I read more than the average woman.
At any given moment, I usually have 2 to 3 three books on the go and another 4 or 5 out from the library. Due to my voracious reading, I check books out from the library even if it means I have to read through other people’s crumbs and coffee stains. My bank account approves of my annual library card fee.
Most of the books I read are on things like leadership, business growth, communication, coaching, personal growth and other ‘sensible‘ topics. At the moment in my pile of active reads I have The One Thing, Fierce Conversations, The Good and Beautiful God, And The Mountains Echoed, The Divine Conspiracy and Talent is Never Enough.
Most of the time I enjoy learning but there are times I need to be whisked away into another world crafted by words, divine imagination and art.
And The Mountains Echoed.
One of my all time favorite books is Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. When his newest book finally made it through hundreds other Edmontonians’ hands via the Edmonton Public Library, I was enthralled.
I read while biking in the mornings at the YMCA, waiting for my husband in the car, doing dishes and even in bed until the giant hardback book hit me in the head as I fell asleep, exhausted from my day.
One of the characters in the book is extremely disfigured and in her struggle I found shades of myself. I found words for something I have battled with for years even though I am anything but physically disfigured.
I understood something that I had not that day in the kitchen arguing…I learned that the world didn’t see the inside of you, that it didn’t care a whit about the hopes and dreams, and sorrows, that lay masked by skin and bone. It was a simple, as absurd, and as cruel as that. … Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.
I remember all the times I tried to convince her to let me work on her face. This is who I am, she said to me. An insipid, unsatisfactory answer, I thought at the time. What did that even mean? I didn’t understand it. My offer to Thalia still stands to this day. I know she won’t take it. But I understand now. Because she was right – this is who she is. I cannot pretend to know what it must have been life to gaze at that face in the mirror each day, to take stock of its ghastly ruin and to summon the will to accept it. The mountainous strain of it, the effort, the patience. Her acceptance taking shape slowly, over years, like rocks of a beachside cliff sculpted by the pounding tides. It took the dog minutes to give Thalia her face, and a lifetime for her to mold it into an identity. She would not let me undo it all with my scalpel. It would be like inflicting a fresh wound over the old one.
(Pages 327 – 339)
Nearly every woman in the western world struggles or has struggled with thinking they are somehow ‘less than‘ due to how they look. No matter how they look. Many believe they are ugly and live up to their beliefs, discounting themselves and letting the lie of ‘ugly’ color their lives and dreams with disappointment, jealousy and shame.
- A valuable and life changing lesson.
Conquering the lie that beauty is merely an outside reality, a dress size, a chest to waist to hip ratio or pouty lips paired with giant eyes framed with incredible lashes has been a personal lesson, two decades in the making.
This is who I am.
Instead of recoiling from our bodies and living small, it is time to inhabit all of who we are and accept it. Love it. Care less about it and take more care of it.
- You are beautiful when you are you.
Be beautiful by living your whole life in full color without the shadows of shame, jealousy and disappointment because life is too short, quick and fleeting to not drink deep and live wide.