This post wasn’t planned but this week’s Blessed Is She link up is on body image and I felt like I needed to write something. So I beg pardon for the rough edges.
I have struggled with self image probably since middle school, when I first realized that I didn’t look like the “popular girls”. Before that I didn’t care, I looked like me and I wore what clothes I like and were comfy and didn’t really care about hair or makeup. But then I realized that there was a way I was “suppose” to look. And you know what happens when you can’t afford the popular clothes or wearing makeup makes your face feel weird and not like your face? You pretend to not care. I kept wearing the clothes that I liked but when I got a chance (aka during sales) I would buy the popular clothes even if they didn’t fit me right or made me look strange in the mirror. I wouldn’t wear makeup normally but I would for things like dances or orchestra concerts, when I felt like people would be paying attention to me.
I spent high school and college knowing that I wasn’t pretty. I mean, no guy ever really paid attention to me, at least not the cool ones, so clearly there was something wrong with me. When friends would comment that I looked good in an outfit, or was pretty I would blush, shrug and disbelieve that they were being genuine even as my mouth would say “thank you”. This disbelief lasted for a long time. In fact, to be honest, it lasted until I met my husband, and it still rears its head once in a while.
It wasn’t that I didn’t get compliments before I met D, or that the random guy while I was out with my girlfriends wouldn’t hit on me, but I never really believed that they meant what they were saying or that they honestly thought that I was attractive. I mean why would they mean it? I never really felt attractive. My legs were too long, I was too skinny, I was too fat, I was too muscular, I was too smart, I was too whatever… Depended on the day, but while on the outside I may have looked like a woman with amazing self image, I hid the truth really well. I didn’t wear makeup because it meant I had to get up earlier in the morning and it made my face break out and my eyes itch not because I felt beautiful without it. I didn’t wear expensive stylish clothes because they cost more and were less comfy than jeans and a t-shirt, not because I felt beautiful in jeans and a t-shirt. I kept my hair style simple, short and tucked behind my ears or long and in a ponytail because I lack the skills and desire to spend more time on my hairstyle, not because I feel beautiful with my hair in a ponytail. But my mind is slowly changing about all these things.
Because I am so incredibly blessed to have a husband who has convinced me that he really does think I’m beautiful which in turn has started to convince me that I really AM beautiful. Even at 37 weeks pregnant, when I have moments of looking in the mirror and feel fat rather than a beautiful vessel growing our daughter, D reminds me of how beautiful I am. Even when he doesn’t say it I can tell from how he looks at me. It is amazing how having affirmation that you believe can really change how you think. Now I wear clothes because they are comfy and I feel beautiful in them. I don’t wear makeup because I feel like I don’t need to. I wear my hair in a ponytail because I don’t think I am less beautiful than if I spent an hour styling it. D has helped to show me that I am beautiful. I hope to be able to pass on this new found confidence on to Little Bean from the start. I hope that I will say the little things that mean more than making a deal in front of others. He reminds me all the time. Just today we were standing in the kitchen earlier and as D started playing with my hair he says, “Such big beautiful brains in a lovely container”.
A beautiful reminder.