Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm Beautiful (Eek!)

Today a friend on my Facebook wall posted a link to this: I've Started Telling My Daughters I'm Beautiful.  This is not a blog I have ever read before, but holy moly did this post resonate.

You see, I come from at least 2 generations of self-image issues.  My Nanny (my maternal grandmother) was unsatisfied with her skin color (too dark--she was 1/4 Cherokee), her lips (too thin), her weight (she dieted into her 70s).  My mom, well, my mom has a long list of things she would describe as problem areas:  eyes too small, a chin too many, a waist too large, hair too frizzy, upper arms she doesn't like.

The truth is this:  as a child there was no one that I loved more than my Nanny.  I didn't see any of those things she complained of.  It just wasn't in my consciousness.  As a matter of fact, when she was wasting away from an undiscovered recurrence of breast cancer in her liver, my cousin boldly stated, "I just want to remember Nanny fat and happy."  Twelve and a half years later, that sticks in my head.

Another truth?  I remember my mom dressing up to go out with my dad, putting on dark lipstick and fancy-ish clothes and I wanted nothing more than to look like her when I grew up.

Truth #3 (this one may sting a bit):  the poor concept my mom has/had of herself did get passed down.  You see, the more she listed her faults, the more I listened, especially when she (and everyone else) said that I looked just like her.  Add to that being a painfully self-conscious child, taller than all of my peers and hairier, too, and whammo! you've got an adult that isn't feeling so hip on her appearance.  Taking a compliment, even from my husband, no, especially from my husband, is painfully uncomfortable.  The little voice in my head is none to kind when it comes to body shape, lemme tell ya'.

BUT.  BUT here's the deal:  when I found out I was having a girl, I was determined to stop the cycle.  For that matter, I also determined that it was important for my sons to feel good about themselves, about women, not expecting magazine perfection.  So I just stopped speaking of my appearance at all.  Problem solved.  Until I read this damn blog post.  I think I may have just stumbled upon a New Year resolution.  Calling myself beautiful.  Out loud.  Even just one time will be a victory.

In that spirit, I give you a picture I took of myself today that I actually like.  It took 3 tries, but I like this one. 

Do you know how hard it is not to make self-deprecating comments and just let this be?  Sheesh.  

Now that you've read about my challenge, my insecurities and my bold attempt to find beauty, do it yourself. Let's start a trend, brought to you by the original post at Offbeat Mama (who has no idea I exist. ..only now maybe because I sent her a message).


moosh in indy. said...

AAAH!!! You ARE beautiful! I followed that link from a woman who has all sons, and she is every bit as beautiful as anyone else I know.

I love this, I love how you said you wanted to look just like your mom when you grew up because I felt the exact same way. To hear my mom talk ill of herself now breaks my heart.

Thank you for this, may we raise the next generation to love themselves as they should.

Michelle said...

Gosh Courtney you are gorgeous! It boggles me that it is hard for you to say, but I guess I get it from what you described. That's a good resolution. My version since I say I'm pretty all the time (lol) is to stop saying, "I'm stressed" and "I feel awful" outloud. Thanks for this.

Amanda said...

Thank you so much for emailing me and for your wonderful words. I'm SO happy that my writing made you think, and that you're in this with me. :)