Dear fellow woman,

When you got dressed this morning, when you took a quick look in the mirror before doing your hair or eating breakfast or changing a little one’s diaper, what did you say to your body?

Did you say, “Thank you, dear body, for being strong hands to keep my loved ones safe!”

Did you say, “You are absolutely gorgeous, you sly thing!”

Did you say, “Look at that brave and capable woman!”

Because you should have. It takes a lot of practice to see yourself as beautiful. It takes daily reminders; and you have to be willing to revel in yourself, your fat and creases and stretch marks and wrinkles and messy mop of hair.

It takes vigilance to see all those advertisements with size-zero women–selling everything from lingerie to beer to dentistry–and remember there are myriad ways to be beautiful, in every body of every shape and color.

It takes strength to look at other women and see them as beautiful allies rather than threats or targets for your thousand judgments.

May we learn to stand together as women, to remind each other to be true to ourselves, despite cultural standards of beauty and femininity. May we sing in every harmony our brave song of beauty.

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