Ursula is a woman after my own heart. I’ve known her since she was just a wee middle-schooler. We’re four years apart, and yet at times it seems like she’s walked the earth longer than the rest of us mere mortals. Ursula tackles each and every day with grace. She’s warm, and manages to bring that warmth to all those around her. Ursula is kind, loving, and always willing to sacrifice herself for the good of others. Rarely are such people born, and the chances that they remain this way are few, since, as children, we learn that life is a jungle. Throughout my own body struggles, Ursula has always been there with the most heartening words. One random august evening (in 2015), Ursula sent me a text that I still read to this very day. She said, “You have so much to offer the world than beauty. It’s hard to put the importance of beauty in context, because women are constantly told that it’s our most crucial defining feature. Focus instead on your deep, intrinsic worth. You bring a combination of qualities to the world that it will never see again: your wit, your generosity, your warmth, and your fire. Your righteous personality and your heartbreaking vulnerability. Your eyes; your hands; your body which hasn’t failed you. It’s a sick culture that makes you feel inadequate, but there’s nothing wrong with you; you’re shining.” Ursula, thank you for being all that you are. Thank you for consistently sharing your positivity with me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I’ve started this series because through my own self acceptance search/journey I’ve realized that we, as humans, all have problems with our skin suit no matter what it looks like. The point of this series is to confront our flaws AND to highlight our excellence. I hope one day we’ll all be able to wake up and that voice in our mind which lists all our faults on repeat will be much quieter if not silent. The mirror will be less scary. We’ll smile as we pass our gorgeous selves. We’ll have a bounce in our steps. One day we’ll love our bodies exactly as they are right now. We might have bad days . We might have bad weeks. Yet once we unlock that key, that key of self love we’ll know we can get back to a sanctuary within our bodies. Our bodies and our selves are waiting for that love, waiting for that permission to just be. As I said to Ursula, (and as I say to all my future spotlights), be gentle with yourself, you are meeting parts of yourself that you have been at war with.
1. What makes you feel beautiful?
Lots of things make me feel beautiful. No one small or big thing makes me feel beautiful. Beauty is about empowerment and loving yourself and others. Beauty is not just external, but internal. You can never fully love/like yourself if you don’t feel beautiful on the inside. If I had to say one thing that makes me feel beautiful—its happiness.
2. What makes you feel powerful?
I feel powerful when I look good for myself. I don’t dress up for boys or try to look better than other girls. It’s all about the feel good-do good phenomena. If I feel powerful and if I feel beautiful, I’ll be able to make others feel like that as well.
3. What would you tell your past self about beauty and bodies?
I would tell my past self to love your curves, love your stretch marks, love your cellulite. There’s no reason to despise your body, it’s the only one you have. Thrive in that. Don’t compare yourself to other girls. YOU ARE NOT THEM. And that is a beautiful thing. We are truly unique and absolutely beautiful in our own ways. Don’t spend your time looking in the mirror despising the stomach you have because it’s yours. It’s all yours! Love it and never let anyone tell you that you should do differently.
4. How does your skin color make you feel?
I’m white so obviously I have very little room to talk. I enjoy the skin that I am in, but I’m not completely proud of others like me.
5. How have you struggled with your body?
For years, I hated my body. I was overweight, had stretches, cellulite, and not the best butt. I listened to people complain about their bodies, and they clearly looked better than I did. So I took a second to think. If all these girls hate the bodies that they are in, where is the positivity? Is there a girl anywhere in this world that truly loves all of themselves? Why are we wasting our time hating what we should love? Now I am a girl that truly loves her body. I’ve even put on a little more weight since hating my body. My body is perfectly imperfect. Your body is perfectly imperfect. Try to love and embrace all of you. Not only will you see an improvement in your life, but others as well.
6. Complete this sentence… “In my body is a safe place to be because….”
In my body is a safe place to be because I have learned to love all of me—every societal given “flaw” included.
From Ursula, with love.