Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Beautiful Like Me

"I am not beautiful like you; I am beautiful like me." (Joydrop)

When I first saw the challenge to create a self-portrait that included these lyrics, I cringed. I am one of the self-critical who will never feel beautiful because my features will never conform to current societal standards. I have worked for years to accept my body type (strong and muscular, when the ideal is tall and slender) and to be satisfied with my looks, from broad forehead to strong jaw. Still, to have to write something linking me to beauty is a challenge. It would be easier to use the quote and ignore the journaling requirement of the challenge, but I know the introspection is good for me, so I set up the camera and think about what makes me uniquely beautiful.
I know people think that I am creative and talented. Others see me as persistent and intense. A few envision me as compassionate and sweet. I've been told I am inspiring. (I haven't quite figured that one out.) I know I am a good teacher with a dry sense of humor, but does that make me beautiful? What defines beauty anyway? I know Psalm 139 by heart, and I've taught on God's standard of beauty, so I know the "right" answers, but that doesn't necessarily mean I feel beautiful on a regular basis.

As I created the easy part of the artwork, I thought about the journaling. Finally I decided to look at the picture carefully and write what I saw. I look pretty good for my age, but I think it is less my features (which are about the same as they've always been) than it is my spirit revealed in my eyes and smile. I am strong. I am positive. I am passionate and intense. Those are the things that make me look the way I do. And in that sense, that makes me beautiful-not like anyone else, but like me.

1 comment:

Cynthia Powell said...

Stephanie-You are a beautiful woman with a beautiful soul that shines through your eyes. I don't see the things that you do in your face, but we are our own worse critics. Be gentle with yourself-you have beautifully sculpted features, a radiant smile, sparkling eyes, round rosy cheeks, little ears and fabulous laugh lines! :-D