Most people don’t think of themselves as beautiful. We don’t think of ourselves at all, really. We just get up, splash water on our faces, dress, pull our hair back, throw our clothes on–whether the uniform of mindless choice is yoga pants or your everyday sari. There’s no thought in it; we simply prepare for our day and show up as best we can…blind to our beauty, unconscious of how extraordinary it is to play our everyday roles.
If she came to your kitchen, to your office, she would marvel at how you do your work so seamlessly. Your rhythm, your routine would fascinate. She would think the simple things you do are amazing, and if you gave her a camera, she’d point and shoot at all of it, wondering at the miracle that you have so many machines to help you do your every day work. You’d blush and say “It’s nothing,” except that it isn’t. How many nights do you put your head to the pillow and wonder how the world keeps spinning, the load you carry is so much to bear?
If you went to her kitchen, to her office, you would be breathless at how she does her work with no tools, no resources, except the skill in her able hands and her hard won knowledge. You’d see how she holds the babies right after they’re born and puts them to the mother’s breast. You’d remember your own mother and your own births and your own infants, and how the doula did everything you needed when everyone else didn’t have a clue. You’d try to express your admiration, but she’d shake her head, the same way you shake yours.
It’s nothing. It’s just what I do.
All over the world, women are giving children baths, helping their sisters and mothers, doing their work–much of it mundane and yet still so much so far beyond ordinary. We are doing it in our ordinary ways, unaware of our beauty. Not seeing really how our pain and our joy shines, in every single dedicated second.
Show us your extraordinary beauty today. Your uniform, your chores. The simple, expected thing that you do everyday that has hidden in its history a certain kind of magic, a not-yet-celebrated charm. Self-portraits of all kinds–whether it be of your coffee maker or your yoga pants–completely and totally welcome.