Dear Beautiful Women

I randomly came across this short essay in my digital journal about beauty. It was written nearly 4 years ago, yet it still makes sense to me today. I'm sure I meant to post it at some point, but like so many of my words, I kept it to myself. Today I choose to share it in hopes that it reaches you when you need it most.  Dear Beautiful Women,

I've felt self-conscious lately. Vacillating between extremes. Both aware and oblivious of my own beauty, the kind that shines from the inside out.

When I'm listening to the voice in my head, the voice of knowledge, the voice that was born from all of the lies I've accumulated over the past 26 years, I feel ugly. I feel judged. I feel that I will never be good enough.

When I'm listening to the voice of my true self, my highest self, I find a deep knowing that I was born perfect and will always be perfect. My so-called flaws are not flaws, it is only my perception that is flawed.

Once upon a time, my aunt wanted a nose job. She is gorgeous, my aunt. As a child, innocent and pure, I was unaware of the societal consensus that a nose must be inconspicuous and perfectly curved, not too straight or too bent, to be beautiful. I could not understand what was wrong with her nose.

Can we agree that all noses are miraculous? As babies, we use our noses to seek out our mother's breast. As we grow into children, scents have the unparalleled power to invoke emotions and memories. As adults, our noses lead us to pleasure as we inhale the scent of our lover, to relaxation as we relish in the soothing properties of a lavender sachet, and to love as we bury our noses against the head of a newborn baby.

Now in her early fifties, my aunt says, "you spend the first half of your life wishing things were different, and the second half of your life wishing everything would stay the same." She never did get a nose job.

I want to know: what does the size of our nose matter? Or the straightness of our teeth? Or the perkiness of our breasts? If we can smell the sweetness of a rose and chew the fruit of the earth and nurse the children of our womb, why are we complaining? Why are we wasting energy when we could be celebrating the miracle of life?

The voice of knowledge, the snake in the Garden of Eden, the fallen angel -- they are around every corner. In magazines, on TV, on the internet, in movies, on billboards, in windows, in parents, in friends, in spouses, in children. Everywhere. The web of lies is thick, and it's growing every day, with so many people busy at work, adding their own intricate layer of false convictions and lies of imperfection.

The truth, however, will always set us free. No matter how detailed the lies have become, the truth is always underneath. If you stop believing in the lies, they will fall away like dead rose petals because they've lost the life force behind them: you.

My Dear Beautiful Women, I've heard your cries. You believe you aren't good enough. You have wrinkles. Your nose is too big. Your teeth are too crooked. Your hair is too curly. Your skin is too pale. Your thighs are too big. Your breasts are too small. Your waist is too thick. Your arms are too chubby. I won't even get started with the deeper insecurities, except for to say that you are never doing enough for your career or your children or your partner or your self.

What if we knew these were lies? What if we believed ourselves to be perfect right now as is? Your highest self knows the truth, can you hear her? Her voice is smaller than a whisper at first, but she gets louder when you learn how to tune out the other voices, the ones spouting lies.

Let the truth set you free. Let your beauty shine from the inside out. Next time you look in the mirror, allow yourself to see perfection.

I will, too.

All my love,

Lucy

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Unintentional Love Notes

It's all bittersweet. Time marches along and our babies get bigger and eventually they will leave us. Strangely enough, we want for them to leave us. We want them to be somewhat like us, adults with purpose and intent and independence.

Leo Babauta wrote a post on his lovely blog Zen Habits about the messes his (six) kids leave around the house and how he, as a neat freak, stays sane by viewing the legos on the floor and the cookie crumbs on the counter as unintentional love notes.

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Some love notes from my sweet GiGi.

I adopted this mentality for laundry a couple years ago and it has helped immensely. My little family makes a helluva lotta laundry. Giovanna changes (and dirties) her clothes multiple times per day. Skyla poops on her clothes multiple times per day. James washes his clothes after every use. Add Emile, as mothers of little boys everywhere know, produces the dirtiest, stinkiest laundry.

But when Emile isn't home, when he's at his other home, my laundry pile decreases. And believe it or not, this makes me nostalgic. When James is traveling as he often does, the pile is even smaller. And while I appreciate the reprieve, I'd take the laundry over the absence of laundry any day.

I don't like chores. I don't like cleaning. I don't like doing dishes. But I enjoy the end result. The clear surfaces, the sparkly counters, the zen vibrations from a clean home, the calm before the storm. A clean home tricks me into thinking I've got everything together in life, that I'm the kind of person who does her taxes early instead of late, who regularly edits her wardrobe instead of hanging onto clothes for sentimental reasons, and who never makes impulse purchases.

This is not me.

I'm working on letting go of these idealisms. These pictures in my head of the woman I want to be. Serene and polished. A woman who conquers life (and life's messes) and looks good while doing it. A woman who moves her body daily and showers daily and eats local. A woman who writes without succumbing to distractions or inhibitions. A woman who loves without fear.

Though I believe in the value of these aspirations, I do not believe that achieving this ideal picture is the purpose of life.

Picasso said: "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."

Alas, it must be more important that I sit down to do my work rather than clean my kitchen or put the toys away or wash my hair.

Maybe it's not important that I have everything together. Is that possible?

Maybe my drawers are disorganized and that's okay.

Maybe my eyebrows are overgrown but I'm still beautiful.

Maybe my bed is rarely made but I am not a slob.

Maybe my computer memory is stuffed to its limit but my own memory is not.

Maybe I haven't practiced yoga for a few days but my body is happy anyways.

Maybe I haven't lost all the baby weight but I am healthy anyways.

Maybe I wasted too much time on Instagram/Facebook this week but I made some meaningful connections.

Maybe Giovanna and Emile make messes everywhere all the time but they're actually leaving me unintentional love notes.

Someday those love notes will slow and stop and I will miss the messes. Like I said, it's all bittersweet, another all-encompassing paradoxical truth to embrace.

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To read more of my musings on motherhood, mindfulness and the creative life, please follow my blog or subscribe via feedburner.

My Evil Twin on Mamalode

Have you heard of Mamalode? The CEO of BlogHer called it "america's best parenting magazine." I call it nourishment for my mama soul. According to their website, they give us "the truth and each other." Which I love. We are all truth seekers, no? Searching for the truest path to walk upon, the truest version of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. Because nothing feels as good and right as truth.

I revealed my own significant bit of truth yesterday when Mamalode published my essay, My Evil Twin, an honest look at my struggles as a mother. Here's a snippet:

Since I blog about mindfulness and parenting and my quest to be a better person, people out there think I'm a good mother. Perhaps above average. But the truth is that I am just as fallible as anybody. I blog about mothering because I want to learn and internalize life lessons as I gather them. Writing is a certain catharsis. Publicly sharing my struggles and my epiphanies keeps me accountable.

I'd love for you to check it out and share with your friends if it resonates. No one should have to feel alone in their struggles because truthfully none of us are.