Friday 19 October 2012

Beautifully Different...... Yes all of us women

Before I say too much, have a watch of this video. It was made by a friend of mine and has no sales or charity angle.  This is just about you, as a woman.... go on, it is 3 minutes of your life that you won't regret...

I only watched this video yesterday for the first time but it had an effect on me straight away.  It is truly awesome (said in my best American accent).

Last week I was in Ethiopia and our official trip photographer was Karen Walrond, wife (to an English man), Mom, blogger, author, public speaker and all round amazing lady.  This woman oozes confidence and beauty and is a perfect ambassador for her philosophy that 'what makes us different makes us beautiful'. Look at that stunning smile, you can imagine what a wicked sense of humour she has.  She was one of the first people to greet Jen and I as we arrived in Addis Ababa and there could have been no-one better as instantly we were hugged and welcomed.

I did not come to a full realisation until last week what an issue I have with the way I look.  Since having Bells Palsy in 2006 I hate my smile in photos, all I see is an asymmetrical smile and I never feel happy with it.  Karen does not see that and I need to learn to see myself as she does. This lady knows that every face tells a unique and fascinating story.

A couple of times last week I recall thinking about the gorgeous smiles of the women we met in Ethiopia, women that might have been in the sex trade, that could have known true hunger or that have so many facial lines from working hard in the harsh sunlight all their lives.  But I did not look at them and think they were ugly or anything else derogatory, I just saw their joy and happiness and the way that translated into their smiles and faces. I saw beauty.

I really loved the fact that they had no vanity and did not worry what the photos might come out like.

I need to take a leaf from their book, I need my joy to translate to my face, so there is something for me to work on, less vanity and more enjoyment of life.  To the right is a picture that Karen took of me and I need to embrace that photo and see the beauty in it don't I? If I'm completely honest what I see right now is double chins, an eye that does not open properly on the right and the asymmetrical smile. So many occasions last week people said to me 'smile Michelle' and that was my smile. I've obviously got used to masking.

It was a real eye opener when a number of the women I travelled with felt the need to affirm me and comment on how I was beautiful or compassionate or the owner of a unique voice. It sure did make me realise that I disrespect myself a fair amount.  I need to stop putting me down and start being my number one champion!

I once wrote a post called I am Beautiful - I think I'll go and re-read that now.  It might be very helpful.

Yes indeed I am sure it will, I truly had no idea that this was even an issue for me, let alone one that has made me sit here and cry as I write this. I could make a flip comment now and put it down to tiredness and time of the month but actually I need to accept this is an issue for me and I need to work on that.

What about you?  What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Image Credit for picture of Karen Walrond: Maile Wilson
Image credit for picture of me:  Karen Walrond

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