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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Cynthia Hite of Fort Wayne loves her long, black hair.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Mona Will of Fort Wayne loves all the body parts that enable her to cycle, hike and swim.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Breast cancer survivor Ann Hathaway of Fort Wayne loves her surgery scars.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Jacqueline Brown of Fort Wayne has grown to love her curves, including her booty.

  • Courtesy Donna Kaiser loves her beautiful silver hair, which draws compliments daily.

Sunday, April 14, 2019 1:00 am

Women see beauty in selves

From surgery scars to long hair, there's a lot to love

TERRI RICHARDSON | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne woman loves the scars on her chest from her breast cancer surgery.

An 84-year-old Warren woman loves her “beautiful smile” that “brightens everybody's day.”

Another woman loves her curvy body – although she hated it when she was younger and always wanted to hide it.

When most women tend to complain about what they hate about their bodies, these women shared what they love most and why that body part is so fabulous.

This year has been dubbed the “Year of the Woman” and the conversation about women is changing.

Women are stepping forward and stepping out to break longtime social cues and issues in society. The female body is on the list.

Many area women share how they feel good about themselves and who they are – having the courage to see themselves as beautiful.

Here is what they love about their bodies and why. (Some responses have been edited.)

“Many of my body part treasures are not visible from the outside, but their function and purpose are.

“I am a cyclist and have been since I was a young girl. There were years when my bike was stored in a garage either at my birth home or at my own apartment as I got older, but about seven to eight years ago I got back on the bike and have been consistently riding ever since.

“I love my strong heart, my strong lungs and my strong and hefty thighs and calves. Without this combination I wouldn't be able to ride the long miles I love to do in the summer nor could I climb the hills of Kentucky, southern Indiana and northern Michigan the way that I can now. My heart, lungs and legs also get me back and forth when I'm swimming in the indoor pool in the winter and outdoor pool when the temperatures warm up. ...

“This is cliché, but I am the sum of my parts. Those parts being what is seen and unseen, choices that moved me forward and choices that set me back. My physicality is simply the vessel of 'me' and I am proud to be me.”

– Mona Will, Fort Wayne

“I must say, when I was much younger, I didn't like my body at all. I remember always wanting to hide my body because I didn't want the attention. I was ashamed to show my body and all the curves that God had blessed me with. ... I like my curved hips and my firm, big booty. Yes, girl, I said that! It has taken me several years to embrace all of me. At one time a big booty wasn't in. I used to get teased by the high school boys every day. Now, today, women pay $10,000 for a booty like mine, that I was born with. I like my eyes. My eyes tell a story. My eyes are a mystery that only I can solve. I've learned to love my body because that's who I am. I'm no longer ashamed of the gifts God has bestowed upon me. I'm 53 years old, and I have the body of a much younger woman. I love every curve because I'm so fabulous!”

– Jacqueline Brown, Fort Wayne

“I love the scar from my breast cancer surgery. It is a reminder of the courage I didn't know I had, the love of family and friends and God's grace.”

– Ann Hathaway, Fort Wayne

“I remember very fondly stories of my great-grandmother's beautiful long, black hair and how my mother, when she was a child, loved to visit her and brush it for her. ... When I was a child, I too loved to brush my mother's long, black hair and remembering how her long hair gave her so much uniqueness and character. Now that I have grown, I too have long, waist-length, black hair. It is a part of me that I truly love and has a special connection to the beautiful women past and present which gave them their special beauty and gives me such fond memories.”

– Cynthia Hite, Fort Wayne

“I certainly don't consider myself a beautiful woman but the part of my body I want to share is my hair! It is silver/gray! Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn't comment on it. Most will say they wish they could let their hair go gray but are afraid! Don't be afraid! Embrace your natural color and be proud of it! Now, I must admit, my mother had beautiful silver hair so I do have her to thank but I found coloring my hair (remember 'frosting?') to be expensive and time-consuming. I wear my hair short so spending time and more money on coloring was not something I wanted to be tied to – I would rather shop! We baby boomers are so youth focused, which is not all bad but we can not ignore the reality of growing older. It is nothing to be ashamed of! Join your 'silver sisters' and make a statement that says I am dramatic, sassy and even more contemporary! Develop an attitude of confidence in who you really are!”

– Donna Kaiser

“In September 2009, I was diagnosed with acute lymphocitic leukemia (ALL). Due to chest ports for chemo/blood draws, etc, I have multiple scars on my chest. My most current is a fabulous little bump of an infusa-port. My veins have been quite grateful! When I look at my chest, I think of the support received from family, friends, community prayers and compassionate, dedicated medical personnel. The beauty of this scarred chest reminds of the love that has kept me going for over nine years and has assisted in putting me into my fourth remission.”

– Nora Rauner, Fort Wayne

“I have a beautiful smile. It brightens everybody's day. My hair is easy to work with so every week I look like I stepped out of a bandbox. To top it off I put on a perky hat and that always brings joy and happiness. I have a happy and joyous personality due to having the Lord in my heart. You would love me. I am 84 pounds of fun. I am a little honey bun.”

– Dorothy Anne Schultz, Warren 

“I am 71, turning 72 in August, and I am incredibly lucky in my hair. Years ago, when I was in my 30s, I was getting a haircut at a place where trainees were doing the work, and the supervisor (a handsome man with a distinct foreign accent) came around, watched for a moment, ran his fingers through my hair, and said 'You have perfect hair.' All these years later, I still remember that. But I did not believe it until many years later.

“As a teenager, I slept on brush rollers (ouch!) and later, I used hot rollers almost every day. Now, for the past couple of decades, I have finally learned that if I get a good haircut every few months (fairly but not extremely short), I have to do very little to make my hair look good. It is very thick, naturally wavy, darkened to a light brown since my towhead days as a child, and only very slightly beginning to gray. If I wash it every other evening, and use a curling iron briefly in the morning, it almost always looks good. I get quite a few compliments on it, including from people who think I color it. ... I have never in my life felt beautiful, or even pretty, but now that I am older, I feel more attractive than I ever did when I was younger.”

– Marilyn Kieffaber, North Manchester

“I am thankful for every part of my body, as God created it. I am able to run, jump and walk with my legs. Hands, arms, everything has a purpose that we are blessed with.”

– Jacqui Emberton, Fort Wayne