How My Mom's Traumatic Experience Taught Me What It Truly Means To Be Beautiful

It's that one day a year where we give it all back to the one-of-a-kind woman who brought us into this terrifyingly beautiful world — Mother's Day. My mom has held my hand through it all. From holding on tight through my first steps to knowing when to loosen her grip as I made my way into the real world, she's been there from day one, and I can never repay her for everything that she's done for me. But there was a time when my grip held on much stronger than hers — a time after an accident left her physically scarred — that I learned more about inner beauty than I ever thought possible.

When I was five years old, my mom was in a car accident. She flew out the windshield and her seatbelt drug her back through, leaving her face peeled back, ear torn almost completely off, and two broken wrists and a broken leg. I held on tight to her during her long road to recovery, just as she would've done to me. Since then, she made it an effort to not let anyone see her as exposed as she had been that day.

I can't remember ever seeing my mom put on makeup when I was little. I knew that she did, but she never went through her makeup routine in front of me. When I was young, there was never a big emphasis on hair and makeup products. I wasn't taught how to perfectly tame my long red locks, or just how much lip gloss was too much. My mother taught me to focus much more on being creative. I colored, expressed myself through drawing (sorry about the dining room walls), and sang and danced my little heart out. So when I got to the age where everyone started obsessing with makeup, I decided to blindly jump on the bandwagon. That's when I went to my mother to see how it was done.

Up until this point, I looked at makeup as a way to match an outfit. At the age of 12, I matched my lip gloss to my eyeshadow and called it a day. But that morning, as I watched my mom go through the steps of her daily makeup routine for the first time in my life, I realized that makeup meant something different to each person wearing it.

As my mom cleaned off her face in the sink to start fresh-faced, I was surprised to see a completely different side of her — one that I hadn't seen before. It was my same mom, but someone who was exposing her bare soul to the world.

I watched her silently. As my mom stood there and described that the eyeliner trimmed the eye and blush went on the cheekbones, I was entranced by how effortlessly she covered her scars. She didn't even point out that she was doing it, and it made me wonder what else I could see in my mom if I looked hard enough. To me, the scars made her more beautiful. I stopped her as she was covering them up to have her tell me her story, something she gets embarrassed doing, but I couldn't help but see beauty in her triumph. It hurt me that she did not see the same person when she looked in the mirror.

My mom instilled in me the confidence to choose my own beauty, which is something that a lot of people go their entire lives without knowing.

But then I realized my mom's goal wasn't to cover up who she was. My mother explained to me that makeup shouldn't be something people use to hide their true selves, but to feel comfortable in their own skin. Makeup doesn't make you beautiful; it's the person wearing the makeup that holds the true beauty. It seemed like such a simple lesson, but without her telling me what she probably assumed was a passing comment, I don't think I would look at beauty the way I do today.

Up until that point, I thought learning how to wear makeup would make me cool with the popular kids and the boys at school. I thought I would learn how to transform myself into a completely different person. But what I learned was a much bigger lesson than that.

No product, no matter how expensive or who is endorsing it, can put confidence into a person. And although my mom chooses to cover her scars, it's her inner beauty that makes her shine the way that she does. No one can bottle that up.

I still think about that day almost every time I do my morning makeup routine. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what you're putting on your face. What really matters is what's under all of that. We put products on to make ourselves feel as comfortable in our own skin as possible, but the real beauty comes from much deeper. I can never thank my mom enough for teaching me that important lesson.

My mom is the most beautiful person I've ever met, with or without makeup. She has the ability to shine through any circumstance, and has the biggest heart of anyone I know. She has taught me some of my most important lessons in life, but some of the biggest ones came from the times that she wasn't trying.

Junior year I decided not to wear makeup to prom. Looking back at it now, I have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea — all I know is that I felt better and more beautiful without it. When I walked out and announced that I was ready to leave, people looked at me puzzled and asked multiple times if I was sure that I was ready to go. No one understood except for my mom.

She didn't question me once that night. She asked me if I was comfortable, and, after I said yes, she told me that I looked beautiful. We left the house to go take pictures, and she never mentioned it again. I asked her some years later why she let me out like that, and she told me that it was my decision to wear what I felt most beautiful in.

My mom instilled in me the confidence to choose my own beauty, which is something that a lot of people go their entire lives without knowing. When you feel your most beautiful, your happiness reflects that. I hope someday that I can teach my daughter the same thing that my mom taught me. Inner beauty is a lesson that only a mother's love can explain.