I was getting dressed for our anniversary outing this past weekend and I was semi-ready; skirt on but still deciding on a top and Elliot comes bursting into my room and says, “Mommy, why are you so… beautiful?” He paused for a while and just assessed me for a minute. I don’t know what he was originally thinking but the last word he chose affected me in a way I didn’t expect. I tend to brush off compliments but hearing him say that warmed my heart. Even if I don’t believe it.
I am glad I don’t have daughters because I have a very real fear of self-image problems and I know that girls struggle with that a lot more. (And I know that doesn’t sound quite right – glad I don’t have daughters – but I am just too scared to have to deal with it for them.) Not saying boys don’t – or won’t – but I know the kinds of pressures put on young girls to be “beautiful.” I always buried that stuff way down deep when I was younger and put up a front; I pretended I didn’t care what anyone else thought of me but as we all know, it’s not ever easy to simply ignore hurtful words.
I was bullied a little as a kid. I had curly hair and a gap between my front teeth and I was short. But I made up for my shortcomings in other ways. I was really fast and really smart and – as I recall – kind of funny. But I was never fashionable and I guess sort of a dork so there was always a cool kid who made fun of me. I grew up and fixed those things but I still don’t think I am an attractive person. But when you have kids, you have to convey a certain level of confidence. Kids are eerily perceptive so I think it’s important that I do this.
I put on a pair of jeans this morning and they fit me really well. Hugged my curves in good ways and actually felt a little looser in certain areas, thanks to running. I put on a pair of brown Merrells I got off Ebay and a green shirt and looked in the mirror. I felt pretty put-together and thought about what Elliot said. It was a rare moment for me to feel like I’m not totally hideous. In fact, I was actually happy about the way I looked. I shall carry that with me and use it to bolster that confidence so my boys can grow up comfortable with who they are. I learned something new about myself and I owe it in part to my four year old son and his kind words.