First, let me tell you what I see.
Starting from the very top: Frizzy hair. Big brown eyes. Long lashes. A full set of lips.
Moving on to my body: Wide shoulders. Boobs. Lots of them. (More commonly referred to as DD’s.) If I keep my stomach sucked in, I also see a decent waist line. If I don’t, I see a woman I would assume was about four to five months pregnant.
Lower still, I see my hips. My thighs. I think about thunder. Chafing. That song about liking big butts comes to mind. I don’t bother turning to look at my backside because I have it covered by the hoodie I have wrapped around my waist. I like to refer to that as my assmoflauge.
My legs are kind of a joke. I stand 5’6’’ but am mostly torso, which is Pauline-speak for Dayum, My Legs Are Short.
All together, I guess it’s a pretty decent package. I won’t be gracing the cover of any Sports Illustrated Issues anytime soon. And if I was famous, a new part of me would probably grace the cover of The National Enquirer each week with the headline: Celebrities and Cellulite…but let’s concentrate on the positive here. I am not famous and no one outside of my head really gives a damn about the size of my ass.
Sound like I’m being harsh on myself? I’ll bet. It’s my inner-critic talking. The voice in my head that lead me down the path to bulimia and self-harm as a teenager.
But here’s the problem. My inner-critic is kind of a bitch.
And that’s what gets me thinking…as women, do we talk to our friends like this? Do we tell our Bestie since the First Grade that she really needs to lay off the ice cream because she’s starting to look like a candidate for The Biggest Loser?
Of course not!
Think about a scenario we have all been a part of at some point in our lives. It’s you and a girlfriend just hanging out. You choose the location but the conversation goes like this:
Friend: You look good! Have you lost weight? You: Are you insane? I think I gained five pounds. You, however, make me look like a giant. New workout program? Friend: Now who’s the crazy one? Have you actually looked in a mirror, lately? Because really, girl, you look fantastic! You: Oh shut up! You do!
And the conversation keeps going, probably until the point the Earth spins itself off of its axis, with neither you or your friend successfully convincing the other of the beauty each sees in the other. Change the focus on weight to who has better hair or whose eyelashes are longer or who looks good with and without makeup and you’d have the same type of exchange happening because neither one of you would be willing to shut up and just say Thank You.
So what’s the deal, ladies? Why do we search for the worst in our reflections? Why do we let our inner-critics run the ego-train? And, perhaps more importantly, why don’t we treat ourselves with the same love and respect that we show to our friends?
Remember that mirror? Let’s try that exercise again.
And this time, tell that inner-critic to shut the hell up. Instead, pretend you are telling your best friend how gorgeous she is without cutting yourself down in the process.
I’ll go first:
I love your hair, girl. It’s kinky and cute. You know people pay money for perms like that, right? And seriously? I can’t decide if your eyes or your mouth are your best feature. Maybe it’s a combo-thing.
Oh and hey, I totally wish I had your body. You fill out clothes in all the right places. Boobs, waist, hips…hello hour glass! No, don’t tell me to shut up. I’m being serious, you jackass. You’re beautiful and you know it. No, I am not smoking crack. I am totally sober and totally serious.
You might not be ready to open your eyes and see it yet, Pauline, but you are beautiful. Inside and out. Yes, I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true or I wouldn’t be saying it. And honey? Lose the assmoflauge, already. There’s no reason to hide yourself from the world.
I’ll admit I kind of felt like an idiot while doing this, but once I stopped censoring myself and really projected what I would be verbalizing to a friend who I may have witnessed picking herself apart, it really became as natural as if I had been talking to someone other than myself.
And that, my friends, is my whole point here.
I’ve come a long way in the almost four years since I had my daughter and have finally lost the baby weight. I have more to lose, and sadly, that’s what I focus on when I see my reflection when instead, I should be celebrating my successes. So what if it took me four years to lose 40 pounds? I lost it! I should be shouting that from the rooftops. Not that I’m still rocking a muffin-top.
Get my drift?
Look in the mirror, ladies
Take a deep breath.
Now tell me…what do you see?
This post originally appeared on Owning Pink.