Now, I'd like to take a moment to say that all my life I have struggled with self-image trouble.
I know, right? Who hasn't? Very few.
All my life I hated when people complimented my appearance or my looks. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but I also hated it. I didn't know how to handle it. What do you say when someone says you're pretty or beautiful and you don't agree?
I used to just laugh it off and say, 'oh, yeah...whatever.' or something akin to it. Incidentally I'm not good at taking most any kind of compliments. Just not comfortable with it.
But it really bothered me when boys would compliment me. Especially those I was on a date with or whatever. I remember one time dancing with a boy and saying to him (after he told me I was the b word--not THAT b word! The good one...beautiful) "You don't have to say things like that. I'm already in your arms."
Oh, I know. I am mortified at the lack of self-worth and esteem I had at that time.
I remember when Beloved and I were dating it made me anxious and uncomfortable for him to call me that. Partly because that was who I was and partly because--well, I had seen pics of the girls he had dated and he thought they were beautiful and so, clearly he could not be trusted. ;)
But for most of the last 12 years that he and I have been together, I based a lot of my self-worth and self-image on him and his reactions to my appearance, etc. I didn't always do it. I mean, when he would tell me I was beautiful while I was wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and no makeup and my hair just in a ponytail or not even brushed (oh, c'mon, what moms haven't had that kind of day?!) I had a hard time believing it. And when I dressed up for a date or just no occasion at all and he didn't notice or say that he noticed, I took it badly.
But slowly I have noticed in the last month that this infidelity of Beloved's has caused me to think of myself as separate from him (and let's face it, he barely looks at me now, anyhow).
I get myself ready in the morning and look at myself in the mirror and put on my makeup--or don't put it on--for me.
I look in the mirror and I like what I see, makeup or no. Clothes or no.
I've decided that I like me for me.
I'm a good person. Or try to be.
I'm a good friend. Or try to be.
I'm a good mom. Or try to be.
I'm a good wife. Or try to be.
But you know what? I'm a good me.
I may have still 30 lbs to lose, but I've lost 35 in the last few months.
And I'm ok with giving myself several more months to lose it.
I look at my body and I think "OK, It's not perfect", but I see the scars of each of my four pregnancies and how could I not love the part of me that housed those perfect babies of mine?
And my breasts aren't the pert little perky things they were 12 years ago, but they have given sustenance (and still are giving sustenance to baby boy) to all four of my children in their first year or so of life.
My face has changed. My eyes have little lines around them when I smile or laugh, but aren't I blessed that I've had that many opportunities to laugh and smile?
I like it.
To me, I'm beautiful.
Whether Beloved notices or not.