I have been nitpicking my reflection in the bathroom mirror to a much greater degree lately than ever before. To my eyes...I look older. I look tired. I look fatter. I look paler. I have more wrinkles. My skin isn't as bright or as even as it used to be. My hair is duller and frizzier…the list goes on and on. Nothing seems up to snuff lately. Maybe it's the approaching 4…gulp…0. Maybe it's the recent move craziness. Maybe it's the last 5 years since kids entered the picture and I stopped focusing on myself. Whatever it is, I feel decidedly un-attractive. Decidedly un-sexy.
And I've been wallowing, on the inside, in these feelings for quite a while. I look at pictures from my wedding and honeymoon just 6 short years ago and think, "What happened?" "I used to be so pretty." "Look how rested I look, how radiant." "Look at my skin! My hair!"
|Me, pre-wedding, no make-up, no hair did: |
And I did look great. But if I remember correctly, at the time, I was worried about the couple of extra pounds I gained right in my belly just before the wedding, with all the stress of planning. Partway through my rehearsal dinner I snuck into the bathroom to finally remove a waist-cinching spanx-type thing that was causing abdominal pain while I was trying to enjoy my delicious dinner. I remember wadding it up and stuffing it in my purse and finally breathing deeply with relief.
|Me, at rehearsal dinner, |
happier minus spanx
It is also possible that at one point on my honeymoon I wished that I'd gotten married in my twenties so that I would have had my twenty year old body on said honeymoon. Though I also distinctly remember going to Mexico with a girlfriend in my twenties and thinking how much fatter I was than she was. I also remember thinking my 115lb high school body was fat. I look back at pictures of my teenage self now and scream to the cosmos, "WHY?!? WHY?!?" I was flippin' adorable! (Big bangs and all!)
|Me, on honeymoon: |
jammies+coffee+book+balcony in maui=
So here I am, knocking on the door of, well, you know, and lamenting my reflection and waxing poetic about my teenage self, my twenty-something self, my pre-kid self…wondering why JT didn't bring sexy back to me...when it hit me. Like a lead pipe to the face.
Be happy with the body you've got, because in ten years it'll be the body you want.
Seriously. Stop and think about it. Unless you've experienced a major weight loss or other major transformation in the last ten years, odds are you look back fondly on your body of ten years ago. A body that, likely, you didn't fully appreciate when you were actually living in it.
I used to think this was a message for teenage girls: Love your body today. I promise you, it's beautiful. Stop picking it apart, because you cannot see it for what it is. You view it through fun-house-mirror-glasses. But I see its reality. Trust me. You're gorgeous. Everything about you is beautiful. No, your butt isn't too big/small. No your nose isn't too big/small. No your boobs are not too big/small. It's all just right. Revel in it.
But my epiphany is that this isn't a message just for teenage girls. It's a message for all girls. For all women. For all of us.
So, to every woman out there I must say this, with great urgency. To the young, the middle-aged, the old. To every single woman, please hear me now: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE WHO YOU ARE TODAY. LOVE YOUR BODY. LOVE YOUR HEART. LOVE YOUR MIND. LOVE YOUR SOUL. LOVE YOU.
Please stop saying nasty things to yourself. Please stop thinking nasty thoughts about yourself. Don't look at your reflection in the mirror and sigh ever again. Instead, appreciate both the intrinsic, innate beauty of your body and the functionality too.
On days when it's hard to adore the reflection, I focus on the function. I relish in my ability to lift and carry my two and four year olds. I love the arms that can wrap around my husband and hold him close. I love the legs and lungs that can carry me 3.1 miles of hills to the finish line.
But I'm trying really hard to love the reflection too. Every day.
|Me last week in my son's room after he |
napped on me for an hour and a half
|Me during a family nature walk through|
woods and wading in streams
No judgement. No malice. No bad hair days. Just good hair days and days I'm happy to have hair. :-)
Because when fifty is approaching, I will look back fondly upon my almost forty self. But hopefully I'll also be looking fondly upon my almost fifty self.
Until next time, go have a love fest with that beautiful reflection of yours, you gorgeous thing, you. Blow kisses to those wrinkles. Tenderly rub the buddha belly. Love on you the way you love on the other people you care for. And smile.