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I am a beautiful woman.
I am dark and light, moody and unpredictable, joyful and messy.
And I am beautiful.
I fill the room, and the room makes room for me.
I walk in with my head held high, but I will not hesitate to kneel down before a little child who looks up at me with fear in his eyes. I am the woman, the beautiful woman, who helps, who grasps his hand, who makes him feel safe and connected, who makes him feel like someone is in charge, someone is here to help—if only for a moment.
My eyes are as deep as choppy, rolling seas, and they are filled with all the wonders of the world, teeming with life.
And I am beautiful.
I am beautiful even as my eyes fill and flow and break free like levies, releasing, unable to contain the flood of tears because feeling everything—big and small—is what I do. I carry everything inside. A winding, changing river of tears inside my soul; tears of joy, resentment, jealousy. Tears of remorse, sadness, triumph. Tears of wanting more.
I am battered, but I am beautiful. I’ve been “knocked down a peg,” but I am beautiful, still. I do not need your permission to be who I am.
My legs are sturdy, and steady, and laden with pink spider veins. They are rough and prickly too, but they are mine and they keep me moving; they push me along on my steady, sturdy way, like scissors on paper, like turbines generating power. That powerful wind you feel is me, and I am as beautiful as my strong, healthy legs.
My heart, it breaks with disappointment and rejection and feelings of inadequacy, and it pines for ships that have already sailed, ships that aren’t coming back. But still, I am a beautiful, searching woman.
I am beautiful in my anger, too. When I rage and the skies open, when I thunder and roll, when I strike like lightning, when life and circumstances make me huff and puff, I am beautiful. Anger, for both right and righteous reasons, is not ugly. It propels change, which is beautiful.
And I am beautiful.
My arms are strong, so strong they can lift a car and cuddle a newborn at the same time. They can hug a college freshman who looks like she’s about to break, and carry bags and bags of groceries in one trip from the car. They can transfer and fold mountains of laundry like nobody’s business in this big and daunting world, and I am beautiful even when my arms hurt from all they hold.
My throat, my mouth, my deposit box—where I’ve stuffed down secrets and shame and stories untold—is a well-used and abused vessel. It’s a bit too big sometimes, a bit too bold, and not always loved for what it spits out, but there it stays, just the same.
Still, I am beautiful.
My hair is dry and my roots are gray, and I am beautiful because of my age, not despite it. I am sexy because of my sags and my bags, because of my creases and rolls, and yes, I still crave your desire for me, and no, I am not innocent. I want that wanton side of myself, the one I show you sometimes, the one that can’t be tamed. I want that swelling storm of passion mixed with truth, and I am indeed beautiful, because I am not afraid to let myself go.
I can hit a curve ball with my eyes closed. I’ve seen that pitch before, and I am trying to be better, and do better, and do more. I am trying in my steadfast way to be kinder and more patient. I am trying to surface and be present, and inhale and exhale and simply get through the damn day, most days. I am trying to be selfless, but that is not always the case, and I am beautiful despite my selfishness.
I am beautiful just the same.
I am a beautiful woman because I have the capacity to love, even when I love imperfectly. I can love the whole damn, dirty world in a day. And I can recognize when my emotions, my despondency, my hard-core feelings of unfairness are pushing their way to the forefront, clamoring for attention, trying to take over. And I can stand up for myself and push them back down.
I can want more. I give myself permission to ask for more, because what else is there when wanting more for myself is no longer a priority?
I am a woman—a phenomenal, vibrant woman. I breathe, I walk, I cry, I fear, I climb. I shout from the summit and I raise my arms up high. I love, I stand with you, and I stand alone.
I give birth to life, and I am beautiful.
Beautiful from head to toe.