A photo that makes me smile.

You probably saw it on my Instagram already, but my favourite photo from the weekend was a photo I took when I stopped at Talbot Lake on the drive home from Jasper. It makes me smile. I pulled over at the lake because it was beautiful and calm and there were magnificent grey skies and snow-capped mountains. The energy was unreal. I felt so content and happy and at peace that I grabbed a couple of photos in the gorgeous fall light.

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I had just finished hiking for over four hours, I was sweaty, dirty, and tired, but I don’t see any of those things in this photo. Even though I plaster my face all over the interweb daily, I still look at photos of myself and instantly go into critique mode. We all do. It’s easy to see our flaws and point out things we don’t like in photos of ourselves, which is why this photo makes me smile… all I see is happiness. I had just finished my second solo summit ever. I could feel the mountain energy coursing through my veins and I felt myself radiating from the inside out. I felt confident, strong, and beautiful.

Despite the fact that my hair was rainsoaked and air dried.

Despite the leftover mascara from Friday.

Despite the dirt on my hands and probably streaked somewhere on my face.

Despite the chapped lips.

Despite all of that, I felt beautiful. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. I spend my workweek putting on pantyhose and dresses, deciding which boots match my belt, choosing my lipstick with so much effort, noting what outfits my coworkers are wearing to see if I am looking good enough or comparable, and yet it’s when I’m not concerned with any of that I feel the most ‘me,’ the most real and raw. It’s not in my shortest pencil shirt that I feel the most confident, it’s in insulated tights as I climb mountains. It’s not red lipstick that makes me smile (for fear of lipstick on my teeth mostly), it’s not being able to stop smiling as I stare at the beauty around me in nature.

I love this photo because I can see the serenity when I look at it. I can see someone who is filled with good vibes and doing things she loves. It makes me smile and I think that’s something I for one fail to do enough of, to look at ourselves and feel confident, to feel beautiful. Find the people and places that make YOU feel beautiful.

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