Beauty in Contradiction

Beauty in Contradiction

Beauty in Contradiction and Facing Insecurities

I committed to facing Big Scary Things for the rest of my life – whatever shape or size. Squirm.

I was deep into it – the war against an aging house and a recent mouse invasion. For a few weeks now they’ve been taunting me. Frolicking in my broken basement during the night hours, leaving “surprises” behind to make sure I didn’t miss them. Solo home ownership and maintenance has been quite an experience, testing my make and providing great material for a future career in comedy. There is nothing sexy about it. In fact, in general my life lacks a presence of romance or glamour.

I received a message from a friend asking me to be part of a photo shoot she had planned for her online boutique. My first thought was explosive laughter. I questioned the intended recipient of this invitation…perhaps her wires were crossed? She had total confidence in me when I had very little. I had every excuse in the book why it wasn’t a good idea, but none of them were of substance.

I wanted to help her out. I really did. It’s just that this pesky quirk of insecurity likes to linger. It likes to sneak in when I’m least expecting it, when unanticipated new challenges come my way.

I spend my days in clothes that don’t sell my spirit. Many of them are old, more are from the clearance section, and most are stretchy. I admire those with ‘style’ and I appreciate the creativity and expression they exude. Mine just gets blocked somewhere along the way between vision and execution.

I admit that I struggle once in a while with the idea of fashion and beauty and what it means in our culture. I think in my hesitance to embrace it, understand it fully, or perhaps wrongly trying to over understand it, I’ve repelled it a bit. Creating some sort of false assumption that depth isn’t represented or compatible with fancy. That’s silly, really. I believe it to be an extension of creativity to many. Art: an expression of self. Not mutually exclusive. I think it’s not black and white. Most things in life aren’t. It’s common, I think, to repel things that we don’t fully understand, casting judgment – as unaware of doing so as we may be.

Connection is my language. Attention makes me tremble. I’m good one-on-one or in small groups chatting life on a couch. I can pour thoughts on paper or into a keyboard, but the center of attention-ness that comes with standing in front of a lens is a different kind of vulnerable for me. There is a one-way lack of exchange that makes me uncomfortable. I also have the Chandler Complex with cameras, which any Friends fans will appreciate. The anticipation makes me cartoony. I’ve made friends with my words, my experiences, and my soul, and sharing myself in that manner has brought many rich relationships my way. Perhaps it’s was the actual “lens” displaying the physical insecurities that holds the greatest fear for me, showing me what I would most like to avoid. I’ve shared here once before, my episode with the nose suitor uprooting my greatest insecurity, so there was that, too.

Clearly there was more to be embraced.

I arrived at the swankiest hotel downtown with my children in a big, kid-raided Suburban – stuffed with backpacks, dollies, rock collections, art tossed freely about, and snacks crushed in the floor mats. The cute young boys in valet must have had quite the joy ride in that one.

The theme here is contradiction.

There were beautiful outfits arranged and waiting for me, and the photographer was on her way up. I slipped into the bathroom and just stared at myself in the mirror for a minute – half stripped – wondering how the heck I got here. I took a deep breathe, shook hands with my flaws, and decided it was time to toss aside the fear that would likely hold me back from living in this moment.

When I stepped out of the dressing room, my babes looked at me with saucer eyes, most likely in disbelief that I was indeed their mama. And showered. My children think I’m beautiful with morning breath, smeared eyeliner and bedhead. To see myself through their eyes in a new way felt special. They followed us around the hotel through the shoot wide-eyed with quiet smiles and giddy bodies. They were my brave. I loved watching their expressions as we walked through this adventurous night together.

I was invited far outside of my comfort zone that evening, right on to the observation deck of a high-rise overlooking city lights. I felt pampered – something that I hardly recognize. My dear friends made me feel capable and beautiful. They encouraged me, guided me, and laughed with me. I left deeply inspired by this dynamic duo – a small team bringing BIG dreams to life, allowing no boundaries to remain in place in their vision for growing this business.

The ride home felt like the descent from a roller coaster’s largest hill. I felt free and insanely alive because I faced fears and moved past personal hurdles. My babes and I blasted the music with the windows down on the interstate, singing and chatting all the way home.

If we could exfoliate away the weight of superficial expectations or self-critique and get to the good stuff – the stuff we’re REALLY made of and intended to share – we’d see beauty magnified and spirits on fire. The reflection in the mirror would begin to take a new shape. Like exfoliation, this practice needs to be repeated over and over again until we shine. If we could shed the “less-than” and proudly wear the “just-right” we’d all be stunning together.

My dear friend layered frosting on what she already saw inside. And she helped reveal both kinds of beauty to me in the process. She gifted me with a feeling of acceptance, coming into my own – just a bit deeper than before – knowing that I am who I am and there are many ways to be just that – so many ways to shine. There are great gifts waiting for us when we are ready to go there, and there’s no better time to arrive.

If you’d like to support an extraordinary boutique born in the beautiful mind of the woman and mother I call my friend, and see this photo shoot on display, please visit her shop at… 

Beauty in Contradition




  1. I’ll say it again

  2. Beautiful inside and out miss J!!!

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