Sometimes, you look at a picture of yourself and your heart sinks because you realize that you're freckled and a little chubby. There are times when this doesn’t seem like a big deal. Like when it’s midnight and you’re eating your second piece of cheesecake because it was potty-training day. Or when you’re playing in the sand with your kids and they don’t give two hoots what you look like because you can make a kickin’ sand castle.
Then there are days when it seems like the biggest thing in the world. Like when you’re trying to buy a new swimsuit or you’re posing for a group picture at a wedding.
There’s a voice that follows you around on the swimsuit-picture days. It’s loud and says things like: Remember when you used to look good? And: Why would you even try to wear red lipstick? It won’t look good on a chubby girl with freckles.
Sometimes it gets real mean and makes you wonder why anyone would want to be friends with a chubby girl with freckles.
Then there’s a second, softer voice. It’s the one that reminds you that you love people and that matters. It tries to teach you that the other voice lies—the other voice wants you to be afraid of being the chubby girl with freckles because she’s kind of a big deal—
She loves people.
And then you realize who you wish you were. You wish you were a woman who could look at herself and say this:
You’re the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen—not because you’ve reached your goal weight or because your extensions look totally real, but because you embrace every part of your body, knowing that each one is a piece of your life story.
You believe people when they tell you you’re pretty. And you tell yourself you’re pretty when no one else does, because you know that being pretty is about more than having a flat stomach or long eyelashes or a sweet thigh gap. It’s about having beautiful thoughts, a fearless heart, and powerful dreams.
You know your body is stronger than it looks because you know the battles it’s fought. Since the very beginning, it’s been up against an enemy that doesn’t want it to know how special it is. It’s had to listen to the world tell it that it’s not skinny enough or big enough, soft enough or firm enough, tall enough or short enough.
It's fought sickness and doubt and criticism—and it’s still standing, helping you become the most amazing person who’s ever lived. So you take care of it with love because it’s proof that you’ve sacrificed and suffered and triumphed.
You love your freckles and you’re grateful for the curves and the natural curls. They’re the mark of someone who’s freckled with good thoughts, curved with good memories, and curled with a powerful destiny.
Your True Self
And then you realize that you wish you were the woman who said that to every other woman she knows because you can think of about a million friends who are more beautiful than they think they are. So you post the embarrassing picture of yourself and hope the letter reaches every woman who doesn’t know how amazing she is.