If you're on Facebook, you've likely seen the meme floating around. "I've been tagged in the beautiful picture meme, and need to post 5 photos where I feel beautiful..."
Actually, I think the meme is a good one. We have so many girls with self-esteem problems, that it's a good exercise for them to personally go through their own photos and identify "this is when I feel beautiful."
Honestly, I land more on the other side of the spectrum. Sure, I have self esteem issues, and there have been plenty of photos taken of me that I hate, but for the most part, I have plenty of photos of myself that I enjoy going back to and looking at because I feel beautiful when I look at them.
18 months ago, something happened that made how I feel when I look at those photos pale in comparison and I am forever blessed. I feel in love with a man who can look at me when I haven't taken a shower for four days, have a gushing head wound, and am just wearing the most comfortable clothes possible, and without a bit of prompting, randomly pause, stare wistful at me, and say, "You are so beautiful."
This is the photo that makes me feel beautiful.
It is not that I need a man to give me worth, but there is a huge affirmation when someone you love looks at you this way. I was surpremely blessed to have a father who made a big point to always tell me, my sister and my mom that we were beautiful. Now I am blessed beyond words to have a husband who constantly tells me that with his eyes every time he looks at me.
People tell me that they admire how I deal with my handicaps and my health and how I don't complain about them. The truth is, so much of the time I don't think about how these issues make my life hard. I think about my blessings. And that is really easy to do with a husband like Nathan.
As I said in the beginning and feel the need to repeat here, I think this is a good meme. I've been really happy to see so many of my girlfriends posting shots where their beauty comes from their happiness and joy, not from glamour poses. Not only does this affirm their own self-confidence, but it perpetuates the strength of this meme - that we are all beautiful, and our beauty comes from our character, which can show profoundly in a true expression, be it a smile, a wry look, or a totally goofy face.
(Total side note, but one of my friends turned this meme into a different kind of social commentary by posting five photos of famous people looking weird. I loved that she subverted the way we usually compare ourselves to models and actors.)