Hope & I began rocking in the double seat black porch swing we bought at a local garage sale. Hope was straddling my lap & laying her head against my heart. I cherish these rare & calm moments of stillness.
She notices the raised brown mole within the cleavage of my maroon strapless bathing suit & begins pushing on it & saying it feels funny.
She looks up at my face & asks, “What are all those spots on your face, mom?”
I hesitate & I tell her the honest to God truth.
“Well, when mom was a teen, I used to get acne & blemishes & I used to pick & squeeze at my face. Each time I would mess with those bumps, they would leave a scar. Over the years, those scars have darkened & have not disappeared. Let’s just call them beauty marks, Hope. Ya know, I’ve been living in this skin of mine for almost 39 years & you have only lived in yours for 5.”
I’ve picked & prodded & obsessed over my face over the years. I’ve used cover up & foundation & powered & face products of all kinds. & then I got tired of it, so I stopped trying so damn hard.
Last week, my family of 4 attended a first communion celebration. It was a pool party. I put on a cute outfit & wore full makeup. I never ever wear makeup, except on the weekends & date nights.
I felt pretty. Hope wore her bathing suit to the party & was ready to jump in with both feet & both arms. She’s a fish! She urged me to do the same. The pool was full of kids, not an adult in sight. I decided I did not care & went to change into my coral & black one piece bathing suit.
Was talking to a pretty gal at the party. She looked cute in a black romper & wedges. She, too, had full makeup on & her hair done. We got to chatting as her two older kids splashed around in the shallow end with Hope. I reached into my wicker purse & pulled out baby wipes & quickly removed any trace of makeup. I didn’t think twice about it.
“Wow, you are brave to do that. I could never ever do that. My face is a mess without makeup. Yours still looks good.”
I shook my head and mentioned how beautiful she was, as is, & quickly wondered if her 10 year old daughter had heard the conversation. Made me a little sad.
Why are we so hard on ourselves as women? Why do we think we are less beautiful without makeup? Why would a silly thing like makeup determine whether we were beautiful or not? Why do we feel we have to hide our makeup less faces?
I hopped in the pool knowing my face was no better than my friend’s without makeup. I have plenty of flaws. We all have imperfections. None of us have flawless skin. I just choose not to care anymore.
I was the only adult in the pool at the crowded party. & I just did not care. For a single moment, I hesitated when Hope said, “Mama, do a pencil jump off of the diving board.”
She would not jump until I did. & so with many lookers, as the party guests were mostly gathered outside right next to the pool, I did it. & because I was brave, Hope did a pencil jump after.
When we are brave, even when uncomfortable, we open the door for someone else to be brave, too.
Do not be afraid to walk around without makeup. You were born into this world without makeup & you were perfectly made just as you are.
I have my insecure moments when I doubt my beauty & when I question why I can’t be skinnier or more perky-breasted, but I am who I am because I’ve lived & have breastfed two beautiful children for 4 years combined. So what if I’m not as perky or as clear-faced as I once was. It certainly does not mean I am less beautiful- just means I’ve lived life, fully.
Beauty marks are on my face, not blemish scars. So, from now on, I’m going to call them beauty marks.
May you be brave & show your true self to the world because, truly, there is nothing quite as beautiful as showing who you really are, & that includes saggy breasts & blemish scars.