Beauty is but a flower, Which wrinkles will devour… – Thomas Nashe

image1“Aren’t you afraid of what you’re going to look like when you’re older?”
“You’d be so much prettier if you’d stop doing that to yourself!”
I’ve heard it all. And the concept always baffles me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have some of the same thoughts about people – only about different subjects. I’ve often wondered if men really found it attractive to wear their pants so low that you can see the underwear they’re wearing. I’ve often wondered if that really old lady thought that cat t-shirt was really fashionable or just really cute (and I must add that I find most really old ladies cute in general – especially so in those off the wall t-shirts.) And I’ll admit it…I often wonder about the IQ level of anyone with a Trump bumper sticker, t-shirt, etc. However, I don’t blatantly come out and say these things to others face – generally. Okay…the Trump thing, I occasionally do, so maybe I should delete that one.

Anyway…so why is it that friends, family, or society in general thinks that it is perfectly a-OK to bring someone’s physical appearance into a conversation as if it is open for discussion or debate? Yes, I realize that I am not exactly what society would deem “beautiful” by any traditional sense. But what really is beauty? And who are we to tell others what is or isn’t beautiful for themselves. I may be heavily tattooed and have more than a few piercings, but…

I am beautiful.

This is where I would normally tell someone that they don’t need to explain their reasoning behind their thought process because everyone has a differing opinion and thoughts. However, I’m going to explain why I’m beautiful because I need to get this out.

I am beautiful because I am disabled.
I wake up every day in pain – physical and mental. Sometimes it hurts so bad that I can’t get out of bed immediately, and if I have help…at all. There are days where I want to lay in bed because it hurts to move. Because the night terrors that plague me keep me from ever getting a peaceful, restful night of sleep. But I still have the courage to try every day.

I am beautiful because I am a survivor.
I lost my virginity to a family member as a child. I was raped. I was molested. I was sodomized. I lost my mother to suicide, and my father to medical malpractice. My first husband beat the living hell out of me every chance he got and I never got a moment of concern from his family when I reached out for help. I have been kicked out by family members, and discarded by my own flesh and blood. I have lived on the streets for months on end in the harsh winters of Indiana. I have been alone and I have been scared. I am scarred for life, and I have severe PTSD…but you know what? I’m alive. I’m not a drug addict, and I’m as functional as anyone could be given my unique set of circumstances that has led me to where I am today.

I am a mother to not one, but two disabled children.
Despite my own limitations, I still manage to care for not one but two disabled children. Autism, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, developmental, language and speech delays. Therapists, psychiatrists, doctors, specialists. Routine, routine, routine. Appointments all…the…time. It is an around the clock job with no vacation pay. But I do it, and I do it well. My middle child – the most disabled – despite his disabilities and having to work twice as hard as every one of his peers has managed to make the honor roll all year despite being bullied and doing 0 homework because after he gets home from school he cannot mentally handle anything else in the format that the school provides so it is up to me to rotate into an at home routine that allows him learning opportunities related to what they are working on in school. I am their advocate and I will cut the head off (verbally) of anyone who crosses or does harm to my children.

I could go on and list the many ways in which I am beautiful, and I’m not being vain. I’m not beautiful because I do or don’t wear makeup. I’m not beautiful because I may or may not have short hair (or even bald a few months ago – thanks chemo!). I’m not beautiful because of my tattoos and piercings. I’m beautiful simply because I am me. I didn’t choose this life. This life chose me, and I have risen above it. I may not be perfect – no one is. I have more flaws than anyone I know. BUT I AM ME.

Who else would you rather me be?

When people make comments that are derogatory in nature regarding someone else’s opinion that is exactly what you are asking. You are asking why they can’t be what you think they should be. And life doesn’t work that way. It never has. Every generation has had people like “me”. The misfits. The discarded. The ones who don’t fit in, but people also tend to gravitate to. We are everywhere…and we are growing. We are awakening. You can choose to accept, or you can be left behind.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not telling you that you need to be pierced or tattooed. It isn’t for everyone. What I AM saying, though, is leave the judgments to yourself if you feel you NEED to make them. You don’t know what someone might have been through, or what kind of story a tattoo or piercing may hold.

No. I will not regret my tattoos or my piercings. They are a part of me. They tell my story. They are my book…even if only I know how to read the pages.

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