I don't often show my face in photos because I bought into a bullshit story a long time ago that my face wasn't worthy of being seen. As a kid, I was awkward-looking and often mistaken for a boy. As an adult, a man I had given my world to looked at me one morning and bluntly said "I didn't realize when I first met you, how 'Plain Jane' you really are." As if I had somehow tricked him into being with me by putting on some mascara.
How awful it must have been for him to wake up next to my bare-face and realize he'd been completely hoodwinked. He tried to change my wardrobe, flirted with other women in front of me, and told me to put more stock in my personal appearance. He also told me I was worthless, that no one would ever take me seriously in my profession, and I would never make it on my own.
Those stories stick. Even if intellectually I know they are false, the resonance of those words still clung to my marrow.
I'm still in the process of unwinding these stories from my cells. But I am here to tell you (and tell myself) that you are worthy of being seen. You are worthy and deserving of healthy love. You are worthy of joy. You are worthy of all the goodness this world has to offer. Your existence here on this earth is vital. You offer something unique that no one else can claim.
Repeat these words like a mantra until you believe them with every cell in your being: I am worthy. I am worthy. I am worthy.
Because you are.