43 – Insurance
Dawn is just one of those people you instantly like and feel connected to upon first meeting. She leads with her smile and confidence and it was apparent to me that she was comfortable with herself and would have a lot of insight to offer. She has three girls including a set of twins. Her view of raising girls in today’s society definitely interested me.
Defining beauty is typically the hardest question to answer for most Beauty Project 2017 participants but Dawn was very quick to say beauty lies in a smile. Smiling is such a simple human function but it can bring so much emotion to one person. Smiling is giving a little bit of yourself to someone whether it be a stranger or a friend. Dawn is quick to smile at everyone and believes there is such power in a smile.
Dawn describes her family as a very stable unit. She grew up in a happy home and her parents gave her and her sister everything they needed to grow into happy women. Dawn remembers her mom being overweight and when Dawn was around 12, her mom had gastric bypass, which at that time was a huge ordeal. Dawn watched her mom lose weight but still felt bad about herself. In her mom’s eyes, she was still overweight. Mentally, the surgery didn’t change her thoughts about herself, though it changed her physically. Dawn was never embarrassed or ashamed of her mom because of her size. Her mom taught her that she could do anything she wanted to do. Weight was not an obstacle for her. Dawn looks up to her mom for her strength. Dawn doesn’t believe in diets or restricting food based on weight loss. She has been generally the same size her whole life and has only been on one diet – for her wedding. Her thought on food is that we all should enjoy and not demonize food. It isn’t bad or good, it is just food. She passes these teachings on to her own girls.
Dawn credits her parents for her outlook when she meets someone new. She doesn’t look at the person on the outside, she waits until she talks with them to understand what motivates them as a person. And this way of thinking is something that is important for Dawn’s children to learn. She has a large group of family friends she brings the girls around and they are all from different backgrounds and different types of people. She tells her girls that it is important to know who you are. Dawn tells them all the time “You are perfect and you are exactly what I wanted”. If her oldest girl brings home a corrected assignment and it may not be 100%, she tells her that you may not be the best at punctuation yet, but you are still perfect to me. Dawn is a believer in the thought that no one can make you feel a certain way but you and no one can do something to you without your approval. When her daughters complain about something or someone, she falls to that teaching and says if it makes you feel bad, do something about it. We are responsible for our happiness. She teaches all of them it doesn’t matter what you look like or what size you are, it only matters if you are happy.
Dawn feels most beautiful when she is treating people with kindness and compassion. She also appreciates her body and believes because God created her, her body is beautiful. She has been an athlete all her life and has always enjoyed fueling her body with food. But when Dawn can’t be as nice to others or forgiving, she doesn’t feel as beautiful. She was raised Catholic and was taught we should always forgive. So when she struggles, it makes her feel bad. She believes that there isn’t a truly evil person, that good exists in everyone and she looks for it. She can appreciate others beauty and can tell them, but she doesn’t always communicate it at first.
Even though Dawn is pretty self-confident, she doesn’t tell herself that she is beautiful. She doesn’t look in the mirror and focus on her image. She doesn’t say she is ugly, but she just doesn’t focus on the physical aspect. She used to be able to look in the mirror and say I am a badass during high school while playing sports. Dawn values sports, music, and art and thinks those are the things that make someone beautiful. That is where people find their passion and their beauty comes alive. Finding something that you are good at makes you feel good about yourself, which quickly boosts your confidence leading to self-love!
Dawn is raising her girls to feel good about themselves, no matter what their grades are or what their hair looks like. She focuses on their passions, their gifts, and their hearts. Having her girls be confident in themselves at such a young age is an awesome accomplishment. This is what the beauty project is all about! Thank you, Dawn, for sharing your insights!