I felt inadequate growing up; chubby, never pretty enough, bent on perfection, feeling like I always needed to be better. As a result, I spent a long, long time looking in the mirror, never seeing someone I liked.
Then one day all of that changed when I met for the first time a beautiful, passionate, and confident woman – myself …
It was a hot summer day and my daughter Jessica wanted to go swimming. I had a horrible headache and was feeling sorry for myself, having not yet lost the weight from my last pregnancy, eight months before. I was on mommy overload and had no energy left to go outside and play. I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
After an hour of Jessica begging me to at least try on my bathing suit, I agreed to take her swimming. She sat on my bed, watching me try on two or three old bathing suits.
“That one’s beautiful,” she said, so sincerely.
“Oh no, this one is still a little too tight,” I replied, turning to look at the back of my thighs and then back to my paunchy stomach hanging over the seam. I was horrified.
“I like that one the best!” Jessie said, nodding her head for added enthusiasm.
“Yeah, I guess it looks okay,” I said halfheartedly.
“But how does it feeeeel, Mommy?” she asked.
I smiled at her attempts.
“Well, it feels pretty good. Let’s go swim.”
We ran out the back door and Jessica immediately jumped into the pool, begging me to jump in after her. But I like to go in the slow way, so I began inching my way in, toe first, then my ankle.
“Jump in Mommy!” Jessica squealed.
I was so hot, and knowing that I would have to start dinner soon, I figured, what the heck, and cannonballed into the water. Jessie was delighted that I hadn’t followed my normal routine, and she swam over to me splashing and kicking. She gave me a big hug.
“How do you feel?” she squealed again.
“Cold,” I stammered, laughing and trying to catch my breath.
Jessica giggled and splashed around me some more, then threw her little arms around my neck.
“How do you feel now?” she asked.
“I feel great” I said with the enthusiasm I knew she was waiting to hear in my voice.
“See Mommy?” she said, smoothing my hair away from my face. “You do look beautiful.”
I climbed out of the pool and cannonballed in all over again. But this time, I left the old me standing behind on the deck – the me I never wanted Jessica to know. I felt young and happy again, cutting loose in the water with a new freedom …
I caught a glimpse of the way Jessica saw me, and I understood how awful she’d feel if she knew how bad I felt about myself.
Source | Marlo Thomas, Bruce Kluger, The Right Words at the Right Time Volume 2: Your Turn,
(Atria, 2007) pages 114-117
It is said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Beauty is not inherent in anything – it’s how we look at things.
Beauty isn’t always something that you see; it’s also something that you do and that you feel – laughing out loud, dancing with gusto, holding hands with someone you love, reaching your goals, running through the sprinklers, taking chances, loving completely, singing along with the car radio, sharing your life with someone, knowing your kids think you’re funny, and cannonballing into a pool.
These things are beautiful. They make you feel beautiful. Beautiful is not an adjective, but a verb.