Does the word “beautiful” define you?
Let’s talk about beauty. The hard fact is, as a woman diagnosed, it’s not uncommon to feel a sense of loss when it comes to our looks. I mean come on, when your hair starts falling out, your body is either increasing or decreasing in size, your face is expressing the enormity of stress by the monstrosity of wrinkles, and your doctor is painting on more and more scars, it’s natural to not feel attractive anymore. Not only have I struggled with not feeling beautiful through this diagnosis, but also not feeling comfortable in my own skin.
Currently, this is one of the largest topics in the world. Society is driven by physical appearance and beauty. It’s sweeping the covers of every magazine. Fashion, makeup, hair, and the perfect weight is probably on the top of every woman’s priority list. No? …Maybe it’s just me. From birth, we are trained to allow society to define our personal beauty. Our “look” must fit into the world’s ideals. Sure, some people don’t abide by the “rules”, but we all care what everyone else thinks of us.
As a woman who has valiantly fought (and beat) cancer, and has undergone a slew of cancer treatments, I can boldly say that society’s definition of what is beautiful sucks. Where are the women who are proud of who they are and what they look like, regardless of what the world tells them? Where do bald women fit in? Why must our bodies resemble that of a prepubescent twelve year old girl? With as much cancer prevalent in our world, why aren’t there more examples of what true beauty is? Why do we, as women diagnosed, feel like we must cover up our truth? Now, don’t get me wrong. Yes, I wore a wig for a lot of my baldalicious battle. Yes, I am currently working out like a crazy person trying to drop these last twenty pounds. Yes, I wore false lashes when my own grew thin. But, I am continually learning that the world should not be the one to define me.
A few months ago, while waiting for treatment one day and rockin’ my bald dome, a woman approached me and asked if I would like to speak to someone about wigs. She continued by asking if I would also like some hats to cover my head. Although I know she was well-intentioned, I couldn’t help but feel unattractive. Thoughts emerged: Why must I cover this up? Why should I hide the fact that I am fighting for my life? Why does hair matter? Am I not beautiful? Oh, and by the way lady, I already own a wig and several hats. I just chose to be me today. Is that a problem?
Along with beauty comes self-worth. If we can downgrade the world’s voice and upgrade God’s voice, our views would drastically transform. If we can see ourselves through His eyes and not theirs, our truth can be revealed. I am learning that I should embrace my differences with pride. Sure, I have a short G.I. Jane hairstyle going on right now and it brings a lot of attention, but instead of allowing those disproving eyes to seep into my spirit, I counteract them with a smile and remind myself that I am beautiful regardless of what anyone else thinks. Just because it’s uncommon to see women without (or with much less) hair doesn’t mean it’s unattractive. Can we, as women currently baldalicious or rockin’ the buzz cut, set a new standard for the definition of beautiful? In fact, as women with or without a diagnosis, can we help other females find their value within?
We are our worst critics. True. We nitpick every fault we have and oftentimes shine light on those flaws. But we’ve got to stop seeing what we see, and instead, see what God sees. When it comes down to it, we will never be good enough for ourselves. But we are good enough for him…more than enough. God sees us without flaws; After all, He was the one to create us. We are a custom design that should be esteemed, not shamed. Hair or no hair, size fourteen or size two, blue or brown eyes, black or white skin, tall or short, it doesn’t matter. Let me repeat, it does not matter. Do we have a kind heart and gentle spirit? Do we shine light or exude darkness? Are we encouraging to one another? Are we forgiving? Do we choose to find our worth in the world or in Him? Now that’s what really matters.
So I ask again, are you beautiful?
1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Susie GoodewOctober 11, 2012 at 10:15 AM (11 years ago)
bkitchOctober 11, 2012 at 10:40 AM (11 years ago)
Wow! Great post!Reply
AliOctober 11, 2012 at 2:17 PM (11 years ago)
You are a true beauty inside and out. I remember when I first saw the picture of you and Matt and your shaved heads and I thought, “Stephanie, you little turkey, OF COURSE you look beautiful bald.” (you too Matt) That lady wanting to cover your head, just like our OB who reacted poorly to our newborn with Down syndrome, simply has a problem or insecurity herself that she’s trying to project on you. You said it much more eloquently, but I’m glad ‘you’re rubber and she’s glue,’ and you let these things bounce off and not stick to your heart. Love you!!!Reply
NotDownOrOutOctober 11, 2012 at 4:48 PM (11 years ago)
Thanks for the reminders about what really matters in life. I think of the character in Lethal Weapon 3 played by Rene Russo. She and the Mel Gibson character take turns showing their scars. Each is umpressed by bullet holes, knife wounds, and other injuries that the other has suffered. I have some scars from my battle with cancer and I earned them. There were incisions, needles, burns, poisons, and other marks. Some of the wounds have healed and some may never do so. I am proud to have survived my injuries. I’m also getting older. They say free radicals cause aging. If so, then I’m proud to say that I’ve sometimes run with a bad crowd. I’ve hung out with some free radicals. They don’t bother me. Do we really care what people think of us if they are incapable of seeing our ferocious beauty? We have fought for our lives ladies and gentlemen. That’s beauty.Reply
PapaOctober 11, 2012 at 9:50 PM (11 years ago)
You are beautiful my wonderfully wise granddaughter. Keep growing in your wisdom and understanding. Your question, Am I beautiful? Well for a nearly 75 year old grandfather I don’t know! What does the world expect? Probably something to buy to make me more beautiful in the so called worlds view. I’m only interested at this point is if my Lord Jesus Christ Judges my heart to be. I want my heart to be beautiful!Reply
GingerOctober 13, 2012 at 10:29 PM (11 years ago)
I can’t see past your dazzling smile to notice if you have hair or not – you are always beautiful (and cute) to me. honestly! Thanks for helping those of us who have not gone through this to learn.Reply