There I was, aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, when I first saw the photo. I didn’t see the works of art in person, even though they were on display less than five miles from my house, in the girls’ bathroom at our local high school.
Something stirred inside of me, seeing these proclamations of beauty on display in place of the very object where women often feel the most criticized. Bathroom mirrors.
Beauty is measured by the ability to be yourself.
Happy girls are the prettiest.
Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
I thought of myself as a teenager, with those big, bright-colored glasses, and the mile-high bangs. All those times I walked the halls of my own high school, wondering who might be looking at me, asking myself what they were thinking. Was I pretty? Was I enough?
Then, I thought of the young girls I know today. It’s a different world, but the awkward teenage stage hasn’t changed all that much. Did they also wonder if their clothes made them fit in or stick out? Did they exchange harsh words with a parent that morning before the school day had even started? Were things OK with their boyfriend, or their group of friends? What might have been going through their mind as they pushed open that bathroom door?
Like me, did their whole demeanor change when their eyes met with these positive messages? Was it enough, in that moment, to be reminded “there is beauty in siimplicity?” An in-your-face reminder they were OK just the way they are.
Beauty is what you feel about yourself, not what you see in the mirror.
The art teacher who handed out this assignment must be a kind soul. I hope, as the students worked on the designs, a little of that kindness seeped into their own hearts as well.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. -Helen Keller
I don’t know how long these sheets of paper stayed up on the bathroom mirrors. When I saw the shared photo on Facebook, I immediately made it my cover photo, and it’s remained there for five years. I can’t seem to change it.
The truth is, I think we can all forget this sometimes. We’re beautiful, without changing a single thing. I also think we need to be intentional about reminding one another of this. For me, and my social media friends, the reminder stays right there at the top of my page.
From time to time, someone new will see the photo and ask about it. They say it made an impact on them. I know.
A friend tagged me in a post recently, saying she’s glad I don’t change my cover photo, because it’s so meaningful. I know.
Maybe the art classes in our schools should paint murals on every bathroom wall, reminding students of their beauty. At the very least, surprise classmates a few days each year with works of art that cover the bathroom mirrors for a day or two. Maybe that way our children would never forget - they are beautiful.