I was recently at an event where there were only ladies present. As I sat there in the crowd, I did my most favorite thing to do, as long as I have a comfy seat and snacks.
As I got lost in my own thoughts--as I often do--one thing struck me. Or should I say, two things.
How can I put this delicately?
The great abundance of slackened breast tissue.
Droopy milk glands.
I shouldn't even call them boobies because boobies entail cute, perky things. Not gargantuan mounds of flesh that sway from side to side. That sit on a woman's lap, like a stay-puff marshmallow TV tray. About two inches further down and they could play tether ball with them thangs.
Here is my thing. If you are a woman with breasts....why not invest in a good bra that lifts and separates and gives you a waist? So you can look scrumptious, with beautiful, soft cleavage? So you can see your feet, for heaven's sake? That is one of my pet peeves! Big girls are the worst culprits. Even if you are packin' triple D's and beyond, you can find a good bra. They are out there for the picking, and they are not super expensive.
I've been blessed in that even though I'm a big girl, I don't have super, ginormous mounds of breast tissue.
Because if I think I did, I'd prolly look about fifty pounds heavier and finding clothes would really suck butt. But even though mine are what I would consider a normal size (well, at least one of them), I've breastfed six chil'rens, and all that entails.
I am so not a gardener.
Oh, but I long to be.
I'm fully confident that I will be a fabulous gardener one day. I'll plant my mint, some feverfew, St. John's Wort, Echinachea, rosemary, aloe vera, chamomile, lettuce. Maybe a watermelon or two. Then, I'll plant chiles, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, and avocados like any self-respecting Chicana does.
I can't wait.
Until I am mature enough and my soul is ready to plant a garden, I nurture my succulents. I am a straight up indigenous cactus and succulent lover. I have no desire to plant any "real" flowers like roses. I absolutely love the organic shapes and colors of succulents. And they are sooo easy to grow. Even though mine tend to be a little neglected, they are resilient. They can hold on through the harsh times of not enough water, or too much sun...and they are still beautiful.
Last year I started a small section of succulents in containers. Most of them came to me by offshoots of plants from places and people I love: my mama house, my Wednesday night small group, St. Elmo Village. They are now overflowing their original terracotta pots and my small section is now a jungle in need of a bigger section.
One of the things I love most about my succulents is this...wherever they are placed around my porch or backyard, they are all doing the same thing.
Facing the sun.
Their blossoms, their necks, their limbs are literally craning to taste a little bit of sun on their faces. Their pattern of growth is a testimony to the fact that they want--no, they need--the Sun.
Just like we need the Son.
It reminds me of this verse in the Bible, waaaay in the book of Numbers--a dusty, crusty book we rarely ever crack open. The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
I'm like that succulent too, straining my body to get the Son to shine upon my face so I can grow, thrive and blossom.
I went to a spa party on Friday night. My first one ever. Snacks, interesting conversations, laughs...good times. As I relaxed and got my feet did, I thumbed through several magazines that were laid out. I can't remember which one it was (it had Sandra Bullock and her new baybay on the cover)....anyhow, they did a spread on celebrities confessing when they felt the most beautiful.
Rihanna felt the most beautiful when she got her hair done....Scarlett (that heifer), when she wore red lipstick. Others said when they were with their children, after they left the spa, wearing a sexy pair of high heels and so on and so forth.
So I got to thinking, as I often do in moments like these.
When do I feel the most beautiful?
It took me a while to process, until I was laying bed and the house was quiet. Beauty is such a transient thing. We all have different definitions of what beautiful means.
Sure, flawless skin is beautiful.
Full, shiny hair is beautiful.
A nice smile is beautiful.
Non-saggy breasts are beautiful.
Saggy breasts are beautiful.
Smooth curves are beautiful.
Strong legs are beautiful.
A muscular back is beautiful.
A flat stomach is beautiful.
But to me, beauty is something that radiates from within. I know it sounds cliche, like something your mom tells you when you feel like an ugly duckling in junior high.
Drawing from my own personal experience, my moments of beauty have nothing to do with the times when my hair is curled and flattened and styled to perfection, or I just got my makeup done at the Smashbox counter or wearing a flattering dress (with my Spanx!). Those things make me feel good, maybe give me a boost of confidence, but inside I'm still the same sarcastic, wretched person, in need of the Savior. Just with a shinier package.
But beautiful? Really and truly beautiful? Nope.
So it stands to reason that the moments I feel the most beautiful is when I feel it inside.
I feel beautiful when I am helping someone.
I feel beautiful when I am surrounded by my children, and we are laughing.
I feel beautiful when I am walking in the Spirit.
I feel beautiful when I have just had "mama and daddy time" with my husband, and my hair is all messed up, I have a smile on my face, and I fit perfectly under the crook of his arm.
I feel beautiful when I have just given birth, and I am full of love, relief and triumph.
I feel beautiful when I have painted something beautiful, because I know it is a reflection of what is inside my soul.
And this list..it just makes me want to cry.
So yes, a pedicure is cool--and much needed. A good hair day is great. White, shiny teeth are wonderful. Feeling sexy and desirable is nice, every once and a while.
But beauty, real beauty, means something much different to me. Beauty is always tied to love...my love for others and their love for me, and the Author of Creation who, by definition, is love.
So, how will you answer this question?
I feel most beautiful when...