As a child and into my adulthood, my mother would say to me nearly every day, “You are beautiful.” It was never contrived, nor did she have to search for the reason to say it. She never meant it as how you looked when you dolled up for an event or changed your makeup routine. To mom, beauty was the way she felt when seeing or talking to you.
As I age, recognizing beauty becomes easier. I notice more often how people speak to one another, stare longer at beautiful actions, and I listen intently for the goodness in stories. The new generation calls it having all the feels.
Sometimes beauty bursts in front of you. Almost startling you. I am quick to capture it. To hold it. To secure its memory in my brain.
But most of the time beauty evolves slowly. A change in season. I have to be paying attention to notice. Maturity changes the beauty into something even better.
I think that is what my mom wanted. Not only a moment of beauty in nature or her children but noticing how they change and blossom further.
You are not beautiful because you have a new haircut. It is because you love yourself.
You are beautiful because you offered to help, to visit, to spend time with another, corrected a wrong, took responsible for your role in a friendship or family, and much more.
So, when I wore my handmade clothing, added a hand-me-down straw hat, put on somebody’s sunglasses and got my picture taken. Mom said, “you are beautiful”. I wasn’t really. But I was hers.
What does beauty mean to you?