On Tuesday night, I couldn’t quite sleep, so I created a new Spotify playlist. I titled it, “Love Yourself”. It is a mix of songs, like Jazmine Sullivan’s “Masterpiece”, Leah Smith’s “Beautifully and Wonderfully Made”, Erykah Badu’s “Cleva”, “Video” by India.Arie (of course), and other “feel good” jams.
I love making playlists because the process reminds me of being in middle school: spending hours on Windows Media Player and burning infinite mix CD’s of R&B and one-hit wonders from the 2000s (Pop Lock and Drop It!). These days, I sometimes feel a pang of regret for not holding onto those expertly curated mixes.
Pure nostalgia wasn’t the catalyst behind my recent Spotify usage though. The truth is I haven’t felt beautiful this week. Rather, I struggled to feel content and grateful for how I am. I easily identified weaknesses and shortcomings, which draped over me like a waterfall and distorted my reflection in the mirror. The inability to grasp my beauty discouraged my self-confidence and diminished my energy. In essence, a battle against fear, of not being beautiful and being seen as such, began…
Sometimes, I feel like I am attractive and wonderful. It happened in June 2015 when I wore a beautiful cream dress to Stanford’s “Senior Dinner on the Quad”, a few times after I overcame nervousness to perform poetry, and sometimes after reading Psalms 139, a chapter in the Bible that says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
These moments are blessings because for so long, I couldn’t muster that feeling.
Yet, my beauty, at least how I perceive it, is not yet persevering. It comes and goes like likes on a social media post.
I am fighting to sustain faith that God created me with intention and beams on me with marvel. I will not give up because, perhaps, the fullness of life is received only after beauty is truly perceived.