Friday, August 27, 2010

The Best Thing I Got From BlogHer

Here’s the thing: I don’t like pictures of myself.

A long time ago I heard that when a person sees a group photo, their eyes always go straight for the image of themselves, therefore revealing how self-centered people really are. While the looking-for-yourself thing may be true, I don’t know that it reveals that we’re self-centered. But there you have it. I have found that for myself, I avoid looking at photos of myself almost always. Once years ago during a visit to my brother’s newlywed apartment in Springville I saw that a photo including yours truly was on display. I started to shake and tears began to fall, that’s how upset I was at seeing it.

That’s how it’s been for years.

And you can draw your own conclusions as to what it has meant in the self-esteem arena.

A week or two before my trip to New York City I found myself at the mall. Shopping for myself requires a peptalk and a self-imposed time minimum, else I’ll run away without anything, so as I approached Banana Republic I took a deep breath and mumbled to myself, “Three minutes.” I stepped into the store and headed directly to the back of the store (clearance), when . . . “Aaaaaaaahh!” (that’s the sound of angels singing) The clouds parted and a beam of light shone on my dress. It was hanging there just for me, on the end of a sales rack of clothing Not My Size. I took it to the dressing room, confirmed that it’s the dress for me, bought it, and then ran away.

Friday night in NYC arrived, the BlogHer/Kirtsy Gala and art auction. Dress ironed, I put it on; looked good, felt great.


I walked around the Gala and then stepped outside to head to another party at another hotel. That is to say, I stepped outside at the PERFECT moment because it was then that I ran into my friend Jessica Bern. As she and I crossed the street together, she said, “You look really hot. Like, really hot.” I thanked her. And she kept bringing it up and complimenting the way I looked that night. One phrase she used a few times, and this is the phrase which stuck with me: “You are a voluptuous beauty.”

Voluptuous Beauty. I tossed those words over and over again in my mind. Out of pure habit, I should have filed away or disposed of such a compliment, but I couldn’t let this one go. Part of me really wanted to believe her. In fact, part of me was aching to believe her. Besides, as a general rule, one should always believe anything Jessica Bern says.

On Saturday evening, I decided to take a walk, solo, around a bit of the city. I sat in Rockefeller Plaza and watched people – eating, planning, snapping photos, laughing, shopping, planning Their Night In The City. I continued to stroll around, and I considered: Voluptuous Beauty. I realized I’d have to look at each word on its own. Voluptuous: what’s that supposed to mean? Heavy? Fat? Big-Boned (with Big Meat surrounding those Big Bones)? I couldn’t choose, and decided to postpone that one. Beauty: For the first time in a long time, I could accept this one. I had felt beauty when I wore that dress. I had felt beauty when Jessica said it. I decided to own that one. Back at my hotel room, I opened my laptop and looked for a definition of Voluptuous to fit me, and that’s when I found this: sensuously pleasing or delightful: voluptuous beauty. There it is.

I felt it, and I heard it. Still, as far as believing it . . . I needed more.

That night . . . well, you know what happened that night. It was the dancing. The being myself while dancing with friends, it was so freeing and awesome. While dancing on the stage near the DJ, my friend Justin Hackworth took some pictures of my friends and me. I remember thinking at the time, “I hope I get to see those photos, because tonight I feel like me, and I feel awesome, and I want to know what that looks like.”

The next day Justin published one of the photos on his blog, and guess what.

I saw it.

I looked at the photo without squirming or looking away. I saw myself. Amongst the people in the picture, I am by no means the most thin, the most put together, certainly not the best dressed, nor the most conventionally attractive. But I saw it.

Because of circumstances surrounding a dress, a friend’s compliments, and another friend’s photo – feeling, hearing, seeing - I finally, finally got it.



I am beautiful.

36 comments:

LKP said...

yes my dear, you are very much beautiful! what i loved most from your earlier dancing video? your confidence. your sheer joy. THAT is beauty!

and jessica knows her stuff!!! (:

Gerb said...

So, you have discovered what many of us have known all along. Own it, ~j.

And thanks for the happy cry. I think we're all there at some point.

Heather of the EO said...

TRUE DAT!!!

I LOVE this.

And yes, one must always believe Jessica Bern...no one says it like it is like Jessica Bern.

voluptuous means HOT. Not fat, heavy or big-boned. HOT. Bewbs...body...HOT.

There. I said it like it is too. Don't worry, I don't stare at your bewbs.

MDTaz said...

Yes you are beautiful and so is this post.

Sister Pottymouth said...

Yes. To all of it. But especially to your last sentence.

Erica said...

Carrying the confidence of known beauty makes you that much more beautiful. What a wonderful realization!

And seriously, watching the joy on your face while you danced was beauty in itself.

Steph said...

You are gorgeous my friend. You just spill beauty from all your pores. You have an infectiously wonderful attitude and are truly marvelous. LOVE YOU!

Kalli Ko said...

that dress is HOT, I love it!

and of course, you in all your voluptuousness

Kalli Ko said...

also, I'd make out with you if that's how I swang

I'm just sayin

crackersin said...

I think that the greatest lessons we learn about ourselves are when we least expect them...and aren't friends fab for helping us to realize who we really are! Thanks for sharing this in depth post about you finding a new piece of you! FYI: it was always there (your beauty), but it is a happy day when we (as women) can actually see it & feel it:)

Shell said...

You don't give yourself enough credit! You ARE beautiful, you always have been and always will be. Love ya!

Kristina P. said...

You know our friend, Jessica. She tells it like it is. And she is right! You look hot! I've always thought you were gorgeous.

Justin Hackworth said...

You are beautiful. Truer words were never spoken.

Danielle said...

You certainly are beautiful! We are all beautiful in our own way, no matter what others think on the outside.

Through BlogHer, and meeting you, not only are you beautiful on the outside, but you are truly beautiful on the inside!

You go girl!

Kara said...

I have sat here for quite awhile trying to figure out to express the thoughts and feelings this post has stirred in me. I finally decided to just say thanks for posting it and amen to what already has been said. You have truly given me food for thought for myself and as I try to raise my girls.

wendysue said...

Not even that H.O.T. dress can top that last line.

Emily said...

I thought you were beautiful the moment I started reading your blog and then thought it again when I met you in person. It's about time you believe it as well. And voluptuous? Hell, yes!

Annette Lyon said...

I think I need to cry now. Fabulous post. Thanks.

Judi said...

what a wonderful post, thank you.
I hope that maybe someday I too can do that.

cw said...

Yes you are. I see it every time I am with you. One of the greatest of my heart's desires for you (for a few more of my favorite friends also) is that you could see yourself the way the people who love you--people like me--see you. Sounds like you did. That makes me happy in my heart.

Azúcar said...

Word.

WV: promama. Yup.

this week for dinner - jane maynard said...

awwww jenny....love the post. love the picture. love your dancing (and I mean LOVE your dancing) and love you!!!! you gorgeous mama.

I am now stealing that picture from justin and putting on my facebook page so I can never forget it and all the beautiful friends in that photo...soooo happy to know you.

vanessa said...

oh now this is my favorite post of yours now...I always feel so happy when one of my friends seems themselves as I do or as others do around them.

Mrs. Organic said...

I love it. And I love that now you know what awesome looks like - what we've all been seeing this whole time. You are beautiful.

Luvvie said...

You ARE beautiful! :-D You were one of the highlights of BlogHer!

Lisa Stone said...

Oh Jenny, you are a voluptuous beauty. What a gorgeous post.

Tauni said...

Oh J. I now wish you would have overheard Kim and I as the three of us walked through the expo hall at BlogHer...sigh. It was a bit loud in there.

Me: I don't know why J has that post on her blog about her photo...you know, the one about how she uses an old photo because she doesn't like photos of herself. She is so pretty.

Kim: I agree. Not only is she beautiful, but she is amazing too!

You are lovely and I am so glad to have met you! Let's hang out again soon. And this time, let's take lots of photos of ourselves :)

Jen said...

so awesome.

Lolli said...

I LOVE, love, love this post! And you ARE beautiful!

Naomi Miles said...

So true!

Geo said...

You're preachin' to the choir. xo

Lucrecia said...

Jenny,
You most certainly are beautiful! You have a most curvaceous figure that's so womanly and sexy. Yes, I said sexy :)
It's amazing how transformed we feel when we find that perfect dress, right?
Work that girl! :)

Amy said...

you did get some great pictures of you. Congrats on seeing yourself. It's a hard thing to do. You look great and I agree with Jessica.

Shar said...

Voluptuously beautiful! You really are. And that dress if off the hizzle. I love it and you look great in it!

Momza said...

This was really good. All of it.
So honest. So how I feel. Thanks for sharing!

Amy Hackworth said...

Oh, Jenny, this is a beautiful post. I'm so glad you wrote it, so glad you FELT it.

I, too, loved your dress.

I, too, noticed your vibe on that dancing evening, even before the Big Dance. You were you, totally happy and in the groove. It was joyful to be with you!

Love to you!

Amy