I came across this post recently from the Gala Darling blog. It is all about loving yourself and not relying on others to make you feel special. It made me realize that like so many others, I don’t take time to appreciate who I am and where I come from. I constantly look to others for validation on how I look, what I feel and who I am.
Like everyone else, I am haunted by ghosts of decisions past. Bad haircuts, terrible makeup, and poor sartorial choices are captured in photos all over the place. But does any of it make me inherently ugly? No, of course not. I’ve been terribly fat, and I’ve been model thin, and I am now somewhere in between. I’ve suffered the splotchy adolescent skin phase (which sometimes returns even now that I’m in my 30s) and perfected a regime that gives me a beautiful and dewy complexion. I have gone from not shaving my legs at all to using a cheap disposable razor to buying only men’s razors to spending a fortune on a mechanical epilator that makes me cry out in pain.
I have bleached, dyed and teased my hair so much that is has fallen out in clumps. I have maintained growth for long periods of time before cutting it all off so that if it weren’t for my childbearing hips and porn star superboobs, I’d easily be mistaken for a guy. I have bobbed and pixied and layered and banged so often that even after three decades, I have yet to find my signature style.
I have tried every nail polish under the sun, along with acrylics, gels and silks. I have bitten and chewed my own nails off, and I have taken various vitamins in the hopes of growing them out. I have worn rings on every finger, bracelets up my arms and “statement” jewelry galore. I finally have settled on just my wedding ring, which is simple and unassuming and the best thing for making me feel beautiful. And why is that? Because it means that someone loves me, thinks I’m beautiful and wants to stick by me forever.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to let how others see you or feel about you make you feel good about yourself. But if it is the only thing that makes you feel good, you’re missing a trick.
Today, I stood in front of my mirror, stark ass naked and really looked. And I saw flaws galore. More than I’d care to admit, actually, but I think I’m also my harshest critic. The parts that I don’t like are the things that have brought me the most happiness.
Those stretch marks across my belly are there because I successfully carried and birthed two gorgeous children.
The 20 extra lbs I’m sporting, and that cellulite under my rear end are from all the happy family meals I’ve cooked and eaten with gusto, as well as the many many trips to the local fro yo place with irreplaceable friends.
The four tattoos I sport in various places are indicative of four special milestones in my life which changed me as internally as they did externally.
My two crooked front teeth come because I gave up my chance at getting braces because I knew it would be a hardship on my already stretched-to-the-limit mom.
Those pimples that have emerged across my chin and forehead this week come from that giant bar of swiss chocolate that my friend in Europe was kind enough to send me “just because.”
The slight wrinkles around my eyes and mouth are because (despite my best efforts in my 20s!) I have managed not to kill myself. I am here, and I am happy, and I smile so much that the lines will never go away.
And the bruises and rug rash all over my legs are from getting down and playing with the kids on the floor as it was too rainy to go to the park yesterday.
Now don’t get me wrong… most days I look at myself and want to cry. I see where a few weeks at a top-notch spa would do me a world of good. I need a hairdresser and a personal trainer and a dietitian and a pedicure!
But today, for these few minutes and with this mindset, I can look beyond the superficial and see what is inside. That I’m a good mom and a good wife and a pretty good woman.
For now, that’s enough to be getting on with.