Wednesday, December 08, 2010

December 8: "You are well fed. That is good."

December 8 Prompt: Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

I just don't know. This question. I feel like the minute I start talking about my own beauty I'm delving farther into the narcissistic than even I'm comfortable with. And I'm a blogger. Maybe my fear is that posting on these deeply personal topics everyday is getting into too much public self reflection to be interesting to anyone. How do I write about my own beauty without sounding like a pompous douche? I'm not going to touch the physical stuff much. Because naturally that's where I go first, because I'm female and American and generally we are raised in families and cultures that focus on appearance above nearly all else.  I'm tall and large and that certainly makes me different, at least from the stereotypical beautiful, idealized female in our society. Though I did receive three marriage proposals when I was in West Africa. (That quote in my title: actual line used in one unsuccessful proposal, it was paired with a lingering visual assessment, slightly ick.) My body type screams wealth and abundance evidently. I'm not blond and 110 pounds and 5'4". And I suppose that's part of my beauty. I carry myself and walk around the world as a tall, bold person and if I were in a smaller package would I be the same? I don't know. So I have nothing more to say on the physical. I am who I am. It's genetics and good moisturizer and the inside part is much more interesting.

We are supposed to focus on the differences and what we do that lights people up in this prompt. How do you answer that about yourself? Do I light people up? And not with like actual matches? As I was saying at lunch today with a friend, who is also doing the Reverb project, how are you supposed to know how other people perceive you? I'm not sure. So I cheated and asked my biggest fan for some advice on this topic. Granted, he's a little biased. He is married to me. But he's also honest and knows me better than anyone else on the planet. So this is what he said, I have paraphrased a bit at his request, to make myself sound less like a "self important tool," his words:

"I guess, to me, what makes you different is that you, very genuinely, think of others before yourself. This manifests itself in your warmth, compassion and ability to get along well with almost everyone. It's kind of tough to explain, but saying someone does that gets lots of lip service...but with you, it's really not.
ps - in other words - You think about stuff...but usually about stuff for others first! Most people don't, even nice people like me. That's what lights me up about you."

Shockingly he didn't mention my boobs, not even once. Nope, he went right for the heart, nothing superficial, right to my core. And it made me tear up a bit, because I never would have said that about myself or expected that response even from him. I'm still not even sure it's true. But that's perception, right? And I love it. At a minimum, if I get an insightful, complimentary note from my husband out of today's prompt, then that's enough for me. Maybe that's the whole point of this project in the first place, to reflect and think on these prompts, my role in the world, how my choices and actions are perceived by my loved ones, what I put out there into the world with my choices and action and what do I want back for myself. Maybe what I'm putting out there isn't so bad, maybe it's pretty good actually. And maybe it doesn't make me a self important asshat to think that out loud, now and then. Maybe.

What about you is different and lights up or inspires those around you? Hard question to answer about yourself, isn't it? Ask your best friend or partner, see what they would say. Don't be scared,
it's enlightening. And I bet they'll surprise you.


it's all relative said...

I love this post! Perfect. Your fabulous hubby hit the nail on the head.

And I love the pictures too. I seem to recognize that scarf from somewhere recently...

Emily said...

And my husband scolded me when I joked about mentioning my boobs. What's up with men today? ;)

Joe said...

Hmmm, huge shocker that I'm a fan of this post (the title especially - that story always cracks me up). What I wrote is true and I am not surprised you avoided ass-hattery.

bethany actually said...

While Joe is correct, and you are an extremely thoughtful and caring person, I would have answered differently---as I suppose everyone you ask would probably do, because different people would probably each find something inspiring.

I think the thing about you that lights me up, one of the reasons I am so happy to have you as a friend, is that you are fearless. Or if you aren't *actually* fearless, you do a damn fine job of faking it. You make decisions and try things and are creative in such a decisive way, and you make no apologies. I love that about you, and love that when I'm around you I feel fearless too.

bethany actually said...

*something different inspiring.*

Sorry, it's after 1am and I have a baby in my lap.