blurred lines

so, although ‘mount paperwork’ still looms in the background, (or maybe i should say, because ‘mount paperwork’ looms in the background..) i have been doing a bunch of fun things in life ie: procrastinating! i got a manicure, finished up some decorating around the house, had friends over for dinner, and met girlfriends for lunch on saturday.  (side note: we ate at the world street kitchen and it was cuuuuuuhhhhh—razy delish. i tried their ‘bangkok burrito’ and it is, as my friend lury says, ‘the stuff dreams are made of..’ great atmosphere, awesome menu, friendly staff…if you’ve never been, i highly recommend you get on that.)

anyway, while we were waiting for our food to come, we started talking about very typical girly things…the first of which was weight/how we feel about how we look. it was the usual “ugh..i’m having one of those days…i just feel blah…” followed by a chorus of “me too’s”, “totally’s”, and “you look great. i need a major makeover!”

i’ve been thinking about the ideas of body image and self esteem a lot since then…this self destructive talk is really so ingrained in (especially) women, and it’s starting to make me sad…mostly because there are very few moments it seems, for most women, where we are really loving ourselves.

the other day i took out my contacts before bed, and for a few seconds while my vision was blurry i just stared at myself in the mirror. staring, or should i say scrutinizing, myself in the mirror is fairly common place (unfortunately), but this time was different. without my contacts i couldn’t see every line, bump, or stretch mark. i couldn’t make out my crooked front tooth, lower belly pooch that needs toning, eyebrows that need tweezing, and roots that badly need touching up.  all i could see was the fuzzy outline of my body, and in that moment i thought “hmmm. it’s not that bad…” and this was huge for me. (sad to say that’s considered a really nice thing i say about myself..). as hard as it is to admit, even in my most dolled up, glamorous moments (of which there are few!), i can still only see my flaws. and so much of what i do to myself in terms of workouts, diet, highlighting, waxing, tweezing, plucking, dressing up, and making up is not because i love who i am, but rather because i don’t. i am doing all this work to try to make the world deem me ‘acceptable’, but the reality is even if the world does, i don’t. i’m starting to recognize the reasons behind some of my choices, and it scares me a little.

thinking about going into motherhood, and especially thinking about having girls, i want so badly for my children to not just feel loved and accepted from us, but also to love and accept themselves. how do i teach that? how do i instill values into my kids when i don’t show i value the same things? i don’t have all the answers….it’s just kinda got me thinking…. and don’t worry, i am not walking around self hating all the time….at least no more than the average girl :)

my friend laura has made it a point in life to always let girls know when they look nice, have a cute outfit on, or have a bright smile. even if they are total strangers. i’ve been thinking about starting to do this too. how nice would it be if we women started lifting each other up, encouraging each other, and started taking a little of that pressure off?? the reality is no one is judging me as harshly as i am judging myself. everyone else is seeing me, at least partially, with blurry vision.  (thank you God!) :)

any good advice or thoughts on this? how have you taught your kids about self acceptance/positive self esteem?

Comments

  1. Angel says

    Oh girl, having a daughter has ROCKED MY WORLD in that department. I never want her to not like herself, and I’m still trying to figure out how to accomplish that. I guess it starts with being a good example. So I am so careful what I say, and I always tell Joe that through her whole life he needs to be so affirming to her….no matter what she looks like, or what society says is ‘pretty’. She might be 6ft 4in with shoulders as broad as a football player and if that’s the case, man, I hope she owns it! And loves it! :) Great post!

    • says

      hahaha!! thanks angel!! :) i think positive affirmation in HUGE and finding our worth in things outside of how we look is equally essential. keep doing a kick butt mom job bc i’m coming for ya when our kids come!! :)

  2. says

    Wow! This really hits home. I am very sensitive to body image and self esteem issues (and the beauty myth as it relates to Black girls) since I have two little ladies that I’m raising. And it doesn’t seem to matter what age we are. we all seem to have the same struggles. My oldest daughter is 23 and I’m 47 and the insecurity is the same. I guess the biggest difference is that I now know how unimportant my looks are as they relate to my ability. I agree, it is sad and it’s a constant struggle in which we need to support each other. Great post! :)

    • says

      i love that: “how unimportant my looks are as they relate to my ability.” THAT is a good word. it’s just so hard sometimes… it’s like, i know in my head that it doesn’t matter but my heart still longs for this unattainable….thing…. and my heart has been winning out more often lately! it will always be a struggle, but words like yours remind me what’s really true and important! thank you!!

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