"I just don't like myself in pictures anymore," Rita said when we chatted for the first time. "I can't pinpoint it. But I'm just not the same."
Rita is a 66 years old mother of 3 daughters, 6 grandchildren, and a husband of 14 years. She's an artist, an energy enthusiast, and a woman of strong opinions.
I like her!
Even after years of living in the US Rita's Belgium accent colors her speech and verbiage. She's lived in two different countries and carries her life experiences and knowledge like a gift. She speaks her mind with confidence and purpose because she believes in sharing what she's learned.
Despite Rita's knowledge and world travels and vast personal connections she feels as many women do as they get older:
"I don't like myself in pictures. Something is always off when I look at them." "I can't stand the wrinkles." "The gray hair is just too much." "I remember when I looked younger, and now I just look old."
All valid concerns and heartaches from wonderful women I've talked to.
We want to be beautiful and we have a very clear vision of what that's supposed to be thanks to media and trends.
As Rita and I talked over various meetings one thing became very clear: Rita knew she was beautiful, not because her hair or skin were perfect, but because her soul was vibrant. She just hadn't seen it in pictures . . . yet.
"People notice me and they think it's because of my pants or my different shirt. But it's not that, not really. They see me." Rita's eyes twinkled as she spoke. "People see my aura, they feel it."
Of course, Rita is right.
The beauty that sticks with you, the something that makes you do a double take and stare in quiet wonder, that kind of beauty isn't about trends.
That kind of beauty is about the energy you carry, the light you bring, and the goodness in your soul.
That's something that doesn't diminish with the addition of laugh lines, crooked teeth, greying hair, or candles on your cake.
Rita wanted to have pictures that showed her beyond her age.
She wanted to see the beauty she knows others see and feel.
I'm happy to report that Rita got her wish.
Many thanks to Shea Hollister for her incredible hair and makeup skills.
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