We went shopping today and I am usually the one who looks down, in order to appear as invisible as possible, trying to avoid eye contact.
But today I felt good within and didn`t apply the usual patterns of behaviour. So I looked some people who were passing by in the eyes with a smile, talking to my partner and just feeling like an active part in my own life, not shying away.
What happened next was something that I had experienced now and then in the past and it usually hit me hard. One young man, obviously well dressed, looked back and said to his colleague next to him "ugly". For the very first seconds my heart sank, because this was exactly the reason why I was shying away from the world since I can remember, because people called my ugly, family called me ugly, those I knew called me ugly.
My very first response was shame and then my inner thoughts started to take a slight twist "Oh maybe, he was not talking about me..." which was not true, since I felt it was very well send towards me, but this was the entry point to turn the whole event around and I asked myself "Am I really ugly?" I then looked into the next reflection of my face in a shopping window and felt "Well, this is a normal human face, not one from magazines, but nothing extraordinary to see here...." and from here my inner dialogue continued "but I actually like my face, even though I am not cute, or do I?" and later in the car I looked into the mirror, analysing my own features and became aware of the deep sadness and exhaustion within my eyes and thought to myself "Well, our emotions and inner states are usually not shown, this is probably why deep sadness and exhaustion are de-valued and this was probably what this guy saw."
This was the flip moment within of not letting his words close to me any longer. When I realized that my face actually allows the outside world to read how my life stories have impacted me, I felt whole again, because this is nothing to be ashamed about. To me it felt more like having walked a long journey, over difficult terrain, barely conquerable mountains, down steep hills, into foreign territory, through wild rivers into a place within my own heart.
We are judging beauty by smoothness and lack of shadows on the outside, but this is not the only definition of beauty. Beauty can be deep within, inside a heart, that felt the pain and is maybe even still weeping. Beauty can lie in the trying and exhausting oneself, but nevertheless not refraining from trying. Beauty can lie in doing things wrong, regretting and reflecting upon it, having the urge to do better. Beauty can lie in admitting mistakes and trying again with a different approach. Beauty can lie in having the courage to walk a different path, because the heart leads you there, even though no one else wants to go there. Beauty can lie in sadness and beauty can lie in exhaustion, maybe even in anger and fear. But what you need in order to be able to see it, is an open heart, gentleness and compassion.
This was the moment when I realized how glad I was, that this young man saw me this way, because we would presumably have nothing to connect with, because our inner worlds reflect completely different universes and my language would not be understood by him, as I would probably not be able to grasp his world.
This was possibly the weirdest insight I had in quite a while, since physical beauty was something I deeply longed since I can remember. Today was likely the very first day in my adult life that made my heart jump for me being the way I am, looking the way I am and realizing that my face is telling a story, my story, the story of my soul and life will not be lived without scratches and we will not be able to sympathize with others, if we did not learn how important it is to reflect upon our own pain.
So please live your life to the fullest, this life of yours is not meant to be wasted with worries about other people`s limitations or blindness, give them a smile and trust they have their own journeys and some are not meant to travel into your universe, it`s good they just pass by.