When I began this adventure I knew I would be learning a lot of new things, including things I wouldn't expect. Some of the unexpected lessons have already begun to make their mark.
Today I woke up and threw on my milking clothes: leggings, jean shorts, thick socks, muck boots, shirt, sweater, scarf, coat, hat. I washed my face, brushed my teeth and headed out to the dairy all before my fellow housemates were even awake.
I came back covered in raw milk, in need of coffee, but wide eyed and rosey cheeked from the cold north wind sweeping the field. It sounds idyllic, and while it almost is, it's also hard, hard work.
I started making milk marmalade (condenced milk), had breakfast, helped clean out a shed, came back to check the marmalade, went back out to put my boots on, and sat quietly for a moment appreciating where I am. I've never been so busy in the mornings and so calm.
I took my phone out to snap a picture and hit the the front camera by accident. I caught a glimpse of myself and thought oh man, I'm adorable today! And then I stopped. Because by Back At Home standards, this ain't adorable.
Back home I have the time to fret over pimples and dark circles. I feel bad for not wearing makeup to work. Here I don't. I get up each morning focused on the day ahead and not on what people will think if I have a zit on my cheek (which I do).
I have no problem with making yourself up. I do my hair every night before bed, I wear things I think are cute, even if I have to walk through 2ft of manure. There's a bit of moral boosting in taking care of yourself, but that's what it is: taking care of your shell.
And I've suddenly noticed how much more I like me, warts and all. They are MY warts. MY funny crooked lips, MY puffy eye bags, MY drooping eyelid. They aren't flaws. They are me. This is where the Body Acceptance/Self Love ideas fail. They promote "Loving your flaws" when infact these are not flaws, they are shapes unique to you alone. They are what makes you look and feel like you. They tell your story: heritage, parentage, region, hurt, joy. The lines and curves of you spell out a tale for the world to see. Why would you want to eliminate that?
Don't get me wrong, I love my red lipstick and mascara. When I go into town, I'll probably throw some on. But not because I need to, not because I have to, but because I'd like to. I'm no more beautiful with or without. I am me. I was fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the Creator of the Universe. He didn't need help in making me. But I'm allowed to enjoy a little red lipstick.
I've never really been someone who struggled with "body positivity," for lack of a bettee phrase. I didn't go to public school and I was never told I was anything less than perfectly fine the way I was. But even still I will complain about my long nose, tiny eyes, moles, etc. and really that is so so so silly. Why shouldn't I have a long nose? What is wrong with full puffy cheeks? That's the thing I'm beginning to see, is there such a thing as ugly? Cows come in all shapes and sizes. Trees come in all shades and heights. Mountains swoop and climb and are uneven. But no one ever questions their beauty. So then why the hell do we question our own? Those things were made to pronounce the glory and might of the Creator, yet we were made in his image.
The moral is that you don't need to fly half a world away to look in the mirror and know that you are beautiful because you are unique. There will never be another like you.