I Have Never Felt More Beautiful Than I Do Now — Here’s Why
This is the third installment in a series of posts from The Knot Dream Wedding bride-to-be Rebekah Gregory. Follow our blog for weekly updates on everything from the proposal to her wedding planning and be sure to vote each week on the latest details: TheKnot.com/DreamWedding.
I think pretty much everyone in the world has at least something about themselves that they just don't like. Especially women. And I am no different. In fact as ashamed as I am to admit it, I have gone pretty much my entire teenage and adult life hating about 75% of my body in general. And do you know the number one thing I have always despised most? My bulky man legs. Yep that's right. If that isn't bad enough, try having feet (stolen from a giant) attached to them. Seriously you think I'm joking. I have even gone as far as wearing shoes a size smaller than what I needed in hopes it would at least fix half the problem. (Obviously all it did was give me blisters and crooked toes, but that's neither here nor there.) Am I certifiably crazy? Yeah probably so because in no way do my limbs resemble the male species. But that is why I find it so ironic that the same legs I have despised all this time, literally got blown to pieces last year [in the Boston Marathon bombing]. And while I am without a doubt scarred for life, I have also never felt more beautiful than I do right now.
You see, it's so easy for people to focus on everything that I lost on April 15th, but look past that to everything I have gained. And while it's probably more natural to dwell on the 16 reconstructive surgeries (with many more to come) and the amputation of my left leg later on this year, what I concentrate on most, is my new development of true self acceptance and moving forward.
Through this I have learned that a leg is just that… A leg. But my life… that's SO much more. And if I am blessed enough to survive a bomb that was less than ten feet away from me, then I sure as heck am not going to waste any time beating myself up over the physical appearance of it's aftermath. I have truly accepted that I will probably always look like a shark ate me for lunch to the average outsider, but what I see when I now look in the mirror is not an insecure little girl afraid of the world ripping her apart… But the true beauty of a young woman who has proved to she can overcome anything.
This week America voted on the wedding rings Pete and I will wear on our fingers as husband and wife. “Classic Cool" ended up being the winner (which will accompany the engagement ring that I have quite nicely so I'm pretty stoked.) But most importantly, it is a symbol that a wonderful man thinks I'm beautiful scars and all, leg or no leg. It is a commitment of someone that vows to love me for the rest of my life regardless of what flaws I've been fretting about all these years. Every time I look down at my finger, I will be reminded of the silliness that I have put myself through wishing I was any one other than myself. Funny that the beauty I have sought after my whole life has been right in front of me all along. And the best part? Every time Pete tells me I'm pretty, I believe him. So some quick words of advice: don't let it take a bomb to recognize your own self worth. Each person is designed in a way that is totally unique from anyone else, and it's time we quit wasting valuable moments trying to change that.