Dear Beautiful Women,

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”

Steve Maraboli

I see beauty in women. As women, we don’t see it or we’re told to be humble, to accept a compliment and to give one in return. We mustn’t believe that we are gorgeous and we definitely shouldn’t do our hair and make-up to the nines every day.

I see beauty in women. The ones who are walking down Greek Row or the ones walking down a grocery store aisle with three kids in tow. In sweats or in a sequined ball gown. The women who are working to make a living, working to make a home, working for everyone at the sacrifice of herself.

I see the beauty in their eyes. When they’re crying, when they’re full of exhaustion, when they’re sparkling with excitement while telling a story. It’s in their smile when you really connect.

Too often we don’t see it. In this beautiful TED Talk from¬†Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (which¬†Queen Bey later sampled in ***Flawless), she stated, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man… Why should a woman’s success be a threat to a man?”

I give you the right. The right to be beautiful, the right to be successful, the right to let yourself shine and to not apologize for it. I give you the right to acknowledge your beauty and grace and to celebrate it in pictures. Dear beautiful women, I would give it all to you if I could, but this inheritance is not mine to give. It is up to you to claim it. I can’t sit with you in the mirror and make you see your own beauty. All I can do is take pictures, the most beautiful pictures you’ve ever seen of yourself and hope it starts to sink in: You are beautiful. No matter what.

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