Thursday, May 1, 2008

How I was taught so see beautiful

Outer beauty that is...

Of course, I was taught that who you are on the inside and how you treat people is way more important than looks, but I was also trained my whole life to love every aspect of myself and I was taught to appreciate the beauty of others. I've tried a few times in the last week to write about how this happened, but the words just aren't doing it justice. So I've decided to make a list. I hope that when you read this you take away more than just a checklist, but maybe the meaning behind all of the activities together. This lesson, this insight, that my parents gave me is probably what I'm most thankful for. Food, a roof, an education... they are all greatly appreciated too, but THIS gift, the ability to see beauty in all its forms has molded how I see life, how I see myself and most importantly how I LIVE my life. Thanks Mom and Dad! I only hope that by raising my children the same way, I can show you how blessed I am to have such thoughtful and beautiful parents.

Sincerity. When my parents looked us in the eyes and told us we were beautiful they meant it. Not cute, or pretty or handsome...Beautiful!

Beauty of the mind. My Dad read the paper every day of my childhood. When I was old enough he would clip articles and bring them home in his lunchbox. I would read them and then we'd talk about them over dinner. I loved hearing my family talk about world issues, civil rights, and our community. I loved the way my parents looked at me when I made a good point in a debate.

Age of beauty. My mother always wanted to work with the more experienced generation and I think she taught us to see the beauty of their life experiences through her eyes. We had neighbors, Ken and Carol, who were older than my grandparents and would invite me over for tea and cheese crackers. I LOVED it. I remember the look on my Grandmother's face when my Mom and Aunt fixed her hair and makeup. I can still hear my Dad telling my Grandma how beautiful she looked and the sound of her giggling.

Beauty of love. Watching my Dad kiss my Mom's neck when he thought no one was looking. Seeing my parents laying on the sofa with my Dad's hand on my Mom's tummy, the womb that housed me and my twin brothers. My Mom freshening up for my Dad every day, even after 30+ years of marriage.

Confidence. My parents showed me how to be confident by living their lives that way. My Dad has never been thin in my lifetime, but that never stopped him from living his life with us. He didn't stop to think about what others thought at the pool or beach. He didn't hold back in sports because he wasn't as fit as the other dads. My Dad walked proud because he was.

Reality. Growing up, my brothers and I were taught that beauty comes in many forms: intelligence, kindness, wisdom, love, confidence, and physical beauty. I think that if my parents wouldn't have taught us that the world judges people on their appearance. it would have been a huge injustice. People are judged on physical appearance. Not fair, but true. When I was old enough to recognize this injustice, I confronted my parent with it.

"Crisa, it's important to present yourself in a way that opens the door for people to see your inner beauty."

To me this meant that I should groom myself and dedicate some time to my physical appearance. NOT all of my time, but by allotting some time to my physical self I was telling others that I was confident, and I did consider myself worthy of the time.

Beauty is something that is in the eye of the beholder, but that also means that YOU are able to mold your idea of beauty when you look in the mirror. I think it's important to love who you are... all of you.

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