Project Alicia : I am beautiful.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I am beautiful.

I am 38 years old. I have been married half of my life. When will I be comfortable in my own skin?

And why must it take a tragic story to make me appreciate what I have been given?

Today as I sat in the hair salon reading the latest (to me) edition of People Magazine, I was surprised by the emotions that overtook me. A story of a mother who gave birth to a beautiful baby and then was suddenly stricken with abdominal pains. Three days later her husband took her to the hospital and she slipped into a coma. She had a rare infection. Her husband had the burden of deciding whether or not to permit the doctors to amputate her limbs to save her life. Today she is a quadruple amputee who is happy to be alive. Happy to be able to watch her children climb the milestones of life. Yet the struggles she must endure on a daily basis are monumental. My heart ached for this woman I didn't even know and it was all I could do to fight back tears.

I couldn't help but be grateful for the body that I have. The arms that reach out and embrace my children. My legs that move me at will wherever I want to go- without any effort. Yet I worry over moles and wrinkles. And imperfections.

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(Fan Selfie Shoot inspired by Ashley of Ramblings and Photos.)

Just last week I was riding in the car with hubs complaining about one of my physical flaws and he asked me to stop verbally abusing myself. I of course immediately dismissed the notion as ridiculous. It wasn't until later when I was alone that I allowed myself to really explore the idea. Am I?

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I am not sure what happened to me in my childhood that made me so incredibly insecure. I want to love myself. I want to accept myself as I am, but I need to reprogram myself. Not exactly an easy feat.

Jill of Jill Sampter Photography has an I AM BEAUTIFUL project currently in progress. A reason to step outside of our comfort zones and in front of the camera. And make a proclamation to the world.

She writes, "It is time we take back what the world has stolen from us – our worth and beauty just as we are!"

So today, I am embracing the person I am. Just as I am. And proclaiming my worth...

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Thank you Jill for helping me find my courage. I challenge each of you to dig deep inside yourselves and find your worth. Embrace your beauty. And celebrate who you are. You are beautiful!

37 comments:

  1. Sooo Beautiful! Thanks for writing about things that make me think!

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  2. you are not beautiful. you are GORGEOUS.

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  3. You are beautiful, Lish. Your heart is too. Thanks for sharing this. I'm struggling with loving my own reflections staring back at me these days.

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  4. And you are so so beautiful - one of the most beautiful woman I've seen - I'm not kidding. And those fan selfies totally work for you. Weren't they fun?!

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  5. Great post! And you really are beautiful!!!! I only hope and pray I look that beautiful at 38! Thanks for posting this!

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  6. This is a great post! I'm going to show it to my hubby and get him to take some pics of me! Love it!
    Jo-Anna

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  7. I know its hard to see the beauty when we look at the same self in the mirror everyday. I turned 30 last year, and after 2 kids am certainly not what I used to be. Sometimes (ok, often) I miss what my body used to look like, what my skin used to be like. My husband tells me im beautiful everyday- but I often have a hard time believing him when I am looking at my stretch mark covered abdomen.

    but we are- in our own ways- we are beautiful. even if we dont fit the "perfect" we tend to strive for, or feel we should be, we are beautiful.

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  8. You are! Inside as well! Stunning photos! Thanks for the inspiration! I definitely needed it right now as I'm trying to reclaim my body and aren't really happy with the results!

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  9. My favorite post by far. Your pictures are fabulous and your are beautiful. Very empowering! It's posts like this that make me want to open my blog up and stand outside my box. Great job Lish!!

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  10. You ARE gorgeous. These shots are amazing!!!

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  11. Well, the thing is, you really are beautiful, A.

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  12. i think you have what dr phil would call a negative dialogue playing over in your head, and only u can change that. you ARE beautiful! these photos just prove it

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  13. It's so awesome that you are being so transparent with an issue that ALL of us women deal with, I believe, especially since when I first stumbled across your blog here months ago, I was struck by how beautifully striking you are as a photographer. I guess I don't think that typically photographers are as beautiful as their work...and yet YOU ARE so much so! I pray that you not only find continued security in your own skin but in your own deep inner beauty!

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  14. Wow, what a story about the woman losing her limbs. The brief review you have of it here is incredibly moving.

    I think all of us (men and women) struggle with images of our physical being. Goes back to Genesis 3. I have a brief description of this in the first part of the following article, if you have time to read it (http://warrenbaldwinbiblefountain.blogspot.com/2009/04/blessed-fountain.html)

    Society teaches us to focus upon ourselves. Advertising expertise seeks to produce dissatisfaction within ourselves, so we will buy their products. But we buy more than their products: we buy their lies that we are incomplete, unworthy, and undesirable. This affects all of us - men and women.

    Good post. I follow Jill's blog and have been reading about her campaign. It is good. wb

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  15. GOOD GOSH, Lish! You are truly BEAUTIFUL!!
    also love the new look of your blog.

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  16. Alicia your photos are wonderful. I've had similar conversations with my husband. I'm working on changing that :)

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  17. What can I say other than agree wholeheartedly with your statement? Yes, yes you really are :-)

    Aside from anything else, the way you capture the most exquisite works of art with your bare hands holding a little box of plastic and metal and glass in them has been one of my biggest inspirations of late.

    And I think at some level you must be in tune with beauty to recognise it around you, just like you do. Embrace your beauty, it emanates from you! xx

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  18. Beautiful post and beautiful portraits! Isn't it crazy how we can do that to ourselves? You are beautiful :)

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  19. You are a knock out! Don't tell me I'm wrong!

    PS- If I'm either a) ever famous or b) ever in Iowa or c) we're ever in the same place at the same time, will you please do a photo shoot of me? Your pictures are unbelievable!!!

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  20. You ARE beautiful! Seems to be the general consensus around here anyway. Didn't you get the memo? ;)

    I have such a hard time accepting myself, too. And I know that to an extent there are things I should not simply accept. But my nose, which I hate? It's there for good. So's my chin and my hair and my moles. I have to get over it.

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  21. you ARE beautiful! and the compassion you show towards others is beautiful! You've inspired me to tag along with this idea. Have a beautiful day!

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  22. Great post, beautiful pictures too! You are beautiful! i have spent the last week at the hospital with my mom who is recovering from knee surgery (she is 84) This experience has been a huge reminder that looks mean nothing...there are so many other things of importance...

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  23. you are beautiful! and those are just gorgeous photos! wonderful post!!

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  24. What a beautiful, inspiring post! And you are incredibly beautiful! I know everyone finds flaws in themselves, but its hard to see any in these pics! And I am just like you, I read those stories and feel incredibly moved and grateful for what I have!

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  25. You're gorgeous :) I love these photos.

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  26. You are a beautiful person!! I LOVE your pics!!!

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  27. I am a new reader here to your blog. Love reading and love your photography. Wanted to say that I read that same article and it was so upsetting. :(

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  28. We often take the simplest things for granted. I understand that even beautiful women, like yourself, feel ackward, but for most of us it's hard to understand. Since my illness has taken some of my beauty, ok a lot of it, I have to remember who I am inside. I'm bald on top, have dark skin patches that never used to be there before and I've gained a LOT of weight. Inside I'm still me struggling to get out. Till them I'm grateful for having all my limbs, even though they are often weak, because I can at least hug those I love.

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  29. You are beautiful!
    Your post is beautiful!
    Your daughter is so lucky to have such a great woman role model to look up to!

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  30. These self-portraits are amazing Lish. And you're right, you are beautiful. Inside and out. :)

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  31. These are very cool pictures! And you are very beautiful! But I think I had mentioned it a few times before. ;)
    Oh I exactly know what you mean with being insecure. I think this is a great idea, but I think I couldn´t do that. Growing up in East Germany (This was before the wall came down and we left also before it happend) has giving me lots of insecurities and I´m still working on getting rid of them...

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  32. Thank you so much for sharing that story with us and your GORGEOUS photos! What a beautiful post! I'm thankful you have joined in!

    Blessings and hugs!
    Jill
    PS Love your collages - AWESOME

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  33. Alicia, I love your blog. You remind me so much of myself. You are gorgeous. I love all of your pictures and check your blog daily.

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  34. you really are beautiful! Amazing shots as always!

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  35. You are such a beautiful lady! This is a wonderful post and I feel much the same way about myself - I can be verbally abusive to myself much of the time. I've got a pretty good idea what situations from my childhood made me so insecure, but even knowing that, I still struggle with it. Maybe I'll try some "I Am Beautiful" photos today.

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  36. You are beautiful both inside and out! Thank the Lord for His grace and love!

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