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.