I have been thinking for a long time about all of the things I want to be able to share here, and trying to find the right way to package all of it together. What is the common thread? Where can I begin?

A few weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that there have been complaints about my wardrobe not meeting the honor code during my classes and concerts at BYU. My first reaction was frustration, as I feel my clothing choices are classy, professional, and well within the honor code restrictions. Rattled, I headed to my Tuesday yoga class where the teacher always begins by presenting a theme for the day’s practice. She told a story about two daughters asking their mother what made them beautiful. One daughter was convinced that fashion and cosmetics were the answer, the other daughter felt that her quiet poise was the source of her beauty. They wanted the mother to make the definitive decision about which was truly beautiful. The mother wisely responded that beauty is gained by earnestly, daily, filling oneself up with all of the beauty in the world. Whatever each daughter finds beautiful (colorful pigments and fabrics she places on her body, artful words and ideas from books she puts in her mind, heavenly views of oceans and trees and sunsets, transcendent conversations with thoughtful people, whole-hearted feelings of love and charity toward everyone and everything in the world) is what she should consume—and she will see that this beauty will be found shining out of her for the whole world to consume, in turn.

As this inspiration of a woman finished her story, I found my anger and frustration dissolving into so many tears. Throughout the two hour class, I regained composure a few times, but as the instructor kept reiterating the call to fill ourselves up with beauty, I cried again and again.

The past year has, in many ways, been a dark and difficult one for me. I’ve been wrestling with old demons of worthlessness and shame. I’ve been digging within myself to find the love and belonging I deserve, but have too frequently been denied. Recently, I have made some brave changes. I HAVE been filling myself up with beauty. I’ve been filling myself up with clean and green foods and so much water. I have been filling my muscles with new strength and flexibility as I exercise without shame, but with joy and gratitude for my healthy body. I have been filling my mind with expansive ideas from podcasts and audiobooks. I have been filling my ears with gorgeous voices of students who are taking risks, and with offerings from artists who have come before me and from whom I have so much to learn. I have been filling my home with cleanliness, good smells, great conversations and open-hearted tears. I have filled my family with the sweetest, most stunning canine. I have filled my marriage with vulnerability, trust, respect, and support. I have filled my heart SO FULL with love and hope and joy for all of my incredible students, and the honor and privilege it is for them to trust me with their creativity. I have filled my free time with laughter of new girl friends who I am so excited to get to know better, and of whom I already think the world. I have filled my entire being with understanding and empathy for those whose perspectives and experiences are different from my own. I have also filled my hair follicles with the blondest bleach and dye available (and sometimes also pink because being a fairy princess is the best). 🙂 And, of course, I have filled my closet with high heels.

I am full of beauty. I. Am. Full. Of. Beauty.

My hope is that this can be a place for me to share all of the ways I am filling up with beauty in my life, and that those beautiful things will fill your life, as well. I will continue to look for beauty everywhere, in everything, in everyone. I will continue to consume all of the beauty I can find. I will continue to pour that beauty out of myself daily. I will not absorb any ugliness, subversion, sexuality, or insincerity that may be projected onto me. I will not project these things onto others. I promise to ONLY look for beauty in you. Please look for beauty in me. Please look for beauty with me.

Love,

EM