Beauty originates in kindness. It's love that beautifies. Every time.
We are drawn to whatever confirms what we believe. If we see lack, we believe lies. If we see beauty it multiplies exponentially by the kindness we receive.
This story is longer and the scars I carry from it will probably always be visible. I had an eating disorder for a number of years. I compensated for not feeling heard in some areas by screaming loudly in others. Not eating became a manifesto for "please hear the words I can't say." For quite a few years my calories came from swallowed words, not food. And the silence manifested itself on my body. I was wasting away.
I eventually got counseling and slowly came out of that coffin with fresh understanding. I had a new awareness that words have power - even words that never leave the mouth and die bitter in your belly. But I walked right out of one season of death into another season of keening loss. For a variety of reasons the same body I was trying to see free was suddenly crippled again. Unanticipatedly I had fresh wounds that created no small crises and ripple affects for me and those around me. This time - determined not to starve - I curled inward.
Several years ago I felt a new shift happening inside me. It was time. I set to work cooperating with it and lost what ended up being a great portion of my own flesh. Once again I had to learn to speak - building a cocoon can be heavy when the word-wounds go very deep.
I wrestled and identified countless times with the earth-bound caterpillars that would inch along the containers we watched them in for school; I imagined them as helpless to know that soon they would be splashed with colour - with orange and red, with vibrant lives. I slowly saw their chrysalis form, saw transformation - and change I have.
Often I was reminded of the time I first heard that I was beautiful and was so stunned by the shock of it I was nothing short of horrified. How could I be beautiful when covered with so much dirt? So many issues and problems and short-comings? Now I think back to the butterflies we watched emerge in our living room, covered in blood (bright amniotic fluid actually), dripping from the violence of birth and think of how beautiful that actually was - in all it's fragility, in all it's weakness - it was still mesmerizing in reality.
I found my running legs again, I found origins and elements of my voice again and I coloured my world with new-found confidence, trying my hardest to even want to emerge. I looked everywhere for beauty and joy to survive on. I practiced and put fresh words out there almost daily. I was brave.
Silence in our lives can be deadly. Voices in our lives are powerful. It takes incredible courage to seek out, listen to and acknowledge the ones in our hemisphere that speak beauty and kindness to us. Sometimes it takes even more strength to say (and keep admitting) the things we've left unspoken that break our own hearts.
What we hear is powerful, what we listen to is even more so. What we say comes from what we've heard and believed about ourselves.
Wherever we are not kind (to ourselves, to others, at all) exposes an area we have not heard kind words spoken to us. Blame, judgement, hiding, lashing out in self-protection all only serve one purpose - to expose a broken part of our heart longing to hear about beauty.
When words from the past - or words from within - strangle us, sometimes all we can do is to listen to the whispers of the one who makes all things beautiful in His time. It is worth it - so worth it - to pause and wait there until we do.
"How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
You have stolen my heart...
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace."