In The Eye of the Beheld

they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, well that is a

LIE.

As you can tell from the title of this entry, I completely disagree with the cliche quote "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Certainly, what I find beautiful may not be the case from someone else's perspective, however the beauty I see in myself can only be determined by ME. I am the beholder when I look in the mirror and the beheld by the outside world. This post is about the way I (the beheld) see myself through your (the beholder's) eyes.

 About a week ago, after watching Jada Pinkett-Smith's Body Confessions Episode of Red Table Talk. I took the suggestion to begin the daily ritual of standing in the mirror and saying three things I love about my body. As Jada stated on the episode, women are so quick to say the things they hate about the way they look  but they struggle with saying the things they loved about themselves. I could admit, scrolling through Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter I would constantly compare the way I looked to every pretty face and snatched body I came across. Often times I would follow beautiful women on social media just so I could scroll in awe of how gorgeous they are, not realizing the severe damage I was doing to my own self-esteem. I was zooming in on abs, double tapping on asses and saving hairstyles for textures that were nowhere near my own. Constantly pinpointing things I did not like about myself. I was researching ways to get rid of stretch marks, searching for workouts that would give me a bigger booty, and even non surgical procedures to rid me of cellulite and excess fat. After relating so well to what Jada said about never complimenting yourself, I decided to make a change.

I immediately got up, walked into my bathroom, stepped in front of my mirror and stripped down to the only thing I was wearing when I came into this world. I didn't suck in my stomach to picture myself ten pounds lighter, nor did I turn to my good side and strike a flattering pose. I stood facing forward in all my natural nakedness and eyed my body from head to toe. I set my hands on my waist and trailed them down my hips, I turned around to see the curve in my back and and the natural slope of my shoulders. I admired myself in a way that was both quizzical and understanding. I had a familiarity with the way that I looked naked, but I had never looked thoroughly at myself without at least one negative thought. I began to list three things I loved about the way my body looked and blushed back at myself as if I'd never heard a greater compliment. I was almost smitten with the person telling me these sweet somethings and in that moment I lost my self-love virginity.

The next day I vowed to do the same thing, and over the course of a week I lost about fifteen pounds! Kidding I did not actually lose fifteen pounds, but when I looked at myself every morning I felt as if I did, my stomach no longer looked like I need to start eating nothing but kale nor did my stretch marks seem like something that needed to be erased (I actually have grown fond of a particular set of them), and I no longer looked at myself with such strong scrutiny. Instead I've noticed a lightness in my steps, a genuine excitement to see this person every day, the smile they put on my face every morning, the way they their fingers trace my former "imperfections" and admire them. In a week's time, I started to fall in love with myself, and once you fall in love you never want that feeling to end.

Fast forward to yesterday, I had a new acquaintance try to steal that love away from me, someone who I believe God placed in my life to test my new found self confidence. Someone who if they had said what they said two weeks ago would have had me criticizing everything about myself. Someone who's comments I quickly dismissed as their own personal insecurities because I know my new love far greater than they do. Someone who solidified to me that my beauty will never be placed in the eye of the beholder, but in the beheld.

 

Cashondra Roberson