Saturday, June 3, 2017

Autism Answer: Real Beauty (Dove and Shonda Rhymes Want Our Stories)

Shonda Rhimes has partnered with Dove (the personal care brand) and they launched Real Beauty Productions. They have called for submissions and stories, from women of every type, that will help expand the definition of beauty. Stories that will help define beauty in a thoughtful healthy manner. What a valuable and necessary project! 

So, I am sharing my story with you here (yes, I also used their form to share it with Dove) in hopes that you, too, will have a story to share. And if you don't feel that you do, I encourage you to change that! Perhaps have your story now. Make a purposeful shift in how you see and imagine Real Beauty. 

Here's the link that I hope you'll use: #RealBeauty

And here's my story. Hopefully it will get you thinking about yours. 


I was a twenty-three-year-old single mom when I met my now husband of seventeen years. As I watched him fix my mom's car I was immediately attracted to him. Twice my age, rugged, and black as night I responded to his pull by swinging my hips, pinching color into my pale cheeks, and glossing my lips. However, he seemed entirely uninterested. I flirted while he avoided looking at me. I was a little bruised by the rejection but as a single mom dating wasn't easy, so I chose to pretend I was relieved.

Later, when I went into town to pay him for the work he'd done, I dropped the flirting and was comfortably myself. Animated and authentic I playfully complained about missing my sons, who were visiting my sister. The mechanic's demeanor changed and for the first time, he looked at me. "How old are you?" My answer surprised him and he admitted that he'd thought I was much younger. Well, no wonder he hadn't flirted back! But then, also, he continued to tell me more and the reasons for his lack of interest in my swinging hips proved deep and somewhat disturbing.

As a black man growing up in the south he'd learned never to look a white woman in the eye. Responding to my signals could prove dangerous for him, though unlikely dangerous for me. As he shared these things with me I found myself drawn in ever more, but quickly showed it in a new way.

I became more myself. Rather than pout my lips and fling my hair, I displayed my kindness and tossed ideas. We connected by exploring who we were, each of us encouraging the other to dive deeper and discover more. I began to feel more beautiful than I ever had. Who I was and what I did were beautiful and as I flirted with the mechanic a confidence in my beauty grew outward.

My family saw it. My friends saw it. Even I saw it.

The mechanic and I have now been married for seventeen years and we have raised four sons together. This newer understanding of beauty, as a displaying of who I am not how I look, has informed their understanding of beauty. I see it in the way they treat themselves and others.

So it turns out that discovering my own true beauty not only helped me feel gorgeous but also made me a better mom! How wonderful!


Now, I don't know if my story will ever be shared via Real Beauty Productions. But I do know that taking the time to share it helped me feel it. Helped me know it. So, I have benefited! Also, by sharing it here with you (which may disqualify me from being featured by Dove, but that's okay) I have also imagined that maybe you will benefit. I hope so! 

Whether you share your story or not, I absolutely encourage you to take a moment or two to consider your definition of beauty. And if necessary, make a few changes. 

Whatever definition you create for yourself, be sure it recognizes your worth and your real beauty, friends. 

There's no shame in wanting to blossom further but it will be easier and more fun if you recognize your beauty now. 

Happy Saturday beautiful friends!!
Hugs, smiles, and love!!

A small sampling of women in my life that are beautiful.