She exuded “confidence” and seemed to glow with radiance …so graceful. She not only had she captured my attention but everyone else’s who saw her walk into the train. Yes, I immediately started to turn a light shade of green..envious. I knew I shouldn’t of had that donut this morning as I started to sit upright in my seat, suck in my stomach and attempted to inconspicuously pull up my spanks. Ugh…I feel like such a zero right now.
I am sure you can relate to having one of those days where everything starts off wrong only for it to have a monopoly affect on your entire day. Well, of course this one particular day that was my situation. I had a 9am meeting to get to at my job in the city and luckily for me I decided to get up a ½ an hour earlier than my usual time. Good thing I did because my old car (the one I am trying desperately to hold on to avoid car note payments) decided that it wasn’t going to start no matter how sweetly I spoke to it “C’mon baby please, please start for mommie”.. Needless to say, off to the train station I went.
Now at that point it was a race against time. When I finally made it to the train and got settled in for the 35 minute ride, I began to check my blackberry for any new emails. However, right before the screen turned on, I saw the reflection of my disheveled appearance (tussled hair, smudged lipstick) and just rolled my eyes..ugh! I felt like I looked like a crazy woman. Excellent. I sighed and started to check my emails. Just as I finally seem to somewhat catch my bearings and think positive thoughts, this woman walks into the train and she is absolutely STUNNING! Fabulous. Great. Now all my insecurities are starting to resurface (ie. Run in my panty hose, oily skin, stringy hair, fading nail polish on toes and hands). So I did what a lot of women tend to do, I proceeded to break her down bit by bit into little components.
My thoughts went like this:
- Skin: absolutely flawless-; “barely there” make-up on.
- Hair: shoulder length layers, perfectly coiffed with little ringlets of soft curls framing her face.
- Size: somewhere around a size 6. Looks in shape- not a bulge in sight.
- Outfit: very figure flattering pencil skirt- with a gorgeous black blazer under beautiful string pearls.
- Shoes: cute it complemented her entire outfit. Heels were probably 2 inches.
- Nails: manicured.
Her stance exuded “confidence” and she seemed to glow with radiance -so graceful. She not only captured my attention but everyone else’s who saw her walk into the train. Yes, I immediately started to turn a light shade of green..envious. Mental thought: I knew I shouldn’t of had that donut this morning as I started to sit upright in my seat, suck in my stomach and tried to inconspicuously pull up my spanks. I felt like such a zero.
So what did I do next? I am ashamed to admit it but I started to look for a flaw. Why? To make me feel better. Yes, I knew that was silly, childish, and very caddy. Yet, this was the very, carnal, very human part of me. The part that I take my sling shot to and fight off every single day. Why couldn’t I have looked at her beauty and simply admired it while I continued to check my emails? Why was I sitting there allowing myself to go on a mental journey about this beautiful woman standing across from me and trying to find her kryptonite? Why?
Simply and yet sadly, it was my insecurity(ies) mixed with the kind of day I was starting to have. I felt rushed, annoyed and just inconvenienced. This woman walks in from Shangri-la and illuminates the whole train caboose. Okay I admit it, I was jealous. I quickly shut my eyes and realized that I had to refocus. I could no longer entertain such thoughts so I began to recall one of my favorite scriptures whenever I felt a pang of jealously. “My beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” [1Peter 3:3-4]. Okay so I knew the inner can be reflected on the outer and it’s not always about the outer although we need to take care of the outer. Yet, what is most important and more substantive is what is stored up in the inner (my heart, my way of being). Got it ~ Okay I am back! I think I struck down (notice I didn’t say kill but struck down) the beast of ENVY. So with that thought in the forefront of my mind, I opened up my eyes smiled and made sure that when the train stopped to compliment her.
Ironically enough we both got off at the same stop and headed in the same direction. I mustered courage enough to approach and compliment her. She smiled said “thank you” followed by “the funny thing is that I was actually admiring you”. Mental thought: “Sure you were” Although I appreciated the compliment. She went on to reveal that she had been out of work for 2 ½ years and left her hometown of Ohio looking for a fresh start but most importantly a job. Her younger sister who had lived in NY for five (5) years convinced her to come live with her and try her chances in the city. She was on her last round of interviews with this particular company and was hoping that the ending result of meeting with the CEO would in turn produce an offer. She had been interviewing for close to a year and was starting to lose hope. She also said that she was tired of being considered either under qualified or over qualified..
Then something strange happened…
As she continued to talk she started to reveal her insecurities. She told me that everything she wore wasn’t even hers but her sister’s clothing. And as “good luck” her sister (get this) an esthetician, gave her a facial and some pampering the night before. As we made our way up to the busy streets of the city from the subway, I encouraged her and said something a little cheesy like, “Let your beauty within shine on the out”. I also said, “May God bless you because he knows what you need even before you ask Him”. I didn’t care if she was a Christian or Atheist my concern was to speak the truth and give hope to someone who was on the brink of hopelessness. She quickly looked down and when she looked back up tears welled in her eyes as she whispered “thanks”. She gave me a hug and we parted ways.
I wish we exchanged our information but sometimes things happen for a reason and we need to trust mighty God to navigate the course of our lives.
That experience humbled me and also made me feel so ashamed. Ashamed that the very carnal me, the very human me is flawed. I realized how often we tear others down because we feel like it will build us up. That experience (amongst many others) proved to be the contrary. Just because a person may look like they have it together doesn’t’ mean they do. My job is not to judge but to remember that we are all fighting the “good fight”. And that fight is often the fight we have within ourselves.
I am beautiful…..beautifully flawed but wonderfully made.
Here’s to kicking off our heels with a steady sling shot in hand!