Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one's self and influence the lives of those around us - our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.
I am scarred.
I have that little, almost invisible scar on my upper lip from when I fell off my bike as a child.
I have a small scar in the crook of my arm, where a razor blade cut me while I was throwing away trash bags at the grocery store I worked at in high school.
I have scars from cutting my ankles while shaving with cheap razors.
Insignificant scars here and there from living day-to-day life.
I have scarred myself: my ears are pierced 3 times on each side, my belly button has been pierced at least 3 times, and I have tattoos that represent things important to me.
I have a scar under each breast from 15 years ago when I 'got my boobs done', hoping it would make me love myself more. Little did I know that although it would improve my self confidence, it wouldn't change anything else.
And I have one big scar that runs across my lower belly that is from the birth of my daughters. The c-section I had to have because they were both breech. I have tried to love that scar, but I can't. It's ugly. You see, my skin keloids, and so the scar is not a thin, flat, straight line, but rather an ugly red, hard, lumpy thing. I can't yet see the beauty of it; that without that scar, the birth of my daughters would've been painful and possibly catastrophic to our lives.
Then there are the scars you can't see ... the ones that hurt more than the pain I went through to accumulate all of my physical scars put together.
I'm talking about the emotional ones.
Scarring others: saying things that I regret; words that can never be taken back and will never be forgotten.
Doing things without thinking to purposely hurt others.
Having those things said to me.
Having those things done to me.
Tears where there should've been laughter.
Not loving myself and allowing others to hurt me.
Hurting myself to make someone else feel better.
Not chasing dreams because I was told that I'd never reach them. That I wasn't good enough.
Being lost and hurt.
Regrets, not many, but enough to leave deep ugly scars like the one on my belly.
Doing things I knew were wrong and hating myself for doing them.
Selling myself short ... not believing in ME.
Not believing in myself and watching opportunities slip by.
Not saying 'I love you' enough before it was too late.
Taking people for granted.
Taking the blessings in my life for granted.
Not cherishing the little time I had to spend with amazing people that made my life better.
Wanting more, but settling for less simply because it was too much work to get what I really wanted.
And as I look at this list, I realize that this is just life. That all of these wounds, some big and some small, are reminders of the life I've led. I've learned something from each and every one of them.
I am trying to love these scars for what they have taught me; not for what I've lost or missed out on. Not for the pain that I caused to others. But from what I learned from them, and now hold in my hands, heart and head.
Because without these scars, where would I be today?
This blogger is also featured on EndlessBeauty.com, a website focused on a fresh look at beauty, from skin to hair to makeup, plus celeb style, fashion, and fitness.Natalie writes at Mommy of a Monster and Twins about her day-to-day life and the chaos that comes with raising a 3-year-old and 1-year-old twins.