She Was Beautiful

Kathleen Chelquist“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for that sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

One would think that after years of learning how to love myself, I would have this Fitzgerald quote down. But nope, not always. Just recently, I have been flooded with new Facebook friends and have been overwhelmed with a new rise of strangers coming into my life. I have received many comments from different men wanting to “chat” with me. They all pretty much say the same thing, whether they are from the US or Africa: “Hi, how are you?”

As I was telling my girlfriend about it, she said: “Oh, that’s because you are so beautiful.” As she walked away, I thought…No, that’s because they have not met me in person.

I know, I can’t believe I thought it myself. How cruel the ego can be; and to think…I used to continually use this kind of brutal language aloud or to myself, while inevitably laughing on the outside. Well, many truths are said in jest; and for years, I subconsciously thought that putting myself down would somehow magically make me work harder and thus, feel better. No matter how many people would tell me that I was in fact, “The Quintessential Blonde,” I never quite believed them.

And so, off to the gym I would go; making sure my abs were flat and my legs were toned. But then one day, I could not work (unfortunately or fortunately) on a physical trait that was here to stay…

I was diagnosed with eye cancer at the age of 24, leaving me mostly blind in my left eye. By the time I was 29, my eye started to drift ever-so-slightly to the left. My doctor said he could fix it, and so I went into the surgery room expecting a miracle. Instead, the surgeons made it worse (a VERY fragile situation, and I do not blame them as I know they did their best).

So…now my eye was more than slightly off, and I was devastated! I felt like I had lost it for the very first time, and told myself that I looked like a monster. Strangers would mistakenly believe that I was looking at the person behind them (and still do). I would end up squinting, looking down or even wearing sunglasses when the sun had already set; anything to avoid seeing the confusion on their faces. Just last week, a six-year-old child in my son’s classroom stated: “Your eye looks FREAKY!” When I told her she would get used to it, she quickly replied, “No, I won’t.”

Currently, I rarely look away while speaking eye-to-eye with strangers (this took me ten years to master). And at times, I still allow myself to be triggered. I have no doubt that the Uni-verse will keep giving me what I NEED for my spiritual growth. And the more I work on my sacred self, the more I will let go of my worldly vanity. For my eye has been one of my greatest teachers and a vehicle to my freedom.

My burning desire for ALL of us beauties (including men), with physical quirks or not, is to…FEEL BEAUTIFUL! While we are still here. And shine our light that is our truest self. This can be achieved by simply choosing love, choosing love, choosing love.

A few years ago, I received a quote in the middle of the night and quickly wrote it down. It said, “One day, you are going to wake up and say, Wow, I am a beautiful woman!”

In this time frame, I am well aware that we can create beauty together, as we fully experience being men and women.




Kathleen Chelquist is an inspirational blogger. Engage with Kathleen on her website, her Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Gail

    Thank you for telling your poignant story. I wonder if most humans are self-conscious for not being beautiful. I have struggled with this feeling for decades. Your truth puts it all into perspective.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thanks Gail. And it is the truth! XO

  • Lilo Pdll Rjs

    Thank you for your honesty!!! I think there’s so much pressure out there to fit the standars of what’s supposed to be beautiful!! I struggle with that myself to accepting my body as it is knowing that my bone structure wasn’t made to be skinny, but is hard and it shouldn’t be so hard to love our bodies exactly as they are. All my love and support!! 🙂 and thank you again

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thanks for commenting Lilo. When you said “it shouldn’t be so hard,” that is your resistance. What we resist, persists. So breathe into the worldly models as a lesson. Say, “YES!” And, welcome the opportunity to do it differently and choose Love. Because it is ALL about doing it differently. Love to BEAUTIFUL… YOU!

      • Lilo Pdll Rjs

        Thanks that is an awesome (and easier) way to see it!!! Have an awesome day

  • Tanja Erickson

    Dearest Kathleen, This blog is one of my favorites! What an amazing experience for me to watch how you have walked this journey with your eye. How far you have come from the days of wearing sunglasses at dusk and asking all of your friends to artfully fix the way your eye looked in a picture by using a pen to darken the white. As one who still holds on to my vanity, I want you to know how much you have taught me. If only we could see ourselves the way our friends do.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Awww…sister. I am seriously bawling right now. Thank you.

  • Marie

    That’s such a wonderful share. Thank you.

  • Aly D.

    Love you♥

  • Aurelio

    Hey, Kathleen… Thank you so much, sister, for your vulnerable sharing of your experiences with your eye… I am humbled and reminded to be even more grateful of my eyes and my health…


  • Ilonda Hairston-Clayton

    This was such a wonderful blog. I relate so much to what you are saying. For years I battled with low self esteem. As a teenager it was the worst, I am 4′ 11, with short hair, and look nothing like a “model” or what the world says is beautiful. I remember crying because I felt so unattractive as a young woman , which spilled over into my dating life (a whole other Those were some hard years. I had to learn to love myself just as God has created me. I have a 16 year old daughter who looks just like me, and I think is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen ( all 4 feet 10 1/2 of her). She is so opposite of me as a young girl, she has lots of friends and loves taking pictures of her beauty. It took God sending me this pretty little girl to show me my own beauty. I thank him for my daughter and her brothers each day ( who also are very handsome and look a lot like me). God is so awesome!

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thanks llonda! You are so beautiful to me…xo K

  • Laune J

    Thank you Kathleen for sharing your vulnerability with us. Exposing our vulnerabilities is never any easy thing to do, with ourselves, let alone millions of strangers! I couldn’t help but wonder, while reading your story, if maybe you were given the gift of not being contained in the limiting category of “just eye-candy” (pun intended) & were kind of forced out of that limiting category, & now are forced to find your true beauty by the definition outlined by the quote at the beginning of your blog? Do you think you would’ve been on this journey of finding your Soul if you were still the “quintessential blonde”?

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      My answer to that is probably not. But as we know, it was all part of the plan. Thank you so much! XO

      • Laune J

        Great food for thought (for me), thank you so much for your honesty! And thank you for taking the time to respond. 🙂

  • Kristy

    Thank you for being so honest and brave and wonderful and beautiful. Never EVER doubt yourself! You are gorgeous. And I envy those luscious blond locks! 😉 God Bless.

  • Teri B

    I looked at your picture before I read the article and you looked beautiful. I didn’t even notice that your eye’s were “shifted” until you said something in the article. Clearly if I can look past it, then others can as well : )

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thanks Teri…the picture doesn’t quite capture it fully, and I can finally say that I am proud of this little eye of mine! Thanks for the comment! Kathleen

  • Lisa Besaw

    Dear Kathleen, thank you so much for your post today. It touched me deeply, as I too am learning a similar lesson. The quote you included from F. Scott Fitzgerald isn’t something I’d read before, and I’m so grateful you shared it! I agree with you that it’s all about LOVE. Good work beautiful!

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thanks Lisa. Love is the answer! XO Kathleen

  • Carie Bean

    “Look” at you touching our souls with more than what the eyes can see! Bravo Kathleen! Your words are treasured moments of connection and your humble voice is magnificent. I’ve pulled away from the daily love as you might have noticed…not because I don’t love it….not because I don’t care…just not where I’m pulled to these days. Thank you for reminding me to share the love and for bringing me back if just to say hello! You’re an amazing gift of light and love! Happily, Carie

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      I did notice Carie, and just keep following that beautiful heart of yours. You truly shine! XOXOXO

  • Jess

    I love this because you are beautiful on any spectrum you not only choose love you help others see that there is only love and everything else falls away, I think we are collectively awakening to see not how some one looks but how their heart is.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      You are the best Jess!!! And so happy to be sharing our experiences together! XO

  • Love Junkie

    It’s a constant choice of paying attention to what your mind is telling you. Consistently saying to your negative mind chatter ” thanks for sharing”….”I am enough”

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      YES YOU ARE!!!

  • yesi.p

    Whoop! Whoop! You go Beautiful Soul!

  • حصة محمد

    one day someone told me a story about a hideous girl who tried to hide and always look down because of that but someone told her that: “people always judge of looking do not care about who believe that u look unattractive because there’s people who think that u’re pretty inside, those people who u should care about”

  • Vox

    The end of your post, whilst likely well-intentioned, supports the mythical gender binary. It is thus harmful to genderqueer and agender individuals.
    Perhaps consider correcting it.