Be Your Own Kind Of Beautiful
I had a few people in my life who loved me just as I was. Who were able to look past the abrasive behavior, the extra flesh, the sad faces and angry outbursts to see the person who lived underneath it all. There was the occasional friend or teacher or church leader who championed my individuality, who believed in me and looked past the things I found so hideous, so un-normal, and loved me very much in spite of me. It wasn't until I was in my 20's that I realized my situation was anything but unique. I was not the only one who felt painfully different from others growing up. I was not alone in the desire to be made invisible by normalcy. I spoke with people who had been popular, people who seemed so pulled together, so perfect in every way, and discovered they harbored the same fears I had growing up. I realized I wasn't so different after all. John Irving wrote that adolescence is when we believe we have have a secret we must hide so people will love us. I was shocked to discover my secret was just the same as everyone else's.
I believe in individuality, but I also know that we are all more the same than we can even fathom. I honestly believe that the advasary uses the feelings of "I'm the only one who has ever felt like this" or "No one else has ever had this experience" to isolate us from those who can draw our beauty out and put us in our best light, so the things that make us different become the things that make us beautiful instead of ugly and ashamed. I have been profoundly blessed to have people in my life who were willing to look past the things I was so ashamed of, and find beauty in things I wanted so much to hide. I have had a "mirror" held up to me, I have been shown that what I see is often so wrong, and what others see of me is much kinder, much more loving than what I see in myself. It's why Heavenly Father gave us families, and friends, and internet buddies. So we could be beautiful, a beautiful of our very own.