tahitian attitudes + a lesson in self-love

"Men are strong, but women are stronger," Marania said as we lay on the front of the boat, gazing at the stars.

She is the epitome of a Tahitian woman.

The people of French Polynesia are something else; they’re laid back, kind, and confident. They’re beyond welcoming, and all of these admirable qualities are contagious. You can’t help but relax and put a big smile across your face when you’re in their presence.

 Tahitian dancers - Global Dish - Stephanie Arsenault

Tahitian dancers - Global Dish - Stephanie Arsenault

Especially the women. They’re stunning. They’re strong. They are community matriarchs. Marania is all of this, and then some.

We continued gazing at the stars, which were completely unobstructed by the pollution of light, twinkling dramatically, dancing along the night sky like ballerinas adorned in strings of white lights.

Men are strong, but women are stronger.

At that moment, I felt pure bliss. The sky, the silence {only interrupted by the occasional gentle wave hitting the side of the boat}, the company… it was a feeling of joy and contentment that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

 Marania in Tahiti - Photo Courtesy of Seattle's Travels

Marania in Tahiti - Photo Courtesy of Seattle's Travels

Marania broke the silence. "When I was pregnant, one day I just thought, oh my god, I am so beautiful! I am the most beautiful woman in the world!”

I turned my head, and let out a little laugh. “I would go to the grocery store, pushing my cart, and I would pose as people passed,” she continued. "I thought, I'm so beautiful I have to stop so they can look at me!"

I just thought, oh my god, I am so beautiful! I am the most beautiful woman in the world!

We sat in silence for a moment as Marania reflected. “I have never been skinny, not even when I was a kid," she went on, "but I would go out and wear a dress with no bra, because I was so beautiful." She laughed. I laughed, too, while simultaneously looking at her in admiration and feeling baffled at how it must have felt to feel so beautiful. 

She carries herself with pride – in who she is, what she does, and where she comes from. She doesn't tug at her clothes or fuss over her looks; she is comfortable in her own skin.

She wears beautiful dresses, and comfortable clothes; makeup at times, and at other times none at all.

Her hair is wild. Sometimes it is worn naturally, untamed curls venturing every which way; and sometimes it’s intricately styled, maneuvered into complicated braids.

She is passionate about life, and simply by being in her presence, I could feel my own sense of self, pride, and contentment grow.

We could all learn a little something {or a lot} from the Tahitian way of life; from the attitudes and values of people like Marania.

After all, she is, in fact, the most beautiful woman in the world.

And so are you.

 Stephanie {Global Dish} in Tahiti - Photo Courtesy of Seattle's Travels

Stephanie {Global Dish} in Tahiti - Photo Courtesy of Seattle's Travels

{Photos of Marania and Stephanie courtesy of Seattle's Travels}