It’s Easter Sunday. I feel like letting my mind drift back in time to all the Easter Sundays of my life. It’s funny because the first thoughts that come up are all about pretty new dresses, starched little bonnets, white gloves, shiny white tights and even shinier white shoes—a little girl’s favorite thing—new clothes. My mind could have gone to memories about lent, fasting, doing the rosary on our knees in front of the couch, fish on Fridays, long masses . . . .
But what I remember most is feeling pretty.
Feeling pretty. My husband says he thinks I am prettier than Jaylo—which is something to say to a 57-year old woman, and I love him for that. I’ve been working on revising and republishing an earlier book that I wrote in the mid-eighties. It has important information in it, and I want it back in print. The book is about how to shed old feelings about not being good enough, pretty enough, smart enough.
And now, as I wander back into my own Easter reverie, I am surprised to find how much old stuff about not being pretty enough. I’ve walked these decades in this body and no matter my age, I have never felt pretty except on those rare Easter Sundays in my new bonnet and shoes.
Crazy. The crazy part is that I do feel pretty on the inside. I write pretty words, grow pretty things, have built a pretty straw bale house, have pretty children. Pretty things come from me even when I don’t see “pretty” in the mirror.
My self-rejection runs “pretty” deep. It could be from the concept of original sin. It could be from skinny models and the advertising view of women. It doesn’t really matter where it came from. I don’t think I need to excavate some old wound to figure that out. Better to be grateful that at least I can see that pretty things come from me. That seems even more important. I can celebrate that.
I remember working with a woman many years ago. She was beautiful inside and out—a Baha’i woman dedicated to serving the world. We worked a session together, and when we finally came to some of her core feelings about her mother, she said, “I just wanted her to see me beautiful.”
I was so struck by the plea in her voice—and by the phrasing of her words. The emphasis was actually on the words “See me.” She wanted others to see past the surface—the skin, bone, body part—and see her soul, the place where her spirit resides. I love that. We are all beggars of that moment—we need somebody to see past our surfaces and into our heart and soul.
Why do we work so hard to put old programming to rest, to change patterns of behavior, to reach higher and further? Why do we work so hard to be in relationship, to make them strong, to find our path? I can almost hear my own inner self who works so hard on my behalf begging me, “See me beautiful. Just see me.”
So, relax harsh criticism. Ease up on wanting so much. Abandon impatience. These are my Easter messages to myself. Just see me beautiful.
I’m reminded of a story I wrote long ago that, in fact, recently was named a Notable Selection in a writing contest for Dylan Days in Hibbing, MN. It is a fun story about a woman who feels like her voice is all used up and that she has nothing more to say. She goes to The Voice Store to buy a new voice but can’t decide what kind of voice she wants. The story ends with this discovery and these words.
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
I’ll post the full story in a separate post for those who may want to read it.
One of my spiritual teachers taught us to “See God in Each Other.” I think it means the same thing as “See me beautiful.”
Happy Easter, my friends, and many blessings.
Share on Facebook