You are beautiful
This afternoon I was walking through Barnes & Noble to waste some time before meeting for dinner when someone touched my arm. I turned to look at who was on the other end of the semi-affectionate grasp, and to my surprise, I did not know the woman. She said, “sorry to bother you, but I watched you walk in, and I just have to tell you that you are beautiful, and this look really works for you”. I must have had the most dumbfounded look on my face because she quickly followed up with, “I am doing my best to acknowledge beauty when I see it. In a world where it is so difficult to be a woman, I think we need small reminders.” She went on to tell me three years ago she went through chemotherapy for a rare blood cancer. She opened up to me in a way that was profound, intimate, and altogether authentically raw. In the span of ten minutes I was moved to tears and touched so deeply by a complete stranger.
It was a perfect reminder of how quick we are to be harsh on our outward appearance. We judge too quickly. It is impossible to know the battle a stranger is fighting, and sometimes it only takes a smile to reassure someone from across the room.
I am also reminded of how sweet honesty is. This woman was wise beyond her years, and she will change lives if she continues to tell her story. It is my hope that I can have that kind of impact on others. All it took was some courage to approach a stranger and speak honest truth.
Did I mention she was 19 years old?