A simple enough seeming request. "Upload 3 pictures of you... ONLY you. Then tag more gorgeous women to do the same. Build yourself up, and build others up, instead of tearing you and others down! Share the beauty!!! I tagged you because I think you are beautiful!!!"
I look through my pictures, and I don't find any pictures of only me that I am comfortable putting out there as beautiful. I keep thinking, someday, I will be a beautiful old woman with all my wisdom carved into my face. Someday.
I wasn't a beautiful child. I was chubby and too tall. My hair always had a mind of it's own, my nose was too big. And in every picture, my eyes squinched against the sun.
And I stayed always too tall. I was always in the back row. I was lanky and awkward. The cute cloths of my peers never fit right, with jeans too short, or not coming in sizes that went around my wide hips and drooped on my flat butt.
In adulthood I slowly grew heavier and heavier. I gained glasses on top of all my other shortcomings.
And I know I should see beauty in my face. I see a beautiful joy in my eyes, but those are not in pictures of only me. Those are me, caught of guard, with someone I love with all my heart. Never just me.
There is that voice in side of me that knows that it is just an over critical voice. I don't meet my own expectations. I know there are people who look at me in love, and see beauty. I have tried, but I just don't see it. It isn't right, but it is true, I do not think I am ever beautiful to look at.
I accept that this isn't right. We just went through a whole election process and I swear to you I think as much time was spent talking about the candidates looks as was spent on their policies, views, or experience. We live in a proliferation of cameras and selfies happening on every corner.
So, I will not be showing you my beauty, but I will tell you three things I feel are truly beautiful about me:
I have a tender heart. Even after all the reasons I have had to become hard and bitter, I still tend to think the best of people and love them more than they know.
I have a generous spirit. If I had the means, I would be giving gifts all the time. If you came to me right now, my friend, and said you needed something I have, I would most likely hand it to you without regret.
And I have an empathetic spirit. I feel so strongly with people. Sometimes when I back away it is because I have been overloaded with the feelings of those around me. When I say that I feel you, I really do.
So yes, I am beautiful, but not in the ways that a camera can see. But I also admit that I am blinded by my own cultural context. So if you are a friend who sees pictures of me, and you see beauty, I would really love to try to see myself through your eyes, I admit, mine have been a little blinded.