24 May On Beauty
When did I start thinking I was fat? Maybe around eleven or twelve, when some of my friends were skinnier than I was and all of a sudden I thought of myself as chubby. Another “chubby” friend put me in the same category with her and I accepted it. And constantly, every waking moment, wished and hoped and tried my darnedest to be skinnier. Because, after all, if you’re just skinny enough, you’re all right. You’ve arrived. And everybody will look at you and think, “She’s thin.” And that is all that matters.
But it doesn’t matter.
I feel like I’ve made huge progress in this area in the last few years. Even during the few months after each of my children were born, when I carried around the extra 20 or so post-pregnancy pounds, I was completely in awe of my body. God’s creation. A baby, a real person, had grown inside me and I’d given birth. It was amazing! For the first couple months. And then . . . around months four and five when I just felt fat and wished I could be like my annoying friends who lost tons of weight breastfeeding and ended up skinnier than they were before, or even the ones who didn’t take a year or more to lose the baby weight like I did. And even now . . . at nineteen months postpartum, I find myself wishing I were five pounds thinner, like I was before Adrian was conceived. Ask any of my girlfriends and they’ll tell you how (un)comfortable I am in my skin—some days. It’s a day by day battle.
My first thought when I saw these photos was, “I have to get back to that weight. Whatever it takes. Then I will look great!”
My second thought was something like, “I didn’t know how good I looked and I look fine now, too.”
Really deep, I know.
She goes on to say “The only way to win is to stay off the court. No matter how much of our time is spent in pursuit of physical beauty, even to great success, the Mirror on the Wall will always say, ‘Snow White lives,’ and this is in fact a lie—Snow White is a fairy tale.”
So true, right? Even though I’ve enjoyed Snow White over the years, I currently prefer the Veggie Tales fairy tale Sweetpea Beauty for helping girls see that inner beauty is so much more important, and shows on the outside, too. Last time Camilla watched this movie, I noticed the song playing during the credits, “Beautiful for Me”. In it, Nichole Nordeman sings from God’s perspective, “Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?”
My only beef with this video is how beautiful Nichole looks. I think she should be a little heavier and maybe wear no makeup, but she mentions this irony in another clip.
It’s a struggle for me—I want to accept the beauty in myself, to see and appreciate the beauty in every person. It’s not a competition. We are all beautiful in so many different ways. Because He made us beautiful.
I wish I could somehow preserve that little kid carelessness for Camilla. It would be wonderful if she could skip the endless pursuit on which I’ve wasted so much energy over the past 25 years. But she’s a human girl living in the U.S. of A and that means she’ll probably battle with self acceptance at some point. I can only pray it will be to a lesser degree than I have. And ask for the wisdom to build up her confidence.