It starts and stops throughout the day. A pinch of the arm flab. A thought. A self-criticism. I’ll look in the mirror at one angle and then another to check how I look, how I compare, how I feel. And the picking and the criticism will begin. I’ll think about how much better I would feel if I looked a certain way. How powerful and in control I could be if my arms were thinner, my abs were flatter, my legs were skinnier. I think about all those things. And it always ends in me not being enough, not measuring up. Not feeling like I’m someone that can stand up in comparison to others.
What makes it worse, is the cameras we have access to at all times. Now, we can snap before photos with the hopes that our after will finally measure up. The other day, I decided to take one of those photos to see how I looked. And there, in the lens, flashed my daughter. I saw her in my reflection. It was an expression or a look or an angle…I don’t know, but my own daughter was there. I saw my daughter right before I planned to go into a rant about how badly I looked and felt.
But how do I do that when I see her? How do I criticize myself, hate on myself, and wish to be something different when I see my own daughter looking back at me? How do I decide to live the rest of my life this way (a constant cycle of trying to lose 10 pounds) when I know she’ll be looking and watching?
You know, my favorite phrase might be “you make plans and God laughs.” And how true that is. I had planned to live selfishly the rest of my life. I had planned to work on this “losing weight” thing until I figured it out. Until I could stay the perfect weight forever. And then I became a mother. A mother of girls.
To think of their lives and their view of themselves through the same lens that I view myself is heartbreaking to say the least. Infuriating. Crazy. How could they not love every single thing about their bodies? Their faces? Their smiles? How could they not look in the mirror every single day and be overjoyed by what they see? How could they not fall in love with themselves day after day after day? How could they ever want to change a single thing?
So that’s where I’m at as a mom of girls. I’m constantly having to reconcile my own insecurities, my own self-doubts, my own beliefs with what I want for them. I’m constantly having to ask myself if I’m setting an example for them, if I’m enough for them, and if I was cut out to be a mom for them. Because being a mom means that you let go of all the shit that you held onto for yourself. It means that you teach them something different. It means that you somehow have to change and move out of your comfort zone. It means that you have to learn to love yourself so that they can keep loving themselves.
You see, I realized they were born perfect. And they know that too. And the only way that will changes is if I project my own insecurities, my own perceived flaws, and my limits on them. So from now on, I promise to look into that camera and smile so they know that happiness is what is beautiful. I promise to love my body so they know how to love theirs. I promise find my greatness again in the hopes that they will keep theirs.