Thursday, December 11, 2014

On mirrors and self-esteem

Wanna know something funny? Well, ok, mostly sad. In our new apartment, we have more mirrors than in our last. Our last one only had two, one over each bathroom. Nothing full-length, which, for a while, I hated. I hated that I couldn't assess my entire outfit before going out. How frustrating that I couldn't see myself how others saw me! How could I possibly know what kind of confidence I should exude if I didn't know how I looked? 

But after a few months, I cared less and less. Certainly never enough to buy a cheap one at the store. On some level, I think I knew it was good for me.  Finally, I realized that when I simply chose clothes I liked, I looked good! I was happy! Because I stopped trying to see myself how everyone else did and focused just on how I felt. It was so liberating, and I didn't even recognize it until we moved in to our new apartment. 

Now we only have one bathroom, but its mirrors span the continents. Seriously, look:

Isn't that huge?? And awesome?? And also - it's right across from our kitchen. So if the bathroom door is open, anytime I walk through the kitchen (which is a lot), I see myself. And in just the few days since we've been here, I've already gotten more self-conscious. "Have my hips always been this wide?" "Why does my tummy stick out like this?" "Ugh why didn't I do my hair today I look so unkempt."

Hey, sister. 

CUT IT OUT. 

I'm talking to me, and to you too. Because I know we all have those thoughts. And it's ridiculous. 

Because I can move 20 feet to the right and be in my daughters' bedroom, where the largest closet I've ever had is, and it's covered by two sliding, mirrored doors. And when I look in those, wanna know what I see?

I see a beautiful mother, playing with her children, having so much fun basking in their adoration that I don't have time to look at what fat should go where. I honestly don't even look in that mirror much, because I'm either playing or putting kids to bed and I really don't have time to be so selfish as to think the way my beautiful body looks is of any importance at all. Plus, they don't care. They care that I'm present, that I try to be kind and good. Isn't that what most of us care about anyway? It's just so easy to get caught up in these petty comparisons that don't *really* matter. 

I'm not so stupid as to curse my body when I'm down, but I'm not yet smart enough to bless it when I'm neutral, so here goes:

I have awesome hair. And for that matter: I HAVE HAIR!! Something I was insanely insecure about on chemo. I have functional hands, which let me cook, which I'm really loving learning how to do. Those hands also let me tickle my kids, joyful to all of us. 

I have hips that are, thankfully, wide enough to hold children. I have a tummy that holds all sorts!! of delicious foods, including Peanut Butter M&Ms, and my life would be empty without them. I have eyes that let me see all this, that let me study the word of God and see my gorgeous husband and beautiful in-every-sense-of-the-word kids. I have pretty nails. I have a really cool birthmark on my right leg that sets me apart and I love it.

I am beautiful. What I'd love to see is people loving themselves more, for exactly who they are and what they want to be. We're all trying for something and I wish we enjoyed the process more, not just the destination. It's ok to mess up. It's ok to backtrack or take breaks. And it's ok to appreciate others for their flaws and strengths. It doesn't make us any less awesome to see someone else succeed. Sometimes, with love, I think it can make us want to succeed more. 

So tell me. What do YOU love about YOURSELF? Spare no detail ;)