Story by Sandy Cates
Have you ever heard this one? Pretty is as pretty does, or beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone? Well, we all have, and it used to make me want to scream! When you are a young girl, and all the world is judging you by the way you look, you tend to hide a bit from the scrutiny.
I thought that was grossly unfair, for all this talk of beauty within, I just wanted it without. Looking in the mirror, I would judge every flaw and try to cover all the imperfections. The day I found makeup, was a pivotal day for me.
And so became my obsession with the canvas of my face. I did have an artistic bent, and this was my way of expressing myself. On to the day with Cover Girl! The irony of that name fully noticed by me.
Never would I leave the house without my “face” on. I envied Jane Jetson for her space age, go through the machine, daily routine. So quickly was she ready to make an appearance. I would agonize for an hour or so. Checking mirrors and downtown plate glass windows, to make sure I was presentable. Nothing out of place to make me stand out and reap a rejection. What was going on in my head that made me so acutely aware of me? Conscious of myself, self-consciousness, shyness. All terms that speak of the outward residing so completely on the inside. How many years did it take for you to be comfortable in your own skin? The freedom I imagined it to bring was heady.
In my 20’s I met an older woman who became a “mother” to me. She was such a beauty! Even with all the lines of life and the crinkles around her eyes. I loved that dear woman. She had this youthful giggle and always a smile playing at the edge of her lips. She had lived and suffered and loved and now became my mentor. When I confided my obsession with having to look perfect all the time, including the hating of my picture taken, or a glance of my reflection, which always made me think, is that really me? She responded with this.
“Sandy, when you look in the mirror, from now on, I want you to say out loud to yourself, ‘Thank you God, for the gift of beauty'”.
Oooookay I said, thinking to myself, where did she come up with this stuff? But, wonder of wonders I listened to her. She always gave such good advice, and she had a good track record with me, so why not? Even though I felt so foolish talking to myself in the mirror!
Over the course of time, a transformation occurred. It was so slight, it was not noticed till the work was done. One day while getting ready, I just looked at myself and thought, you know, I accept you! I cannot pick you apart anymore! My skin became my home, not just a house. It was the nicest feeling I have ever had. To be comfortable with me.
A wonderful freedom came to me that day, one I have had to keep up with, since I am a “home” owner now. The within became the without and it was good! As I became less aware of my imperfections, less conscious of myself, I became more fully me. Now those phrases I always heard and hated became the truth. I believe I was lit from within during this transformation time. People even came up to me and said, “There’s something different about you”. Now there was the proof of the pudding!
I like the me I am now, granted, I have my days. But I accept who God made me to be. In loving myself, I can truly and openly love others in my life better. This was no selfish act, it was the most loving thing I could do. God doesn’t make junk.
Thank you “mom” for helping me to look like my Father!
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12,13