She was Beautiful

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SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN BEAUTIFUL…
…but she didn’t know it.

as a young girl, she dreamed of being pretty.
but she was gawky, skinny, almost homely
& compared to her sisters and friends,
she felt average at best.

as she grew into a woman
she had a few interested prospects.
as boys began to take notice.
but she still didn’t feel she was beautiful.
cute maybe. on a good day.
but never beautiful.

then she met a man
relentless in his pursuit.
and even on their wedding day
she felt special…
…but not beautiful.

in time,
she brought children into the world.
oh, how beautiful they were.

but then…
she was exhausted, overwhelmed,
& often presented herself in a sloppy bun & sweatpants.

oh, on occasion she would try
to dress up,
to look nice, even attractive.
but it seemed preparing meals,
making ends meet & making a life
took priority.
& she found herself
losing herself bit by bit
as distance lurked like a dark cloud
through the house & in the bedroom.

& then…
…the children were grown and gone.
living lives of their own.
& she found herself alone.
unwanted.
overweight.
damaged.
“who would want this?” she thought to herself.

looking deep into the mirror
for the first time in years
she noticed every crevasse on her face,
every gray hair.
every scar.
her hands were thin & wrinkling,
& her thighs were dimpled.
the breasts that once stood at attention
had now surrendered.

she had been there for everyone
but herself.
she lived her life with a generous spirit,
opened her home,
her heart &
wrapped her arms around others
providing them peace & comfort.
but now she sees
it had taken its toll on her
& devoured her completely.

though she didn’t think she was beautiful
she often delights in the memories & milestones
of her beautiful life.

& now…
…when she looks in the mirror
she sees her scars
as obstacles she has defeated.
the lines on her face
portray wisdom & experience
of a life well lived.
she now sees
her worn & wretched body
as a hero that has endured with her
despite all she put it through.

it is now, FINALLY…
…that she sees a woman who is strong.
vital. powerful. empowered.
& undeniably fabulous.
now she sees,
that is what makes her beautiful
& SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN BEAUTIFUL.

© c. michelle bryant
(photo by Michelle Bryant)

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