I’ve felt a little bit like my high school self lately. Not the carefree one that I always picture in my head or the one that (supposedly) didn’t care what people thought. But the one who was always looking around, feeling small, wishing I looked like someone else.
Although I hated the way I looked in high school, I’ve been content for most of my adult life. With both my body and my less-than-perfect face.
But over the past couple weeks, I haven’t much felt like braving society after seeing myself in the mirror. My thirty-four-year-old self is once again afraid of the reflection, the person staring back at me. Afraid that she isn’t good enough. Pretty enough. Likable. Afraid that she will be rejected because of her flaws.
I’ve watched my usually blemish free face take on a new and less appealing look. My complexion has been ravaged by a peculiar rash that the doctor says will take at least a month to disappear. And I hate what I see. These red blotches seem to spell out “ugly” and “gross” right there on my face. And I’ve been tempted more than once to cancel plans because I’m embarrassed.
And although I’m generally content with my body, just one minute of standing under the fluorescent lighting of a dingy dressing room is all it took for the self-loathing to begin. Discontentment revealed itself as the illusion that my post-baby body was the same as my pre-baby body completely evaporated. The flab and sag that I manage to hide pretty well on a daily basis were suddenly highlighted under those dreaded lights.
And I’ve been acting like these things somehow make me less worthy than the rest of the population. As if I will be shunned because of my flawed skin and lumpy body. Each time I’ve had contact with another human being, my brain tells me they are thinking awful things about me. Because of a few blotches on my face and a roll or two around my midsection. It’s ridiculous, really.
But, if I enter back into reality, I become aware that my flaws just don’t matter that much to anyone else.
And after a couple unexpected compliments, I’ve decided that it’s time to kick that fearful and ashamed high school girl to the curb and focus on the truth.
In the eyes of my daughter, I am the “prettyest.” (Her spelling, not mine.)
In the eyes of a stranger, I have a “flattering” figure.
In the eyes of God, I am His perfect creation, made for a purpose.
I have a face that lights up my children’s eyes as they hurry to see me each morning. A face that their sleepy palms graze in the quiet hours of dawn. A face they love because no other face is more beautiful than that of one’s mama.
I have a body that has carried babies. A body that my children desperately cling to. A body that makes them feel safe. A body that is capable and cares for the other bodies in my home.
I have been created for a purpose, which cannot be fulfilled if I choose to abide in my flaws rather than dwell in truth. My body and face are so much more than blotchy skin and rolls. And while those are part of my life, they do not define me.
Maybe the whole world won’t accept me flaws and all, but MY whole world does. And what more could I ask for than to be declared beautiful by the ones who mean the most?
Thank God high school is over, and I no longer have to live chained to my imperfections.
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