A Letter to My Lady Babies

On Beauty

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Beauty is only skin deep.   Beauty is xx and beauty is yy.  That’s crap: That kind of “beauty” is a moving target.  Sometimes it’s heavy and sometimes it’s thin.  Sometimes it’s fair-skinned, sometimes it’s dark.  Sometimes it’s short or tall; it’s dark hair and light hair and all the hair ever made.  That kind of beauty gets expensive, and hard to maintain, and it’s quite fickle.  Beauty is physically unquantifiable.

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We all love a little validation – who doesn’t want to HEAR that they’re perceived as beautiful by other people?  And, honestly, the two of you hear it a lot.  It’s true.  But, that part of beauty – the external part – is so unimportant.  Those people don’t know you.  They don’t know the different ways each of you are funny, and the different ways each of you are smart, and the different ways each of you are independent and needy, or what makes you both happy and sad.  Beauty is knowledge; beauty is familiarity.

I can’t say I’ve lived the best example.  It’s taken me an entire lifetime to allow myself to simply be “okay” with me.  There are still days that I struggle with it, but those days get fewer and further between, and knowing that is the best feeling ever:  Tomorrow I get another chance to feel beautiful.  And, if I’m being completely candid, embracing the fact that I’m a “Work In Progress” may really be the most rewarding feeling of all:  I haven’t peaked at anything – every day I get a chance to try to be better than yesterday…!!  Beauty is acceptance.

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You’ll have ups.  You’ll have downs.  But, no amount of attention, no amount of words, and no amount external validation can drown out your internal voice.  So, let’s focus on that.  Because, more than anything:  Beauty is how you feel about yourself.

I hope you know I love you.

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P.S.  On the 10th day of each month I’ll be contributing a post alongside other women in a series called “Letters to our Daughters”. I’ll bet Gretchen has something to say to her daughter we can all learn from.

14 Comments

  1. by Holly Sewell on January 10, 2013  10:38 pm Reply

    I don't have daughters, but I absolutely love what you are teaching yours. And those photographs are lovely as usual. Xoxo ~Holly

    • by Jessica on January 21, 2013  1:44 am Reply

      Thank you so much, for your kind words, Holly! I'm so glad to see you've gotten started on your blog as well!

  2. by Gretchen Willis on January 10, 2013  11:06 pm Reply

    I wish my own mom had shared these words with me, Jessica. SO TRUE and what a beautiful thing, to share them with your daughters. <3

    • by Jessica on January 21, 2013  1:46 am Reply

      Thanks very much, Gretchen! I'm with you: I wish my mother would've shared these thoughts with me - they're hard enough to learn in any capacity (but on your own is much more difficult). I do hope you'll share them with your daughters.

  3. by Heather Meyer on January 11, 2013  2:09 am Reply

    Jessica, your girls are so lucky to have you. You are honest and heartfelt...I admire your words so much.

    • by Jessica on January 21, 2013  1:49 am Reply

      Thank you, Heather! I do hope all little girls everywhere start receiving this message in one capacity or another. {P.S. I'm going to print this out and hang it, well, everywhere, and tell them, "See, I'm not the only one who thinks you're lucky to have me!"}

  4. by Lauren on January 11, 2013  3:27 pm Reply

    Lovely post Jessica... part of me cringes when someone meets my girls and the first thing they say is "she is so beautiful"... yes, thank you, I realize it's a compliment, but only a fraction of what makes them beautiful.

    • by Jessica on January 21, 2013  1:52 am Reply

      Thank you, Lauren! I know exactly what you mean - sometimes people even say "you're so beautiful, have a balloon" (or similar), it makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs, "That is not the message I want to send them!!"

  5. by Kristen on January 11, 2013  3:46 pm Reply

    This letter is awesome! I think that's a really powerful thing to say to your daughters! Loved reading this.

    • by Jessica on January 21, 2013  1:53 am Reply

      Thanks so much, Kristen! I'd love for every little girl in the world to receive this message.

  6. by Elicia on January 11, 2013  6:14 pm Reply

    Your words here are so beautiful Jessica and that first image is absolutely stunning. They both are of course but I just love her gaze in the first one. :)

    • by Jessica on January 21, 2013  1:55 am Reply

      Thank you so much, Elicia - that really means a lot to me. I told ShortStack that you liked her picture best and she wants you to come over and play. ;)

  7. by Sarah Vaughn on January 21, 2013  7:57 am Reply

    I love your post. Your images are "beautiful" :) - but your words even more so. In the very best way - meaningful and deep and true. The beauty of acceptance is the best kind of all.

    • by Jessica on January 27, 2013  2:50 am Reply

      Thanks so much, Sarah - I agree with you completely: Acceptance = Genuine Beauty! <3

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