A few weeks ago, I received an email from my friend Jane Patterson, who lives in Australia. I like to say that Jane is one of the most beautiful spirits I will probably never meet. Jane told me about a woman, Natalie McComas, who was doing a photographic series called Beautiful in this Skin. According to Natalie, this series “portrays subjects with dramatic, visible birthmarks and explores the effects this has had on their lives and psyches. This series celebrates these unique skin formations whilst also inspiring those, who may have a similar condition, to feel special and beautiful in their own skin.”
Jane shared this with me for two reasons. First, it seemed to fit in with this month’s theme of empowerment and secondly, because her daughter in law Patience was one of the young women photographed for this series. What was amazing for me was that in looking at her, what I was struck by was not her birthmark, which is clearly visible, but the spirit, beauty, and mystery which seemed to flow from her eyes. There is a beauty, which emanates from her and draws one in.
Jane’s daughter in law Patience, views her birthmark as her “super power.” She said, “I love my birthmark’s spectrum of colour. When I’m warm it’s a kind of red-purple, like the colour of some plums and when I’m cold it’s a vivid, almost neon blue. I also like how it’s a kind of protective barrier protecting me against non-accepting and unthoughtful people.”
Natalie, in reflecting on her work with Patience said, “The fact that Patience sees her birthmark as a SUPER-POWER not a disability is inspiring many, many people.” Natalie’s website is filled with stories from others who have come to know that what makes them beautiful is what is on the inside. Through their own journeys, their birthmarks became their SuperPowers, which protected them from those who were not able or willing to take the time to get to know them as human beings.
Society has tried to engrain in us an image of beautiful that does not even exist, as we know from the multiple documentaries and stories about the computerized editing of men’s and women’s bodies and appearances to the space they do not even look like themselves. When one’s physical appearance, whether it is due to a birthmark, a disability, or some other external feature, challenges what society has deemed as normal, life can create challenges for people to learn how to deal with the judgment and the discrimination. It is through these experiences, however, that one learns how to tap into one’s Super Powers and give thanks for the Universal Protection, which removes judgmental people from one’s life.
Beauty is more then skin deep; it is internal. What makes us beautiful is what is in our heart and soul and the energy we put forth into the world. When I asked friends, from various circles, what makes someone beautiful; these were some of their responses.
· A positive attitude about life
· Smiling with one’s heart
· Appreciation of the simple things in life
· The way they treat animals, nature, and people
Whether we are looking at others or ourselves, may we remember a person’s innermost beauty lives within them. That internal beauty comes through in smiles that can light up the world, eyes that sparkle, random acts of kindness, the way one lives in the world, and the way we interact with all whether they are human beings, animals, or the environment. Whether we have a visible birthmark or not, may we all tap into the same Super Power that Patience has which will protects us from situations and people who will not have the senses to appreciate our beauty.