When I saw this prompt early this morning, I instantly loved and hated it. I knew I needed to write it, but I haven't particularly been looking forward to it today because... well, I am still learning to be able to see my own beauty, and I also feel very self-conscious about the line between self-confidence and boasting. I have always tended to err on the side of silence just to be safe.
I could go off about how frustrated I am that our society skews how women perceive themselves, and how they think about beauty, and how important it is to embrace the beauty in yourself... but I would be avoiding if I did that.
I am different. I am different because I am the youngest. I always have been. I started college when I was 14, moved away from home at 16 to transfer to a university. I graduated when I was 19 and entered the workforce, also getting married just before turning 20. I started my own business when I was 20. I became a mother when I was 21. In every social circle I have been part of since I was a teenager, I have been the youngest. I sometimes hate even telling anyone this because I don't feel that it is particularly brag-worthy. I think it was more a matter of working the system than of extreme intelligence. I am different because I understand. I understand pain and heartbreak, depression, abandonment and the deepest hurts. I have experienced them. I carry the scars. And I hope that in my understanding can help others, that maybe these experiences were not in vain. I am different because I see beauty in everything. My optimism has survived all I have encountered in my life. Or maybe, it is that I choose to seek the good, the light, in people. I believe that seeing the beauty in this world, and sharing it with others, is my gift and my calling. I believe that it can change things. I am different because I am introspective. I take a while to get comfortable with new people, and am frequently awkward in the meantime. I think more clearly than I speak. I say and do awkward things when I'm nervous. I laugh too much, especially when I'm even the least bit nervous. Yes, I am introspective. Crowds wear me out, and I need alone time to recover from them. I need self-reflection time in order to feel balanced. But I love people. I am thankful for my friends and my family, more than I can even say, and I care about them deeply.
Telling you I'm different is easy. I have always felt different from everyone else. I have been acutely aware of my differentness for as long as I can remember. As a child I never felt like "one of" the other kids. My physical appearance, my shyness, not being able to afford cool clothes, not being allowed to do some things they did... I could write a book about about my differentness.
The harder thing for me to say to you is the one I need to accept. It is the thing that is most important for me to voice.
I am beautiful.
My unconventional timing in life has allowed me to be where I am today, right now- which is exactly where I am supposed to be. That is beautiful. The negative things I've experienced- the hurt, the scars- have shaped who I am. They have made me stronger. I can relate to a lot of different people, from many different walks of life. I feel compassion toward people who are suffering in a deeper way than I would if I'd never experienced these things. And that is beautiful too. My introspected nature is beautiful, because it causes me to think and observe more. My awkwardness is even beautiful- because it keeps me humble, and it puts people at ease. It can even have a comedic quality at times, and (thank goodness) my husband finds it sexy. :)
And it is true after all-- that which makes me different, is also what makes me beautiful.