Seems like my blog lately has been "other people's words" to describe some of my own feelings. I would like to share with you a column written over on TOFW by one of my favorites, Merrilee Boyack. She is an amazing woman!
*You can read my "other" comments at the end.
by Merrilee Browne Boyack
February 02, 2009
Over the years, I have sung that song from “West Side Story”—“I feel pretty, oh so pretty!” and have laughed. I felt anything BUT pretty. I have spent my entire lifetime feeling unattractive.
To be truthful, I was somewhat taught that I was not pretty. I could share a litany of comments from various people in my life: “You’ll never be beautiful so work on your personality.” “Your friend is pretty and you are smart. That’s just the way it is.” And one of my personal favorites when I was considering serving a mission as a young adult: “You’re not ugly enough to go on a mission.” Ugly? Enough? Uh, OK . . . . .
So you can imagine how I felt when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and told that I had to have a mastectomy. You’ve GOT to be kidding me. Wasn’t I ugly enough? The thought of losing my hair, which I felt was my one saving grace, hit me. I shall never forget the day when I was on my prayer/walk and I realized that by the end of the month I would be bald. Bald. Ugly. Could I survive all this emotionally?
On that day I prayed to Heavenly Father and asked for a gift. I asked for the gift of healing of my feelings about my appearance. Now don’t worry, I’d been praying for complete healing for a while. But I knew this was not something I could survive very well emotionally on my own. And I was tired of feeling ugly for 50 years of my life. I wanted healing. And I knew the only way to get it was to get it from God. So I asked.
Now a strange thing began to happen. Day after day I felt prettier. I know that is very strange and hard to explain. It just did. I began to notice things about myself that I liked and were attractive.
And then came the day to face the mirror after my surgery. The bandages were off. And you know what, it was OK. It was different, but it was OK. I knew that I would have reconstruction eventually and it was fine. And look at my wonderful body! It was a miracle!
Next came the day when my hair was going. It was really falling out and I called my son and asked if he would come buzz it off. Sweet Brennan came home on his lunch hour. I buzzed his hair, and then he buzzed mine. As he was buzzing it, he commented, “It’s not every day you get to buzz off your mother’s hair!” All too true. When it was done, we took pictures and he said I now looked like one of the Boyack brothers (we have four sons who have had many “buzzes” in their lifetimes). I then went in the shower and shaved it all off to the skin.
And then came the time to face the mirror. And an amazing thing happened. I looked in that mirror and saw beauty. My eyes that I had always hated were shining. My skin was glowing. I had a good head! And a big smile. I realized that I was truly beautiful. Positively gorgeous.
I told my husband that I have felt more beautiful in the last two months than I have ever felt in my life. He laughed and said it must have been the hair!
But I know that something deeper has happened. God has healed my feelings about my appearance. I have finally been able to see myself as He sees me—a marvelous work of art. And the voices that I have carried in my head for decades have been completely silenced. It was a gift from Him –pure and simple.
I have learned a deep lesson. God creates beauty. It is that simple. And when He created me, He created a lovely, pretty, down-right-CUTE daughter. I have also realized that every single one of us is beautiful. Yeah, yeah, we have inner beauty. But I have discovered that every single one of us in all our shapes and sizes and ages and conditions, are truly beautiful on the outside. That was something I had not understood until now.
God creates beauty. God created me. And He did a good job.
*I love these words. I know that God made a beauty when he made me. I sometimes let others control how I am feeling and thinking about who I really am. I know that I have many talents to share with others. One of these talents is the gift of charity. I love to be able to serve others and give to them. It's just who I am. I love to be able to see a need and fill it. In doing this it sometimes appears to others that I am a gossipy, nosey and controlling person. I am sorry that it appears that way. First of all, I know lots of people! I love people. I have lots of friends. I enjoy people and I love knowing more about the person who cleans my office, packs my groceries at the store or who serves me my dinner at a restaurant. People make me happy! I love to serve others! I know I am a beautiful person in God's eyes and that all that matters! By serving others I am able to forget myself and use the talents that God has given me.
So to all of you, "Happy Valentines! I love you! "