Unleashing the Swan
I was only eleven years old when I finally broke down.
For as long as I can remember, I was encouraged to express myself. I was blessed to grow-up in a family of communicators, lead by the example of my incredible mother. As a small child, I was exposed to the power of self-expression and the art of listening. My family would regularly engage in what my mother lovingly referred to as “table talk”. During a table talk, my siblings and I were asked to bring it all to the table. We could speak our hearts aloud - sharing hopes, dreams, fears, concerns, and disputes with each other. It was a beautiful gift, one that I did not have full appreciation for at the time, and because of these table talks, I found power in my voice and empathy in my heart.
But on this day, I felt no power. My heart was aching and my soul was heavy.
As we pulled into the driveway in our family car, I felt the words burst out of me in a rush of blinding pain and agony:
“I feel SO ugly.”
The tears gave way to full sobs and gut-wrenching anguish. My brother and sister looked on in shock – my parents gazed at me with heartbreak in their eyes.
This was the culmination of years of self-doubt and disgust, most of it perpetrated by a society that was built on making me feel less-than, but some of it fueled by everyday pre-teen insecurity. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a nose that was too large and a complexion that was too dark. I didn’t believe I always fit in. And beyond the things that I saw, there were the small microaggressions that I would hear daily, like being told that my mother was so beautiful – “...but you look just like your father.”
The sadness in my parent’s eyes sticks with me to this very day – both the sadness they had for seeing me in so much pain, but also the disappointment that I was unable to see what they saw in me: True beauty.
Many years later, I began to cover my face with makeup in hopes of ‘correcting’ my ‘imperfections.’ In what I believed was self-care, I was instead concealing and giving in to my own insecurities. It was only after my brother looked me in the eye and said the following that I began to come out of my fog:
“One day, you’re going to take off the makeup and you are not going to know who you are.”
He was right.
I had waged war on the image in the mirror, and I had been frantically trying to erase her with makeup – when in reality, she was my best friend and needed me desperately.
What had started with a breakdown as a pre-teen had culminated in a moment of self-awakening: I was not the makeup. The makeup was not what made me beautiful – God made me beautiful, and by denying my own beauty, I was denying His work.
...and there was no turning back.
Something changed that day – my nose was no longer too large, it was adorable. My hair was regal. My complexion was flawless. My eyes were majestic. I. Was. Beautiful.
In the past few years, I have developed a mantra and affirmation that I tell myself daily: “I am beautiful. I am handpicked by God. I will slay every moment of the day.” It was out of the affirmation that Beauty by Bobbie T was born – a desire to help other women trapped in their own Ugly Duckling story to realize they are a Swan. They are beauty, they are grace, they are flawless – no makeup required. The services and the products I provide are merely designed to accentuate the beauty that already exists in my clients every day. In a world that tells us that our uniqueness and our individuality is a flaw, it is my personal mission to remind every woman that she is handpicked by God and her beauty is quite literally divine.
About 2 years ago, I called my parents to thank them – thank them for creating the beautiful woman that I have become. I thanked them for my eyes, my nose, and my skin – but mostly, I thanked them for the power of self-love and expression. I thanked them for my life and for giving me the strength to help other women find their own self-love and appreciation.
So, say it with me now. Go to your mirror and say the following: “I am beautiful. I am handpicked by God. I will slay every moment of the day.”
Because you are.
And you have been.
And you will.