You Say I’m Beautiful & So I Am. ~ Dena Brehm

Via elephant journal
on Apr 30, 2013
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As a woman, I’m a product of this culture that promotes both youth and beauty, as the highest of values for women.

Impossible-to-achieve standards, that even top models cannot compete with—they, themselves, cannot compare to their own images.

I succumbed to this pressure, to be loved, due to perfect-beauty, as an 18-year-old. I was bulimic until I was 39. A slave to a false standards that nearly destroyed me, in trying to achieve and maintain it.

I received healing then but the pressure to be beautiful, continued.

I’m a late bloomer.

I didn’t feel comfortable in my skin, and blossom, until I came into my sexual peak, in my early 40s. Finally, I felt and therefore looked, beautiful, from the inside-out. I have my moments, of course. I am 51, bore eight children, survived divorce, and rejection, and heartbreak, and aging—all the ravages that come with life.

And yet, I see my beauty.

One evening, I felt this poem well up within me. I wrote it out, no, it gushed out of me, in about 20 minutes. I realized that it had to be read, out loud. I did it nakedly as that best manifested the raw vulnerability with which I exposed my soul, to the camera and therefore to others.

And so, I dare to share my bareness so that it may perhaps be a catalyst for others to also see their own beauty.


Shalom and Namaste.



Dena BrehmDena Brehm is a lifelong seeker of truth. Previously stuck in Christian fundamentalism (where, first they took out the fun, then they took out the mental, so all she was left with was “duh”). Dena has questioned everything, including her own questions, for the past decade. Mother/mentor/model to eight off-sprung-ones, for whom she demonstrates, messily and out loud, how to follow their bliss. Artist, actor, writer, poet, dancer, yard-saler, dumpster-diver and soul-explorer. Dena has only begun to delve.

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Asst. Ed.: ShaMecha Simms/Kate Bartolotta


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59 Responses to “You Say I’m Beautiful & So I Am. ~ Dena Brehm”

  1. Sunshine says:

    You are so very beautiful 🙂

  2. Melissa says:

    EXQUISITE!!! I have no other words except that you moved me…thank you, love!

  3. What an honor to be able to share myself in a publication that I've come to rely upon for my daily nourishment!

  4. Laura Mars says:

    Unadulterated visceral womanhood, todays woman, unashamed, unapologetic, uber reality, ultimately refreshing.

  5. deepak says:

    so beautiful and touching….great…

  6. Eliot says:

    I say you're beautiful Dena, and you are. Very, truly. All the best my friend. <3

  7. Patrick says:

    Keep writing ,…. As it is written!. Congrats!

  8. Marianne says:

    Dena, thanks for sharing your heart. As always, true, open and vulnerable. And beautiful.

  9. Monica says:

    thank you! so beautiful and experienced as a energetic transmission for me…thank you for that healing.

  10. Carolyn says:

    Dena I love your reading this poem. I feel so much in your words. YES- you are beautiful.

  11. Brian Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Dena. No, it's not just women who feel this lack of beauty by comparison. Your inspiration will help women and men, boys and girls.


  12. Roslyn says:

    You have me thinking of barriers and blockages that i too have felt with relation to my own strength, core and beauty. Thank you for sharing your gorgeous heart <3

    Blessed be !

  13. Delana says:

    Thanks for your words

  14. Jon McGlothlin says:

    Vulnerable strength and beauty? A touching expose of self actualization!
    You say your beautiful? I say poignantly so…much love Dena. Thank you

  15. Caitlin says:

    This is gorgeous. YOU are gorgeous.

  16. Nanci-jean says:

    Wow!!! Beautiful!!! Everything I am also feeling as a woman and as a person.

  17. Kristine Wolf says:

    Brilliant!! Written by a woman who can create diamonds in her soul!! You are a beautiful Goddess Miss Dena!!

  18. Congratulations to my friend Dena Lynn …. who is an accomplished scribe, for this wonderful news …. I have read it and she deserves that and more. Namaste ±

  19. Jacklyn says:

    Thank you for expressing what I also feel but could not express in such a heart-felt way! You ARE beautiful! Jacklyn

  20. Rita Marshall says:

    Dena – this is remarkable. You speak for so many of us! Thank you for having the courage to express this so eloquently. <3 Much Love

  21. Cindy Hughes says:

    Dena, just WOW!! I love this…I had tears in my eyes as I listened…you are beautiful, inside and outside! Thank you

  22. <3 Thank you … it's all still new to me, to feel beautiful … there might be another article in the making about the odd feelings of guilt, fear and confusion that arises from others saying so …! 🙂

    For now, I smile, and thank you from my heart.

  23. THAT is my soul's mission … to speak my truth, as it arises, and for that to touch the life of another.

    Your movement moves me! 🙂

  24. Thank you for the honor, Deepak.

  25. 🙂 I feel that, Eliot. Thank you for seeing me.

  26. It's that which MUST come out of me! I may implode or explode otherwise, and we just can't have *that* mess! 😉

    Ahhhhh, what manner of world might we have, if everyone followed their bliss, and lived out their heart-song?

  27. (((Marianne))) talk about knowing me WHEN! 🙂

    Thank you for the incredible role you've played in my life — thank you for seeing me when I could NOT.

  28. Oh! Yes … what I love to hear … that something I experienced and shared was able to impact another. <3

  29. (((Carolyn))) I stand in awe of this – how we humans touch one another.

  30. YES!!! I ache for the hearts of men, who have also suffered under this patriarchal realm … we have overburdened men, and metaphorically-decapitated women … and we are all longing for release, and the freedom to be who we came here to be!

    Comparison … measuring my insides to the outsides of others … and always, ALL ways coming up short. And there are no lovely parting gifts for that!

  31. Ahhhhh, (((Roslyn))) … music to my ears!

  32. I am honored that my words could convey my heart, and inspire others.

  33. Oh, Jon! You saw me from the start, didn't you? Beyond the veneer. Thank you!

  34. Big-fat smile on this face — THANK you, Caitlin!

  35. yes-yes-yes!!! What I feed on! To convey the deeper stuff, up and OUT, and across to others who feel the same!

  36. I love that I've graduated from pearls to diamonds! 😉 (((Kristine)))

  37. And thank YOU, Mr. Borsellino, for taking a chance on an invisible woman on Facebook … for encouraging me to write and express and expose, that which was lying dormant within me! Namaste! _(*)_

  38. That is my joy, Jacklyn!! That is why I came here, into this life … to live, to feel, to express. You are beautiful, TOO!

  39. I got catapulted into this courage … it was, and often continues to be, an excruciating path (word chosen intentionally) … but I am doing what I can't not do. Thank you for honoring me with your time, and your words.

  40. John Stibbs says:

    I have seen Dena's beauty too. She radiates it from within just like she says. All she articulates in that beautiful poem I know to be true of her and representative of so many other women out there. Dena's very insightful poem reflects almost word for word things i have said over the years, the real beauty is from within, the torture of comparing and despising oneself for not being perfect…I've watched this video a few times and each time it brings me to tears…wisdom born of pain to borrow a phrase from a 70's women's anthem…An incredibly authentic and brave thing to do…much love to you Dena and all the hearts you will touch

  41. Angelique says:

    Dena Lynn, you are beautiful inside and out. I love the courage you show to dare to define yourself and to hold your own self love above the love or approval of others so that they too may be free. How wonderful you recognize that what others love about you isn't what they think, rather it is what you reflect back to them about themselves. You are like the moon, reflecting the light of the sun. <3

  42. Michael Collum says:

    Awesome! Def on my list of things to share and re-share.

  43. Lynnet McKenzie says:

    Gorgeous, brave, sweet, tender… Love it!

  44. Angelique says:

    Dena Lynn, you aren't a poet, you are a POWet and what you write is POWetry…raw, sensual, real, and powerfully feminine! From the heart straight to the gut! Love it! <3

  45. bonnie gayle says:

    Thank you for this AWESOME article and a beautiful poem to express…

  46. Verna says:

    Dena, truly beautiful!

  47. KristinSLuce says:

    Beautiful. Thank you! I love the nakedness too — feels perfect for this!

  48. Raven O'Gillian says:

    Dena, when I grow up, I want to be just like you. Author! Author!…more, more…don't stop…whatever you do, don't stop. Everyday I wait to see what flows from you. And I'm never disappointed. Fly, baby, fly…

  49. denabrehm says:

    YES!!! I ache for the hearts of men, who have also suffered under this patriarchal realm … we have overburdened men, and metaphorically-decapitated women … and we are all longing for release, and the freedom to be who we came here to be!

  50. denabrehm says:

    (((John))) thank you … for seeing me, for being my friend, for loving me.