And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Bold Proposal: Beauty

The concept of beauty seems to be coming up a lot lately. It is a concept that privately, I have delved into on numerous occasions. But today, I finally feel inspired to write about it publicly. The picture above was taken on December 30 in a bathroom at a vegan restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa (Super random, I know). Even though it has been several months, the words pop into my head frequently. See, beauty is a concept that we, as a society have royally screwed up. We have figuratively (and literally too...) ripped it apart, torn it to pieces, and then sutured it up into an unattainable ideal. Like the author of the quote above so courageously did, I too want to boldly propose a new definition of beauty.
Beauty is not a size or a number on a scale.
Beauty is about being healthy, taking leisurely walks and climbing stairs when the escalator is closer.
Beauty is doing yoga when you've been trained your whole life to compete and running a half-marathon when everyone (including yourself) thinks you can't.
Beauty is not what you eat or don't eat or throw up or spit out.
Beauty is savoring food you've never tried before, cooking meals with friends that you adore, and (sometimes) downing a whole pint of ice cream on the couch with tears streaming shamelessly down your face.
Beauty is not perfection. Or liposuction. Or plastic surgery. Or the never ending rat race to stay forever young.
Beauty is in laugh lines and wrinkles that possess multitudes of stories from years of adventure.
Beauty is in the scars on our skin and in each and every broken bone.
Beauty is in the creation of art-scrambled thoughts poured out in a journal, slightly asymmetrical clay bowls, and splatter-painted canvases.
Beauty is in chalk covered hands and ripped denim, in sweaty shin guards and retainers that give you a lisp.
Beauty is doing the hardest thing and the right thing all at the same time.
Beauty is having difficult (and oftentimes painful) conversations with people that you love so that you can both grow into better people.
Beauty is listening to people tell you things about yourself that you never wanted to hear and, instead of allowing those words to defeat you, allowing those words to sharpen you.
Beauty is about finding the courage to love every square inch of your body, whether or not that inch is what society so viciously labels pretty.
Beauty is in confidence, in taking pride in the way that God so meticulously made you to be.
Beauty is not limited to a descriptor of only an elite few (most of whom scrutinize and loathe their bodies even more than the rest of us).
Beauty is unique to each person.
Beauty surprises and allures, it confidently captures the attention of every human soul.
Beauty was never ever meant to be limited or rationed; it was never meant to be boxed in.
Beauty comes from ashes and radiates from every human being.
Beauty exists outside of the blinders we have all put on.
Beauty exists in you.
Beauty exists in me.

See, I write this post not just for other people. I write this post for myself. If I am being honest, I don't always think I am beautiful and this lack of confidence is not rooted in who I am, but in what I believe about how the world has defined beautiful. So in order to practice what I preach, here is a picture of me. Not perfect. Not photoshopped. Not super-model worthy. But. I believe that changing my perception of beauty starts with a simple declaration. I believe I am beautiful and I will see the beauty in the people all around me.
Copyright Jamie Gray
Peace and beauty.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing! Love this post. Read it to my 12 year old daughter and she lived it too! Thank you for sharing! -Myndi