36 – Insurance

I have known Regina for 15 years and in all that time I never knew she had insecurities unless she outright told me. I saw Regina as a strong woman who wasn’t afraid of anything and went fearlessly through the world. This project is humbling because when I talk to people, I realize how little I actually know about someone and their struggles.

When I asked Regina to participate I think she had the same feelings as most people – it’s a good thing to think about, but she was hesitant to participate because it felt uncomfortable to talk about beauty and what it means to her personally.

To define beauty for Regina, she breaks it down on herself – like a good hair day or looks good in her jeans that day. She takes the little things about herself and makes due with it, rather than appreciating her whole self. Regina is someone though that appreciates beauty in others quite a bit. She is quick with her compliments and encouragement. She can see the beauty in others and isn’t shy to recognize them. But when I ask her about her own beauty, she clams up. It is harder for her to see her own beauty because she doesn’t believe overall she is beautiful. She can point out character traits like ‘she is a strong woman’ but she can’t quite get to the point of saying she is beautiful.

She grew up feeling very insecure about her looks. Regina describes herself as light skinned but with dark hair on her arms and legs so she is really nervous about people noticing those things about her. She doesn’t want her kids to feel the same way about themselves so she is sure to let them know those things aren’t a big deal and to not worry about them. But she will also support her kids if it does bother them in finding a fix in a way that makes sense for the kids, such as shaving.

I asked Regina what makes her beautiful and she hesitated but did reply that there are different things on different days that make her feel pretty. She feels the most beautiful when her husband compliments her or tells her how much he loves her. She is comfortable at this point in her life and that makes her happy, which in turn comes out as her feeling beautiful. But she will admit she does have issues with aging. She is starting to notice signs and she isn’t quite ready for that.

I asked Regina “Why is it so hard to appreciate yourself when you are really good at appreciating others?” She describes other people and their beauty as I see Regina, so for me,

it is something easy to see and do but for her, she values her friendships and works hard to maintain those relationships that are important to her. And for herself? She neglects herself and doesn’t take the time to really appreciate who she is to her family, her friends, and especially to herself.

She is a strong, loving, loyal, and beautiful person – she just needs to start believing it.

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