Flipping through the pictures on my phone, I see it.
My first reaction is shock. Who took this hideous picture of me?
Self-loathing and disgust swell up and threaten to bring me to tears.
Just as I am about to hit delete, my boy walks in the room.
“Do you know anything about this picture?” I ask him.
I turn the screen so he can see it. He smiles huge.
“I took that of you in Tahoe,” he says. “You looked so beautiful laying there. I couldn’t help it mom.”
“You need to ask me before using my phone to take pictures,” I say.
“I know,” he says. “But mom, seriously, look how pretty you look?”
I look at the picture again and try to see what he sees.
My daughter walks over and takes a look.
“That could be a postcard mom,” she says smiling. “Your so beautiful. I love it.”
I take a deep breath.
This is exactly what I needed.
My default mode is to see and focus on the flaws and imperfections. I’m starting to see a bit more.
I still see my dimply, fat thighs.
I also see a mom collapsed on the shore that just explored the lake for hours with her children.
I still see chubby arms.
I also see the arms of a mom that just helped her kids across the rocks and hot sand so their feet wouldn’t hurt.
I still see a fat woman wearing a black dress bathing suit to try to hide her weight issue.
I also see an adventurous mom that loves her children something fierce.
Like many women, I have struggled with my weight most of my life. It’s not something that will ever go away for me. I don’t have a naturally slim body. Never have.
Right now I’m the heaviest I’ve been in 10 years. Yet…
I have not let my weight stop me this time. I am wearing tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits in public. I’m running around playing with my kids this summer and I sometimes even feel attractive.
Yes. You heard me.
“I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty and bright.”
Well…not exactly. But something like that.
Is it because I’m getting older? Is it that I have more to worry about than just how I look? Or maybe it’s because my kids look at me with such adoring eyes.
Really, it doesn’t matter.
I don’t hate my body anymore.
That’s huge for me to admit and hard to even wrap my mind around.
I’m not giving up on exercising and getting healthy. Those are things I will continue to strive for because I want to be around awhile.
Right now though, I just want to love my body where it is. I want it to be OK to see myself the way my kids do.
Thank you kids.
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The story originally appeared on the Bridgette Tales Blog.
Remember, we all all beautiful inside. Even though society has created an image of “beauty” that we often aspire to meet, it’s what’s on the inside the counts.
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