My beautiful sister, Linda
By the time you reach my age, you’ve been through some stuff in your life. A few months ago, I started to notice people I know apologizing for the way they look. When seeing photographs on Facebook, I saw comments like, “I don’t look the same since _______________.” Fill in the blank – it could be any number of things – “since I had cancer”, “since I had to take care of my terminally-ill parents” or “husband”, “since my accident”, “since my surgery”, etc. These are all scary and challenging events, and they change us, but they certainly don’t take away our beauty.
I’ve read comments where people apologize about the fact that they don’t look like they did when they were young or thin or in high school. Trust me – none of us look like we did when we were teenagers! In many ways, we look better than we did when we were awkward teenagers.
I’m sad to see someone apologize for the way they look because it makes me think that they don’t see how truly beautiful they really are. There is a saying that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” (Nietzsche). Basically, you come out of an adverse experience stronger that you were before. There is beauty that comes from that strength.
One of my favorite authors is Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. She was a psychiatrist who studied death, dying and grief, and her books were a great comfort to me when my mother was dying 25 years ago. There are many inspirational quotes attributed to her, but there is one that speaks to my message here: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Dr. Kübler-Ross also said, “The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.” As a portrait photographer, my mission is to help anyone who doesn’t see how truly beautiful they are. I am always thrilled to show a person, through stunning portrait images, how others see them. I also want to give people a platform to share their challenges, so I have added a link, called “Beauty in Strength”, to my website.
I am starting with my own sister, who is a cancer survivor. She took an unconventional approach to dealing with her challenge, and she was excited when I asked her if she would be interested in sharing her experience. Please take a moment to read her story on my website. By the way, she is one of the most beautiful people I know!