Beauty of a Woman BlogFest IV – Finding Beauty Within

Renee Jacobson art

Like many women, I’ve always struggled with self-worth and seeing myself as beautiful. Growing up with red hair wasn’t fun and didn’t help. Two of my very best friends were both blond and they were tiny. For whatever reason, I had a growth spurt sooner than most kids my age and I ended up taller than everyone in kindergarten, so not only was I teased for the color of my hair, I was teased for how “big” I was. The fact that those two girls were my best friends didn’t stop them from joining in the nastiness. I remember we were going to play some imaginary game and I wanted to play a specific character, but they wouldn’t let me because I was too big and my hair wasn’t the right color. I also remember them telling me I just didn’t fit in with them.

(I don’t think those two girls were mean at their core; most of it came from that horrible dynamic that happens when you bring three girls together. I saw the same thing happen with my own daughter and two of her girlfriends. There’s just something about the number three and girls that doesn’t work somehow.)

Those words and images never really went away and for the longest time the term “big and ugly” was always stuck in my head whenever I thought of myself and especially when someone called me beautiful. This negative self image carried into high school and beyond.

A few years after I graduated, I was going through some pictures from high school and found one of a performance with a singing group I was in. The picture included me and about five girls on a stage in various poses of singing and dancing. I was astounded that I was shorter than every other girl on that stage and I was also the smallest. How is it that the views we hold onto, the way we see ourselves, can be so far from reality?

I’m sad that the picture didn’t help change my self image at the time, but it didn’t. I still managed to hold onto the negative thoughts and feelings that had battered me all my life. Some of that had to do with the depression I’ve dealt with since a young age; some of it had to do with abusive relationships. I built a wall around myself and not only did I not see myself as beautiful, I didn’t think I was lovable.

I wrote a poem somewhere in the darkest part of this time in my life. I wasn’t writing at the time; I wasn’t doing much of anything at the time besides trying to survive, but I found a box of magnetic words that was given to my daughter as a gift. The fun thing about these words is that you have to use what is provided, so if I wanted a specific word, I usually couldn’t find it. I spent a few hours playing with those words and moving them around until I came up with this:

strange beautiful woman
alive between sad desire and whispering fear
wanders through haunted dreams
searching against time for happy escape
almost marked by love
in vivid mystery

I was seeing a therapist at the time and I read it to her in one of our sessions. She said it sounded so sad and that maybe I could write a second part to it and find some peace and happiness for the woman, i.e. me. The second one was harder because I had a specific direction I needed to go in, but after working through it I wrote the response or answer to the poem I had written.

beautiful vivid spirit
finding evil in torrid dreams
fights an ancient truth with inspired love
closing the door to fear
discovering a magical old soul in happy imaginings
new life fills a growing heart

I believe this was the beginning to the change that happened in my life and today, I am happier in my own skin, more loving to myself in my own head than I ever have been in my life. Most of the change was internal but once that change started, the things on the outside started to change to fit what I had changed internally.

Now I can look at myself in the mirror and say, “Wow, I’m beautiful” rather than “I’m just big and ugly,” and I can honestly say it has nothing to do with how I actually look. We are all beautiful creatures in a beautiful world. It doesn’t matter what color your hair is, how big your body is or what kind of clothes you wear. I believe beauty comes from within and the more we find the beauty within ourselves and can see ourselves in a loving and kind way, the more we can spread that love to others.


This is my first time taking part in the Beauty of a Woman BlogFest hosted by August Mclaughlin. I invite you to click the links and join in as we celebrate a woman’s beauty.

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21 thoughts on “Beauty of a Woman BlogFest IV – Finding Beauty Within

  1. I have walked the same path as a child. I am a red head who didn’t appreciate the beauty of red hair. I was ‘chunky’ and painfully shy. Now I am in my 50s with red hair going blond with a wicked sense of humour and my self. That frightened child still peeps out occasionally but she knows she’s safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so sorry that you felt so unkind to yourself. I remember a picture of you when you were maybe 3 or 4 years old. I had given you a permanent and that beautiful red hair and those curls made you look like a little doll. You are beautiful and a very special woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate, Helen. I was always the smallest. I felt like a freak by the time I got to high school. I was the girl with the flat chest that everyone towered over. Then, in the middle of my sophomore year, I hit a major growth spurt and ended up taller than all of my friends–save one–by junior year. Until I hit my 30s, I always felt like the Jolly Green Giant, even though I was only, on average, about two or three inches taller than my friends. It also took inner work for me to see my personal beauty.

    Thank you so much for sharing such a loving post. And, FYI, red-heads ROCK. I love me some red hair ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with this “I believe beauty comes from within and the more we find the beauty within ourselves and can see ourselves in a loving and kind way, the more we can spread that love to others.”
    People who are mean spirited are usually not happy with themselves and project that onto to others.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was a chunky, dishwater blonde who thought red hair was rather magical. People with red hair seemed more mystical–a word I use now but did not know then but it is appropriate. Images from growing up stay a long time, don’t they? I admire your poetry; it’s vivid. Good for you for breaking through. Enjoyed reading your post.
    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s too bad we don’t realize as children, when teasing starts, the long-lasting impact it has on those who have been teased. When I was a child, I was teased, and I’m ashamed to say I was also a teaser at times. But I didn’t understand then, the long term impact words could have. But, I’ve seen in so many of the #BOAW2015 posts, like yours, that words can have a positive impact, too.

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    • I don’t believe that all words are negative. I believe they can be used for positive and have been mostly positive in my life. It is sad that as children and sometimes as adults we sometimes don’t see the harm they can cause though. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love both poems. I think they represent the dark and the light inside all of us. It’s hard to be kind to ourselves. I’m so happy you see yourself as beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. One of my best friends, a woman who is like a sister to me, went through something similar. Her best friends were people who didn’t build her up, but rather, inadvertently, tended to tear her down. When I met her, it broke my heart how little she believed in her own self worth. That she couldn’t see that her involvement in activities like band and gymnastics, and the easy friendships she developed with others were what caused their envy. That they used her to try to further their “popularity” by undermining her self esteem and making her believe she need THEM to be cool.

    She was a few years younger than me. I took her under my wing. Her “friends” learned to be very careful what they said to her and about her in front of me and her other new friends. These days she’s happily married with two girls of her own and she’s teaching her girls to believe in themselves, to be willing to fight for themselves when others put them down, and empowering their vision of what beautiful is. Yes, her girls are feisty, fiery souls….and they look out for each other the way we did with one another. It warms my heart to see not only her transformation, but how her own empowerment has built a tougher, stronger next generation.

    I’m happy for you that you, too, have found your path to empowerment. *hugs*

    Like

    • Everyone needs a friend who will empower them and make them believe in their own self worth. It sounds like you are an amazing friend. Kudos to you for helping her and loving her.

      I was just talking to my daughter today and I’m constantly amazed at how well she just lives life. She is so confidant and loving and lovable. It’s amazing what happens when we surround ourselves with people who give us love and support.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for sharing your story here. โค

      Liked by 1 person

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