She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
If it were up to me, I'd only wear makeup on special occasions. But it's not up to me. I'm in a business where being "put together" is part of my job. And I like my job, so I'll wear makeup every day. There's nothing wrong at all with wearing makeup, and there's nothing wrong with getting dressed up and feeling like a million bucks. But underneath all that - YOU are worth more than all the money in the world- more than all the gold, diamonds, and rubies.
That doesn't mean that I feel any less pretty when I'm in makeup-less, sweat pants-donned state. Am I pretty? I don't know. That's completely subjective and based on other's opinions. And frankly, I don't care what those opinions are. That's none of my business.
But I feel pretty. And you should too. Not because of my hair, or my makeup, or my clothes- but I feel pretty because I was created by God, in his image, and I feel special because, just like every other human on this earth, I'm unique. That's something I wish every woman and every girl felt. I feel pretty because I try to be kind to others. I feel pretty when I make others feel special. I feel pretty when I set out to accomplish something that feels a little out of my comfort zone. I feel beautiful when I'm in nature, staring at a flowing waterfall or on top of a mountain. And I feel beautiful when I'm smack dab in the middle of helping others.
But recently I've had hateful words spewed at me. I'm not alone in this. I can only imagine that every other girl and woman in America have, at one point or another, been subjected to cruel judgements based on an unnecessarily large focus on outward beauty. Recently I've been told my hair is "ugly, unfixed, out of style, out timey, outdated." I've been told my clothes are suited for someone older than me. I can only imagine the pain and hurt that comes from the same place inside the woman who said these comments to me.
And that's not all. Last night, a friend of mine told me in my pictures where I am serving in Haiti, I look "haggard, tired." These are moments when I feel most beautiful, most alive.
There comments don't cut me very deep. But they are troublesome because I know there are other girls out there who haven't come to the realization yet that true beauty comes from within, that even the most beautiful person in the world will have detractors, that beauty fades, but character doesn't.
And I think these comments also reflect a part of society that is very dark. A part that only sees value in women's looks, not in their heart.
I don't want other women to face these comments. I don't want my sister, my mother or grandmothers, my cousins, my niece, my aunts, my friends to be subjected to this - let's call it like it is it - this bull crap. So it you read this post and are at all in agreement, maybe give a kind word to a friend. Compliment them on something that's within. Some beauty inside a person that doesn't fade with age.
Last year I interviewed Jennifer Pharr Davis, who set the record for the fastest thru hike of the Appalachian Trail and these words have stuck with me ever since:
"The trail made me feel very beautiful - and the reality was, I was very, very dirty. But I felt like I was a part of God's Creation and Creation was beautiful, and my interactions with other people - if I was kind, that made me feel pretty. Once you hike over 2,000 miles, your self worth is based on what you can do as opposed to how you look."