Beauty Full

A friend recently challenged me to post three pictures that I feel beautiful in. Right now, my perception of beauty is so different than what it once was, and I decided to take her challenge, just to dive a little deeper into the perspective shift going on in my life right now.

I feel beautiful in this picture, taken when my son wasn’t quite one year old. The lawn in front of my tiny trailer was flooded with irrigation water. I was a stay-at-home mom full time, and I had two little kids in diapers. I took them out into the water and soaked up THAT MOMENT with them.
That moment wasn’t about my make-up or my hair or anything… it was about water and little children. It was about sun and gratitude. Every time I see this picture, I am in awe of my capabilities, my blessings. It is full of beauty to me.

I used to work hard for what I thought beauty was. I spent a lot of time in front of the mirror, and my emotions spiraled on the spoke of what others thoughts of me. If they thought I was pretty, I was.
It hurts to write that. It hurts because I know more now. I guess the older I get, the more I tap into the natural self-worth I had when I was three, strutting around the house in plastic beads and a diaper… never more sure that I WAS AMAZING.
The last few years have stripped some pride away (though not all) and I can say that I took some time yesterday to reflect on my beauty. Here’s a little honesty:
I don’t remember the last time I bought bonafide foundation. I bought some tinted moisturizer for my birthday in 2013.
I don’t remember the last time I bought face wash. or moisturizer. or acne cream. or walked into the aisle in the store filled with stuff for my face.

I went to get my hair done the same time I bought tinted moisturizer… in 2013.
The last time I splurged on clothes was at a thrift store. I spent $80 and had a new wardrobe. I tend to buy clothes that look good on me but won’t go out of style. If something doesn’t fit in that category, I don’t have time to mess with it because trends and I don’t understand each other. Like, AT ALL.

There was a time in my life -a very dark and scary time -when I let trends take over. It wasn’t the trends that were scary (although they kinda are), it was deep emotional pain and confusion. I employed An Obsession with Appearances as my main battle tool. I worked on my face, my body, my hair, my house… I tried to force my ideals of what beauty was into the trash bin and exchange them for what I saw in catalogs.
It was stifling.

One thing that makes me and you awesome is our stubborn unwillingness to BE STIFLED. After a few years in that place, I broke free. I stopped numbing the scary, dark pain with trying to COME ACROSS AS PERFECT and started melting down instead. I stopped asking the world what was beautiful and starting asking MYSELF what was beautiful.
Like Elsa built her ice castle, so did Alicia kick everyone out of her soul until she learned to love again.

That’s what I see in this picture… I see strength in a woman who is running to God and offering herself to Him, offering her family and flatly refusing to be stifled, to let darkness claim her.
I see her wearing clothes she’s had for years. I see her dressing her kids in Wal-Mart clothes and not stressing about the photo shoot because at this point, she’s learned how beautiful NATURAL and SIMPLE is. I can see my worth in this picture.
And the lighting… I see so much beauty in the lighting, and I’ve felt for some time now that God made The Sun JUST for me, for my family: to warm us and nourish us and let us know that HE IS THERE.

As I thought more about beauty and what it is to me, I realized that I found beauty in myself THAT DAY. So I flipped my phone’s camera around and snapped a picture in the moment.
Here’s my uneven skin that I LOVE. I find myself covering it less and less, proud in a way of the way it looks. The brown mask that popped up during my pregnancy with Alice and never quite left, the moles… my mom’s nose, my Dad’s mouth. My blue eyes that Alice wears around.
Everything on my face works well enough -my eyes are blind, but they work! My nose smells well. My ears selectively hear like CHAMPS. I can taste, talk! This incredible body does incredible things like BREATHE all by itself!

Sometimes I look in the mirror and sorta… fist pump over it all.
This is huge for me.

Part of my dark and scary pain was believing that I wasn’t quite enough in any area at all ever. Just a little MORE weight off. Just a little MORE eyeliner.
Just a little MORE healthy eating.

I would look at magazines and my head would register ALL AT ONCE that what I saw wasn’t real but that it was beautiful and I would never be able to access self-acceptance. I was a mess. I tried to earn my way out of it because when I earned, there was always MORE… and MORE was all I needed, right?
More praise, more money, more clothes, more.

I hated that I could see the lies in the magazines and ads but I still believed them. That was pain, right there.

Today I can honestly say that when I see photoshopped pictures, I’m turned off. I finally SEE the lies and believe them. The first time it happened, I cheered and smiled so big my face almost broke. So I bought chocolate and rolled my windows down. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y
When I finally came to know and understand I DIDN’T NEED MORE BECAUSE I WAS ENOUGH, the lies became clear.
I am enough, I have enough, what I have to offer is ENOUGH.

And yesterday I was sporting crazy hair -I’d gone to bed with wet hair from a hot bubble bath the night before. I braided it, woke up, unbraided it and BAM. Hair done. I put clothes on. I applied mascara and Bag Balm to my lips, and then I went out and LIVED without worrying about MYSELF AT ALL.
I played with my kids at the park. I talked with a good friend. I ate good food and soaked up good sun and ate the first corn dog I’ve had in YEARS (good job, Safeway, on your gluten free stock). I made root beer floats.
I held hands, took kisses. I washed dishes. I smiled at my house because I like my decorations which look nothing like anything you’d find in ANY catalog.

My husband came home and we shared some really amazing moments… moments I’ve come to treasure because they’re genuine -absolutely void of pretense.
I felt beautiful as he wrapped his tired arms around me, and he saw it. I see beauty in my every day, in the soul and body work I do.
After I’d spent a day working and mothering, I looked just like someone who had been working emotionally, physically and spiritually ALL DAY. He looked at me and said, “You are so, so beautiful.”

I believed it. Because I already knew it for myself.
Beauty not as the world and society gives… but beauty as GOD gives. I am His Daughter.
I am enough.
I have enough.
What I have to offer? ENOUGH.

I don’t need more. Not today.


  1. Again, I cry. Thank you.

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