This picture was taken on the morning of my cousin (and best friend) Mikal’s wedding.
I had showered, washed my face, and hurried out the door to go and get my hair and make-up done.
When I arrived at the salon with a picture in hand of the way I wanted my fancy “up do” to look, my stylist, Michelle, asked if she could snap a before picture and an after picture. I agreed, of course, thinking I’d like to look at the transformation. While I was tapping away at my phone and running through the speech I’d written for the ceremony, Michelle showed me the before picture and commented “You’re so beautiful!” and handed me her camera. I looked at the picture and saw that it was really a picture of me.  The real me. The girl who runs around in a tank and jeans and lets her hair air dry and get curly. The girl who takes good care of her skin and looks better with a healthy post-run glow than a lot of make-up. The girl with the big brown eyes and straight white teeth, who makes sure to smile a lot.
I have, like many young women, struggled with self esteem issues. I never felt good enough, tall enough, thin enough. And I struggled with an eating disorder for close to a decade because of it. Now, two years later, I can love things about myself that I never knew I could. My toned shoulders. My smile. My eyes. My hair. My perseverance and strength. My heart.
I thought I looked pretty at the wedding. But this picture is, in my opinion, the best I’ve ever taken.
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6 thoughts on “Marykate

  1. You are beautiful. What makes you special is that your beauty comes from within, from who you are. You have a heart that is full of love for everyone and you share that love on a daily basis with a kind word, a smile, encouragement to someone in need, money to those less fortunate (even when you have to go without to do it), support for your friends, and most importantly you reach out to strangers and most likely make their day just by acknowledging their being, their importance, their life. When you and your sister were growing up, I had a sign in the kitchen that read, “all I want for my children is to grow up to be beautiful in the heart.” I am so proud of who you are and your most beautiful heart.
    Love, Mom

  2. What a beautiful, poised young lady you are! I can see why your mother is proud of you. And she is right, your beauty comes from within. But for the record, the outside looks pretty terrific. As the mother of a 19 year old daughter who suffers with self-esteem issues, I am glad to see that there are young women out there who are great role models. I am from the “women’s lib” generation and it has disheartened me in the past few years to see women who denegrate themselves by using terms like “chick” or “whore” to describe themselves. I am so grateful that there are women out there who value themselves. Keep up the good work!

  3. Marykate,
    Thank you so much for all you have done. Thank you for being my cheerleader and my person to lean on. You have been my rock and become more than just a mentor to me. This is such a beautiful post and I am so glad that you told me about it. I love you to pieces and there are no words to say how grateful I am towards you. You’re kind of like my guardian angel and I know that I can go to you with anything and your caring personality is something that makes you so very beautiful.
    XoXo -Morgan-

  4. I just Stumbled upon this page, and I love it! I was so confused because I thought this was the *after* picture at first. You’re gorgeous!

  5. I ‘Stumbled’ onto this page too, again I thought the after shot was was the one displayed at first! You are incredibly beautiful!

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