You’re Already Beautiful

Margaret

She was just a little old lady… gray haired, wrinkled, and shaky… but she changed my life that day. We only talked for about 30 minutes, but her words and her spirit spoke years of wisdom to my heart.

It was a hot day in June, three years ago. I was sitting at my favorite sub shop, sipping Dr. Pepper, munching on a Roast Beef and Muenster, streaming music through my ear buds, and punching out words on my laptop. I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up, pulled out my ear buds, and smiled at the old woman standing at my side.

“May I sit with you?” she asked.

“Um. Sure.” It seemed like a strange request to me, seeing that there were at least 15 other tables that were perfectly clean and available. I closed up my laptop and cleared my trash out of her way.

“I’m Margaret.” She stated as she sat down across from me.

I smiled again. “I’m Elyssa.”

She reached across the table and patted my hand. “I hope you don’t mind me interrupting your study time. I’m getting old. All my siblings and friends are gone. I get lonely sometimes. I have to find new friends to keep me company.”

I awkwardly pulled my hand out from hers and gave her hand a pat or two. “Oh. I don’t mind at all. I wasn’t studying… just doing a little free time writing just for the fun of it. Nothing important.”

“Oh, anything you do just for fun is important. It’s part of who you are. And being you is the most important accomplishment.” She unwrapped her sandwich and continued to chat, talking about her children, her deceased husband, her accomplishments in life, her joys and her trials. She talked as if we were long lost friends.

I laughed with her and cried with her. I soaked in her every word. She was life as it was meant to be lived… holding nothing back.

“Oh Honey,” she sighed. “You’re probably bored stiff listening to an old lady jabbering on about her puny memories.”

I gave her a genuine reassuring smile. “Quite the contrary. I’ve enjoyed every moment. I think the older generation is a treasure. They’re like walking, breathing novels just waiting to be read… full of wisdom and experience.”

Once again, she reached across the table and laid her hand on mine. “Then hear this, dear. I noticed you studied each woman who has walked in here. You rated them as if you were a judge at a beauty pageant. If they were fatter and uglier than you, relief was written all over your face. If you deemed them equal to you, you would smile, happy that you had company in your misery. If you deemed them skinnier or better looking than you, you’d sigh with longing.”

I blushed and wondered what she was getting at.

She looked me straight in the eye. “Sweetheart, do you want to be beautiful?”

I hesitated. “Y-yes.”

“What would you do if you were beautiful?” she questioned.

I thought for a minute, and then answered, “I’d act like it. I’d walk like I was beautiful. I’d dress like I was beautiful. I’d care for my body like I was beautiful. I’d live a life that was beautiful.” I wasn’t sure where those words came from… maybe from something deep down inside me that I never realized existed.

She squeezed my hand tightly. “Honey, you’re already beautiful. The world’s just waiting for you to act like it.”

She gathered her trash, tossed it in the bin, and walked out the door. I’ve never seen her again, but I hear her words every morning as I look in the mirror.

Since that day, I’ve dressed like I’m beautiful, walked like I’m beautiful, and lived like I’m beautiful. And because I’m beautiful, I’ve made beautiful choices. Choices that have changed my health, my relationships, and my outlook on life.

I don’t know if that dear lady is still alive, but I do know that no matter where she is, it’s beautiful there, and thanks to her words of wisdom, it’s beautiful everywhere I go.

 

Photo Credit

*While this story is in the first person, it is entirely fictional.

Comments

  1. Now if I can just remember that every day! :)

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