. My Norwegian build wasn’t meant for that. It was meant for bearing babies and working hard and that makes me happy.
Secret: Skinny doesn’t equal beautiful, perfect hair and makeup doesn’t equal beautiful, heck physical perfection doesn’t equal beautiful.
This is a hard secret to share because of all the voices shouting out in opposition.
My mom was the first women to whisper the truth about my beauty. Most moms tell their daughters they are beautiful when they are children. So what happens to us? As children we are confident and we know that we are all sorts of wonderful. Then suddenly, almost at once, we lose sight of who we are. Well, I know what happens. Two words: Jr. High. Luckily, I was blessed with a mom who always saw me for who I was even during the awkwardness of Jr. high. I always knew that my mom was never judging my outside appearance. She would always tell us, “Awkward is a protection.” Don’t get me wrong, my mom wasn’t passive. She definitely judged me and my sisters, but with a much higher standard. We were judged on kindness to everyone (even the mean girl in third period), compassion to those who needed it (the lanky boy who was never asked to dance) and grace in defeat (even when I knew I worked harder on my science project than Thomas did).
The whispers of one is barely audible amidst the shouts of the world telling us to stop focusing on who we are and screams to focus on what we are.
My Grammy joined the ranks of beautiful. At every turn, she would tell me how beautiful I was. I remember visiting her after softball practice. With dirt on my face and dust in my hair, I was sure I was anything but beautiful. Sure enough, I was greeted with “Well, Michelle. You look beautiful!” Back then I brushed her proclamations aside thinking “Oh, Grammy”, but now, looking back, I can see that she understood who I was and whose I was. (E. Dalton) She saw past the dirt and dust and saw that I was working on becoming someone. She saw my beautiful. She knew I was a daughter of God and no amount of dirt or messy hair could change that.
My Grandma Jo joined the whispers, well she never really did whisper, it was more of a hushed talk. She didn’t make proclamations about my beauty, that wasn’t her style. She was a cowgirl, an english and drama teacher and a tough old bird. She saved her kind words for when she really meant it. Mostly, she used her experience to mold us into good, hardworking people. Her standards were high and the only reward was her subtle smile of approval, which we only saw when we had worked or practiced really hard. She saw who we could become and made sure we didn’t forget that we were meant to be somebody.
My life has been blessed with many real, beautiful women. My sisters, my teachers, my friends, many who have come into my life when I have needed them most. If you have women like this in your life, start listening to them. They have better vision than you do. If you don’t have women like this, find them. Send me an email if you have to, because I will tell you. These women are out there. Don’t be surprised if they seem ordinary at first glance. Look a little harder and you will begin to notice something different, you will begin to notice something happy and you will begin to notice something, well, beautiful.
There is a quiet confidence in their smile that whispers, “I know who I am. I know who you are and you are beautiful.” These are the women and friends you want to have. If there are friends who are telling you, whether vocally or implied, that you aren’t enough, they aren’t your friends and they aren’t helping you. Find those who will. They are out there and they are worth finding.
The shouts of the world are yelling that there are no more beautiful people. “Beautiful” is dead, they say, and has been replaced by “Hot” and “Sexy”.
This is a lie.
I know too many beautiful people to believe that one. So, my dear photography friends, this is where you come in. I want to turn up the volume on the whispers. I want to shout to the world that “beauty is as beauty does” as my Grammy used to say. I want to shine a light on the good, the kind and the beautiful. Will you help me? Will you join me in Reviving Beautiful?
Here’s what you need to do:
-find someone who is truly beautiful
-offer them a free session to tell their story
-submit your pictures and your story to be featured on Beauty Revived.
-have you already offered someone you know that is truly beautiful a free session? Great submit it now, like right now!
Want to really be a part of the Revive Beautiful club? Write a blog post like the one above, “My name is _______ and I am Beautiful”. Let us know after you have written the article and we will let you in to our exclusive Facebook group.