Saturday, May 3, 2008

Skin Deep

Yesterday,I spent the day at an event organized by the agency I work for. Every year we go to a camp and invite the people we serve to enjoy a day of fun and community.People from about nine counties joined us in enjoying kickboxing, music, art, gardening and animals. I came home from a long yet wonderful day and with aching feet, knees and hips I wanted to just sit and be for a while. I picked up my Mom's copy of People magazine to glance at the 100 most "beautiful" people. The magazines pages were covered from front to back with shiny pages of sparkly people. I saw faces shellacked, airbrushed, sliced and injected, I saw people covered in expensive clothes with expensive haircuts and makeup artists standing in the wings. Our society seems to be obsessed with Hollywood beauty and lifestyle these days.

Before you begin to think I'm being all "high and mighty" keep in mind that I profess myself to be a princess. For those of you who do not know me it is important to know that I shellac my face with the best of them and I love my heels and designer labels. I was raised to believe that appearances are important, I have never been able to rid myself of the idea that I must always look my best, because this is how people judge. While this belief is heavily ingrained as a part of how I see myself, I choose not to look at others this way.

Beauty is so much more than the faces smiling from within a magazine or on the television. We must remember that really, none of that is real. Hell, I'm not real. I walk around with my hair died red, a pair of spanks on to suck in the gut, and so much makeup on my face I need a chisel to remove it! But I am aware that none of this what makes me or anyone else beautiful.Real beauty is within my children's smiles. Beauty is watching my son doing something kind when he thinks no one is watching. Real beauty was all around me yesterday as I watched hundreds of people helping one another, enjoying community, and sharing in a day about ability rather than disability.

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, in every package imaginable, real beauty is what we do and who we are, not what we wear and how well we walk in heels. Beauty really does come from within and as corny as it sounds, I have seen people who are deemed so "attractive" by society that they become models, yet they are the ugliest person within, and it begins to show through, turning the external into what it really is. And I have known people who were judged to be "ugly" or "misshapen" by their families and community, and yet there is a light of love, hope, courage and sincerity that shines through to even the most cynical eye and reveals true beauty. When we connect to other people and really see them we can be endowed with visions of true beauty that once revealed will never again be hidden.

For those of you who see the boring, typical idea of beauty and let it somehow define how you see your own exterior, I beg you, look in the mirror again and see your fabulousness! Then work it! You are more beautiful than you know and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

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