101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 87

“Love the ugly.”

This was the advice from today’s stranger of the day. Her name is Natalie.

We’re so often told that only the beautiful parts of ourselves are worth appreciating — our achievements, our intellect, our positivity, our physical features that fit in with society’s mold of how we should look. Natalie spoke about how we need to learn to love even the grotesque. She says that in her view, the best way to love the ugly is through practicing self-care.

Natalie’s a midwife. She talked about a birth she helped with last night. “There was so much sh*t”, she said. But we fill even the word that describes it with a little star. The reality is that even something as beautiful as creating new life has ugly bits and pieces. It’s natural. And Natalie recommends that we should learn to love it.

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I met Natalie through an odd coincidence: as I was walking home from school, I happened to pass by my old friend Claire who I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was a surprise to see her in my neighbourhood. She was with her friend Natalie and another friend, and they were sitting on a bench outside after having just attended a workshop on how pre-birth and birth experiences shape our world. They are midwives and have a certain grounding presence to them. It was so lovely to chat with them.

Natalie described that when she feels frustrated or in need of a mental shift, she walks out the front door in no particular direction until she meets a stranger. The conversations that ensue never fail to reshape her thought patterns for the day. It’s how she recharges and it’s always been a refreshing experience for her. Speaking with Natalie tonight did just that for me. She was so down to Earth and genuine in everything she said that just being around her brought me a little more down to Earth, too.

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