Skin Deep

Yes, I’m talking about beauty and how do we define it?  This has been on my mind lately and I have no idea how to answer that question.  If asked to describe a beautiful sunset or beach or bluebonnet most people would probably have a similar response, but when it comes to human beauty it’s likely that everybody’s definition is different.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t see beauty reflected.  I see a set of features – my brown eyes, olive skin, short brown (and graying) hair, a pierced nose, crooked smile, a little extra meat on my bones, a few tattoos…  And I would describe my style as ‘plain city hippie’ meaning I spend most of my days without make-up and in jeans, t-shirts, and Birkenstocks.  This about sums up the physical me; the one you would see at the grocery store, Half-Price Books, or Starbucks.  Now I am making a conscious effort to see beyond the surface Hope when I look in the mirror. After peeling back the veils or mayas of clothing and then that of my physical self, what’s there?  Here is where I see the seedlings of beauty I’ve cultivated and am continuing to nurture.  I see the loyal me: the one who fiercely loves her family, friends, and cat (ChiChi!).  The strong me: the one who has survived the death of a parent, BFF, divorces, cross-country moves, solo trips across India and who gets shit done. The sensitive me: the one who loves nature, who would give her right arm if she could remedy her students’ learning disabilities, and who has armored her heart to protect it from further harm.  The vulnerable me: the one who is widening the cracks in said armor, the one who reveals her fears and insecurities, and the one who is learning to cry without shame.

At the end of a yoga class we say ‘namaste’ which loosely translates to: the divine in me honors and reflects the divine in you.  Isn’t the divine in any form essentially beautiful?  

So I’m not glitzy or glam. I don’t turn heads when I walk into a room. On the outside I’m solidly average. But, reading through what I know to be below the surface – the features of the inner Hope – I am proud and I think I just may be beautiful.  

Oh, and I’ve always been a hippie. TexasYogini at age 5:


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