Self Expression Magazine

What Makes Me Feel Beautiful

Posted on the 30 September 2013 by Kcsaling009 @kcsaling
New Year's (c) KC Saling, 2007

New Year’s (c) KC Saling, 2007

Think about the times you felt beautiful. What made you feel that way?

You might be surprised. The things that make you feel the most beautiful are not always the things you expect.

For instance, I love this picture my sister took when she was visiting me out in Hawaii back in the last days of 2007. The girl in this picture is 27 years old. She’s wearing brand new Size 2 jeans and Gucci heels, standing on the brand new flooring she just put into the townhouse she owns, and did we mention she’s going to a fabulous party with a ton of friends and her visiting sister to show everyone a grand old time, and, oh, they’re in Hawaii? Looking at this picture always makes me feel beautiful.

You’re probably saying, “What the hell, KC? Have you sold out? Wouldn’t all those things make anyone feel beautiful? I thought you were all about honesty and now you’re telling me that being skinny and young make you feel beautiful?”

If you’re not saying that, I should hope you’d say that to me if I ever fed you a lie like that!

The things that make you feel beautiful are not always the things you see.

Re-read the first paragraph.  Remember that this picture makes me feel beautiful now.

Why would that be? I’m definitely not fitting into a Size 2 right now, the Gucci heels have long been donated or sold, I stopped bleaching my hair so it’s not blonde, and while I’m in that townhouse right now, the flooring isn’t new anymore and that brand new couch is now pretty beat-up from being moved every 1-2 years, and the whole place is in need of a whole lotta love. Why would looking at what once was make me feel beautiful?

I have never felt beautiful because of any way I’ve looked. And while I’ve felt beautiful, I’ve never felt like I looked beautiful. And I don’t even feel like that matters. Show me half a dozen so-called beautiful actresses, and I can find a dozen things wrong with their appearances, but I’ll tell you also that the things that make them beautiful have nothing to do with how they look. Think of the way they act and move, the way they steal the stage or a scene, the gravity of presence. It’s not in the looks.

So what about the girl in the picture?

The girl in the picture is 27 years old, and she’s been divorced for three years. At this point, she’s been through a number of dating sprees, failed attempts at relationships, and a few things that were good enough to make her believe again, and while it hasn’t been successful, she come to the realization that 1) love exists, and 2) she can wait for it. This is the point where she starts to value herself again.

The girl in the picture is 27 years old and was stripped of most of her finances during that same divorce, paying for lawyers, paying to move out of her house, paying to replace things that were stolen. However, she put everything back together enough to pay off her truck, buy her house, and fill it with furniture. It may not be the fanciest thing, it may not be decorated in a way worth featuring in a magazine, but it’s her stuff in her house and that’s not too shabby.

The girl in the picture is 27 years old and is wearing a Size 2. A year and a half before, she was crying on the phone to her mother because the Size 12 jeans she had were getting too tight. With all the stress of a hard first deployment coupled with that same damn divorce, food became a coping mechanism and reawakened a lot of other problems she had with food that she thought she had dealt with. Not so. But thanks to a lot of family support, a good exercise plan, healthier living, and {no joke} Jenny Craig, she took control. And she learned that even if she didn’t want to live in that size, it was possible to get there, that she had the control.

The girl in the picture is 27 years old and living in Hawaii because that was where she wanted to be, because she felt free enough to go on an adventure. She started traveling internationally, with friends and with family and solo, and filled her house with things she brought back from far off places, and filled her walls with pictures of great adventures.

And what about now?

The girl in the picture is now five years older and five years wiser. She believed and she found love, and they had an amazing wedding that still astounds her when she looks at the pictures.

She still has her stuff in her house, and she’s working with her husband to make it into that place worth featuring in a magazine.

She has a job she loves, that family support, a good exercise plan, and loves gourmet food a little too much to make it back into that Size 2, but she ran two half-marathons in the last twelve months and fits in a Size 6 these days, and she knows exactly what she needs to do to fit into that Size 2 if it ever becomes more important than gourmet food.

She’s living in Hawaii because that’s where she wants to be, and she still loves going on adventures with her adventurous husband, and they’re filling the house with things they’ve discovered in far off places, and filling the Facebook walls with pictures of great adventures.

She may not look like the girl in the picture, but she’s still got all the things that make her feel beautiful.

Linking up with Betsy at Betsy Transatlantically – pop over there for more thoughts on what makes us feel beautiful.

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Forbidden City (c) KC Saling, 2008

Forbidden City (c) KC Saling, 2008

Speaking of beautiful, I just want to pause a moment to wish a fabulously happy birthday to my travel buddy, partner in crime, best friend, and sister, Karen! Our birthdays are back to back but three years apart, and now it’s her turn to celebrate the start of another wonderful year of amazing accomplishments. If you ever wanted to meet a beautiful person, confident enough to capture a room, exuberant enough to charm anyone into a smile, and with a million megawatt smile of her own, it’s my sister. I am so incredibly proud of everything she’s done as a professor of public relations, as a researcher, as a professional, and as a sister and can’t wait to see what cool things she comes up with for this next year!

Happy birthday, sis!


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