Samantha woke up, so the family woke up. We started the day like every other day, giving her milk, Dad rushing around gathering his stuff to leave for work, me looking at what dirty clothes on the floor I could get away with wearing again.
Since having a baby, getting dressed has become a little trickier. I have one set of pants that make my butt look good and really bring my waist in. However, I was a little too optimistic when I purchased them and their “snug fit” is bound to pop a button one of these days. This means that I am now limited to wearing baggy shirts in an attempt to hide the muffin top of shame that rests peacefully above my jeans.
While the family scurries about in our rushed morning routine, I always spend a few minutes “adjusting” myself in the mirror. I attempt to modify my pants so they make me look curvy instead of fat. I stand up straight, push in my gut and stand sideways looking in the mirror. Then I smile, like I’m posing for a photo. I take a snapshot of what my potential is, understanding that I’m just not there yet.
Just as my mental camera flashed, I saw my one and half year old daughter in the mirror. She was standing behind me, lifting up her own shirt and pushing her belly in. I watched her go from looking at her now morphed stomach in the mirror back to herself, trying to see what I was doing.
I froze. My normal hurried routine started to feel quite insignificant.
Memories of my childhood, the ones I tried to not think about, were back in an instant. Growing up, I had identified myself as the “skinny” one in my family and went to whatever extremes necessary to keep it that way. I remembered years of my life wasted on insecurity, dollars upon dollars spent to feel pretty, convincing those boys to like me just to hear them say I was beautiful. Hurting myself over and over for the sake of outward appearance, I grasped for the unobtainable perfection that I saw in everyone else around me.
This battle has been going on for generations. My mom’s mom has her battles, as does my own mom. At what point do we become victorious? At what point do we stop responding to the voices in our head that tell us over and over and over again how worthless we are without our outward beauty?
Although she couldn’t know what was really going on, I had to wonder how many times of watching Mommy be self-conscious would it take until she knew. I dread the day when my daughter will stop feeling beautiful. The day when she looks in the mirror and finds something, anything she wants to change.
Silent, I watched my daughter as she mimicked my every move in front of the mirror. Turning around, lifting her shirt up and pushing her belly in. Defeated, I begged God for a victory. For just once, we could win this battle against the dominating opponent of insecurity.
I walked in front of my daughter and stood between her and the mirror. I looked at myself in the mirror again, but this time I said, “Wow, its perfect!” Pointing at my stomach, not changing it in any way, I said “I am so beautiful! I love how I look!” Feeling ridiculous, I paused and looked at my daughter. Could this little girl, who isn’t even two years old, understand at all what I’m doing here?
She looked at me, then at her own belly again. She pointed at her stomach and said, “Perfect.”
Hear my battle cry, as our redemption starts today.
Post Written by Guest Writer: Janelle Greene
Check out her blog at: Blemories
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