On the outside and the inside


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.

2 thoughts on “On the outside and the inside

  1. Well this is kind of creepy…My blog today is about putting on a pair of jeans and feeling good about it too!
    I struggle with many of the same issues – mostly due to being overweight for most of my life…I remember when I was about 18 years old, I was in my older sister’s wedding. My little neighbour was about three at the time, and after the wedding when we were all milling around outside, his mom came over to tell me that when I walked down the aisle, he had gasped and whispered, “Mommy! Jilly looks sooo beautiful!” It was the first time I think I’d ever been told that, and I’ve never forgotten it.

  2. Funny how the things said to us when we are kids stick with us, and funny how a phrase from a small boys can change your whole outlook.
    I totally understand that not feeling beautiful and together like the popular girls growing up. I was a nerdy dork that got teased too. My hubby more than makes me feel beautiful now, but those off hand remarks that we don’t expect feel the best.
    Oh, and I very glad I got boys instead of girls too, for much the same reasons.

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