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Belief Part 3

January 10, 2010

you can read part 1 here.
you can read part 2 here.

 

 

I believe in the power of words.
I believe that if you surround yourself with the positive, there will not be room for the negative.
I believe that it is our choice, and our duty, to take care of one another.
I believe in encouragement.
I believe in the youth of this world.
I believe we each have a voice.
I believe love wins.

and because of all these things, I believe in Operation Beautiful.

I’ve shared my support for Operation Beautiful in the past, but at the time, I never realized what a difference in the movement would have in my life.

I first read about Operation Beautiful in the beginning of July. I posted a few notes here and there, spreading the word and feeling good about it. But with each truth I posted, and each experience I had, I craved more.

I haven’t really opened up about this too much, but as can be expected, when my fiancé decided we shouldn’t get married, I fell into a bit of an emotional pit. I was questing my worth and my identity. Deep down in my heart I knew I was good enough. I knew I was beautiful. I knew I was worthy of love and life and success and joy. But some days, it was a struggle to remember these things. Some days, my experiences were trying to trump the truth, and lie to me about who I am. Some days, I was just numb.

A few weeks into this turmoil, I took a road trip. Stef and I live 3 hours apart and both drove half-way to meet each other in a city we’d never been to in order to spend the day together. While we were visiting a museum with a fabulous children’s area, we discussed Operation Beautiful. We left a post-it among the dress-up clothes, and went on our way. “Your identity doesn’t need disguise. Don’t let anyone tell you differently! You are enough!” 

After a full day of laughter, we both headed our separate ways, in different directions to get back home. On my drive, I started thinking about the truth that was in our note, and how grateful I was to have posted it. Not only may it speak to a 12 year old somewhere along the way, but it was truly speaking to me.

And I could feel my heart beginning to heal a bit.

And so I stopped at every rest stop on my way home, leaving notes for travelers to read.

toll booth

And I handed notes to the toll booth operators.

ole0_thumb

And I left notes on car doors. And when I pulled into town, I headed straight to the book store to spend a few hours strategically placing notes of truth and worth in books and crooks and shelves and magazines. And I believed every one of them for myself.

 

This continued most weekends; sprees of Operation Beautiful postings during my errand running and to-dos. And each note was truth. And each note helped me to feel alive, again.

In mid-September I decided to take a personal challenge; In order to spread the beauty and battle negative self-talk, I pledged to post at least one Operation Beautiful note every day, for the remainder of 2009.

And I loved it. I love the sneaking around. The keeping a little 3 by 3 bright pink square attached to my wallet, my blackberry, or the back of my hand. I love the washing my hands more thoroughly than EVER in order to wait until I’m alone in the locker room at the gym or the bathrooms at the food court of the mall. I love posting the note in the rest area during a road trip, and spending a few minutes outside on a bench, scouting to see if anyone looks HAPPIER, MORE CONFIDENT, or MORE AWARE than when they entered. I love pretending like it wasnt me. I love the mystery and the covert operation beautiful.

I love that this challenge is forcing creativity. What to write. Where to go. When to execute. I love that I am forced to think in the perspective of the location. When I am sitting in the young adult section of the bookstore, I am forced to focus on what a 13 year old may need to hear. When I return my rented movie to blockbuster with a circular note atop the DVD, I think about what the employee may need to be reminded. What she DESERVES to be reminded. When I attach my note to the back of a dollar bill I hand the toll booth operator, or the tip I leave my waitress, or the signed credit card receipt to the clerk, I love thinking about what words will benefit their hearts and souls today.

I love that I am going to new places that I may never had found reason to go before, to spread the news, to spread the beauty. Where to next? Where from here? Where do people need to hear this most, in this moment? I love stepping out of my comfort zone and stepping into worlds I’m not familiar with, because EVERY WOMAN, EVERYWHERE deserves to know that she is enough, that she has what it takes, and that she is beautiful, and wonderful, and can conquer the world.

I love posting notes in the mornings before work, at the coffee bar, when people feel sluggish and not yet ready to face the day. I love posting notes on my lunch break, when someone may need a pick me up that turns their whole day around, making a bad morning a fabulous day. I love finishing my work day with a post it and pen and the ability to turn a tired working mother ready for a nap, into a woman ready to conquer the world and instill truth about beauty in her young daughters. And I love not being able to sleep, and heading out to the 24-hour grocery store or market and playing hide and seek with the minimal night shift staff.

I love being able to be challenged in my own gifting. I was created to encourage others. I know this. Its one of my favorite things about me. I encourage. I genuinely compliment and I tell the truth in love and lavish words of honest optimism. And I love that when I take the time to encourage others, I am finding myself encouraged. When I write You are Beautiful, to leave behind for total strangers, I begin to believe it myself. Deeper than before. More honest than before. When I use words like spectacular, extraordinary, brilliant, and unique- I know they don’t just describe the 15 year old fighting with her mother, or the 63 year old, feeling lonely yet content. They describe me. Who I am, and who I am becoming.

I love the sense of community that Operation Beautiful has created. Women complimenting women they’ve never met. Demanding that she starts to see herself the way we see her. The way we see the girl we’ve never met? Darling- YOU are ENOUGH, and YOU are BEAUTIFUL. Believe it. Believe it. I said so. And I’ve never met you, or even seen you before, but I KNOW IT.

Because we are strong and invincible women who stick together, push past the cattiness and jealousy and heinous comments that society sometimes tries to force us to have with one another- because we are women. You. And Her. And She. And I. We are women, and we are beautiful creatures, who above all, understand ourselves and the desire to be the best we can be, at all times, even when we think we can’t and we want to give up- and in that desire we find the truthwe just want to be loved, and needed. By our families, and our friends, our peers, and our partners. By our coworkers, and classmates, and crushes, and teammates. And by ourselves.

And through Operation Beautiful, we stand up for one another, and fight for one another, and in turn, ourselves. It’s done in the simplest of ways- a pen and paper. Because with women, it doesn’t have to be more. It doesn’t have to be an intercom, or a press release, or a novel or a star on the walk of fame. It doesn’t have to be published, or shouted from the rooftops, or painted in a mural. Although- we are deserving of all these things- novels, and stars, and murals, and rooftops; we don’t need them. Because WE are more than enough than all these things.

The power is in the post-it because its relatable. And its honest. And when you strip it all down to the core, that’s what you’ll find. And when you strip us all down to the core, each and every one of us, that’s what you find. Truth- honest and relatable. In simplicity and complexity. Beautiful truth.

Throughout my Operation Beautiful posting challenge, I found a special kind of healing taking place in my soul.  With each note I posted, I gained strength to face each day- to face the people who didn’t hear about the break up and asked me how married life was going, to face the fear of running into his family at the grocery store, to face the mistakes I made when I was feeling broken and vulnerable, to face the truth that fear is void: that life will go on, that my broken heart will heal, and that I will love again. 

damaged

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2010 7:57 am

    Girl, send this blog post to Oprah. She will eat this up and maybe you can go on TV and meet her and tell her that your old college roomate loves her so much and that you love her..oooohhhh I’m getting so excited thinkin about it all!

  2. January 10, 2010 8:51 am

    I don’t have words for this! You are so strong, amazing, wonderful . . . I love the last 4 notes. I think posting a note everyday is such a wonderful idea – I may try it. It may improve my mood and attitude towards things.

  3. Danielle permalink
    January 10, 2010 1:13 pm

    You are wonderfully encouraging! And I agree with all of those messages at the end of the post!!!

  4. January 10, 2010 1:49 pm

    Will you go write a book or something? Please? I’d buy it.

    I plan to post OB notes whenever we stop on the drive from WI to NY this week.

  5. January 10, 2010 11:06 pm

    This post made me cry. I think I needed this.

    Thank-you!

  6. August 7, 2010 3:46 pm

    I love this! I have left one note a day from the day I bought the Operation Beautiful book and devoured it. The message is so powerful and EVERYONE (men and women) need to hear it. I even put a note on the Wimpy Kids books at the book store saying “Wimpy Kids are beautiful too.” We all need to know that we are powerful and beautiful 🙂

    So well written and eloquent.

  7. HTP Dad permalink
    August 7, 2010 6:48 pm

    you rock, girl.

  8. August 9, 2010 1:03 am

    You are amazing as always! We need to chat abt HLS soon!!!! Eeeeks!

Trackbacks

  1. Belief: Part 2 « Then Heather Said
  2. The Pants Must Go On « Then Heather Said
  3. 5 Reasons to Purchase Caitlin Boyle’s Operation Beautiful « Then Heather Said

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