Yup. I said it. I think I’m pretty. I know, I know. Ugh, she is so conceited!
I’ve been wanting to tell you this for quite some time, really. Not simply because I want you to know that I think I’m pretty, but because I don’t understand why you don’t think you’re pretty. Or, do you? Would you boldly make that statement? Because if I know you, chances are high that I think you are beautiful, as well. Like, really, really stunning. I look at the women around me in awe sometimes, which is why we need to talk.
For weeks- no, months, I have wanted to discuss my number one pet peeve: Grown women talking about being fat. It feels like I see it everywhere! Grown women of any size who talk about their weight makes me want to beat my head against the wall. My heart breaks into tiny pieces when I listen to women discuss the things they hate about their bodies. I want to grab their faces forcefully and somehow, some way, let them view themselves in the lens that God views them through. I want to sit them down and allow them hear how absolutely ridiculous they sound, breaking down the remarkably unique bodies they are walking around in (most of whom, let’s admit-are at their prime!). I want them to hear how they sound through the ears of their little children, who think they are the most gorgeous creatures on this planet.
My mother’s self-esteem was not so great. I did not know that until I was an adult, though. Then, I found out how frustrated she was with her body. I look back now and realize that, while she struggled with depression all of those years, I have no memories of her talking negatively about herself. Never in my formative years was I taken to the gym to watch people work out. While I now know my mom dieted, I never remember her talking about it. Our bodies were just what we lived in, and food was just what we ate. As I wrote in my mom’s eulogy, one of her strengths was the way she nurtured and built me up as a child. I wish I could ask her now, “Did you purposefully avoid talking about your body in front of me as a kid?” I honestly don’t know if it was to avoid passing down a stigma of weight-worry, or just because talking about your body was private, but she didn’t. Whatever the reason, I wasn’t very aware of body issues until I joined up with a modeling school in college. After a 6 week stint of trying desperately (read:STARVING) to make my hips fit their mold, I decided that they could buzz off. I liked my birthing hips, and I liked my burgers. And I could be pretty without Page Parkes Modeling Agency. My mother told me so.
That experience could have torn me apart. Standing in my bathing suit and heels at age 19, in front of a room full agents who told me in no uncertain terms that I was too wide for their agency, stung a little (weighing 20 lbs less than I do now!). Then they pulled me into another room, to be counseled by their “nutritionist”, who hoped to boost my chances of winning a contract at the next show. I believe it was a lifetime of focus on things other than my body that enabled me to tell them, NO THANKS and GOODBYE.
The little girls around us deserve the same. What do we expect the young girls in our life to think, if the beautiful role models whom they see talking at church, at school, on facebook, ect, are dissatisfied with their bodies? If we spend real time analyzing our physical imperfection, obsessing over losing a few pounds, or the size of their clothes? I’ve been guilty of referring to how great a food is, but feeling like I have to note when I’ll “work it off”, or how fattening it is. Why do I need to do that? I wonder if they look at us and think, if she’s dieting, what must I need to do? What must it make them think if I can’t just enjoy my meal? How does it look when we have long discussions on social media trying to figure out how to “hide this hideous muffin-top of mine until I can pull myself back into shape?” How must our little girls feel when we talk about our big butts? Don’t you ever worry if you just sent a little girl into the restroom to analyze her own?! What must this make them believe of themselves, if they see BEAUTIFUL young mothers picking apart their bodies? We need to stop. I need to stop. Stop it.
I’m aware that celebrities influence our daughters, children and youth. But let’s not underestimate the influence that we have on them. I would venture to say that the example that we set in front of them is far more persuasive.
Ladies, take the time to do what makes you feel beautiful, and embrace it! Please don’t misunderstand this to say that there is something wrong with wanting to get fit, work out, dress well, look your best. For heaven’s sake, this is the only body you get, enjoy it! And if the barn needs some paint, by all means put some paint on it! But I want my child to hear and see that I think God did a wonderful job creating me, and him (because I have a little boy, and he’s beautiful as well!). I think I am a beautiful woman! Ladies, there is nothing wrong with saying that (I’m only suggesting you believe it and speak it. I am not suggesting anyone express it in the form of regular selfie postings. please. :)) Say it with me:
I am pretty! I’m beautiful!
Ugh. I can’t believe you just said that. ha! kidding.
I want to inspire you to start speaking positively about yourself, and others. And believe it, because it is true. Won’t it feel great to see your girls believe it, too? I want our girls to grow up knowing that beauty is not something to be attained. Seeing our satisfaction will remind them that they, too, are precious jewels!
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Psalm 139: 13 &14