I am Beautiful

Had a conversation yesterday with a young Caucasian male while on the plane. His childhood had been difficult but he managed to be doing well for himself. He was dating a girl from Pakistan and when he talked about her, his eyes lit up. I asked how her parents felt about their relationship. He told me something that broke my heart, angered me, and caused indignation all at the same time. Her parents didn’t approve of the relationship but the mom told her daughter, “You will never be as pretty as those white women.”

What? Who decided blonde and blue eyes were the epitome of beauty. When did the courts decide white skin was more attractive than brown? Can you not see how incredibly racist, dismissive, and demeaning this is to the majority of the world?

Listen society, you don’t get to tell me what is beautiful. It’s a lie that beauty is in the eye of beholder. No, BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BELOVED!

I am beautiful – brown skin, brown eyes, full lips.

My brown, thinning, graying hair tells a story of a woman of strength; a woman who started a 2nd career with three young children, went to graduate school while working a full-time job and a part-time job, and still managed to graduate with distinction (4.0 GPA) That’s beauty.

My full lips indicate I’m from a people who were dragged from their country, enslaved, beaten, yet managed to survive. Their lips were silenced but mine will not be. Lips that are gentle enough to reassure crying babies, yet strong enough to call out injustice. Lips that had to explain to a daughter why the sales clerk followed them in the store, and pretend to laugh when confronted with racism with three teenagers in the car. That’s beauty.

My sagging bosoms nursed three babies, and then comforted those babies when they cried.  Bosom that had to show the world, just because I was drawn nicely, doesn’t mean I’m not a woman of substance. Yes, I have bosoms and a brain. That’s beauty.

My widening midriff comes from carrying three babies in my womb. From eating food not so good for me because my people were given the leftovers, the undesirable parts of the meat and we had to learn to “spice it up” with salt, seasonings, and lard. So I am a woman who proudly likes food, who can fry chicken  that is so good it would make Colonel Sanders fall to his knees and beg for the recipe. That’s beauty.

And oh my skin. My beautiful brown skin. Skin that can withstand the sun and society’s assumptions about me. Skin that doesn’t wrinkle because it’s resilient. Skin that has been toughen by racists comments and racial profiling. Skin that has been rejected and told by society you are not pretty enough to be on our magazine covers. Yet still I thrive, still I smile, still I laugh. That’s beauty.

I am not looking to society to tell me I’m beautiful, I’m valued, I’m worthy. Everything about me tells a story. You may not see it when you look at me. Frankly, I don’t care. I refuse to give you the power to decide my beauty or my worth. God alone has that job. 

My beauty lies in the eyes of my Savior, my Redeemer, my Beloved. And when He looks at me, His eyes lights up just like that young man’s did on the plane when he talked about his “old lady”. When Jesus sees me, He thinks, “Man, we did a good job with her.” When the Beloved beholds me He thinks, “She is altogether lovely. I find no flaw in her.”

Stop allowing society to define beauty. See the beauty God has created you to be!

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