Yes, I'll write about food again some time soon. And cheese. Which, of course, is food, but at the same time MORE than food around here.
A few things…
Guess what? If you eat less, you might lose weight. Especially if you eat less junk. Or stop that whole "fourth meal" nonsense. Do I NEED to eat another meal's worth of food at 8:30 or 9:00 at night? Um, no. Turns out I don't. Good to know.
And guess what else! If you get up and move, you feel better. Really! And you might look better, too! What a concept! So I'm trying that one out, too, just, you know, to see if it's really really true (because frankly, it sounds too simple, too easy) and I have to say, there seems to be some truth to this wild rumor.
Guess what else! If you do do those things I just mentioned? You might just feel a little happier about yourself. Really. Like, when you look in the mirror, even if you look exactly the same as you did last week (pretty much), you still might look different. Because a lot of how we look, when we look in the mirror, has more to do with what's going on in our heads then what we're really looking at. No, it's true. I honestly look pretty much the same as I did last week. Same hair, same glasses, same eyebrows in need of waxing, same good stuff, same bad stuff, same, same, same.
I don't. Don't look the same. I notice I look much better when I'm just feeling good in my head. And I'm dead ugly when I'm not. Really. It's kind of bizarre and funny and wonderful, all at the same time.
I also notice I look better when I'm not wearing stuff that's way too big, in my sad, feeble, ridiculous attempt to hide my flaws under a tent. It doesn't hide anything, Jayne. It makes them worse. Hard lesson to learn, somehow. I want to hide the parts of me that I think are grotesque, but in hiding them, I enlarge them, accentuate them, and draw all that (imagined) attention away from anything good.
Of course, I'm also assuming that SO many people can't help but gaze at me and think about these things. Self-absorbed + introverted = weird.
So, like so many people, I struggle with all sorts of self perception issues on a daily basis.
It really, really seems to get better if I'm doing GOOD things for and to myself rather than BAD things. Again, simple. But, for some reason, so hard to hang onto.
But I didn't start out this way. I don't think anyone does. I think (hope) we all start out like my kids, who, bless them both, love their own perfect little bodies. And then, for so many of us, we start to look around and compare and scrutinize and criticize and judge and on and on.
My daughter is beautiful. She is beautiful inside (well, except when she's crabby or violent…) and she is smart and creative and quick and joyful and funny and enthusiastic and opinionated and stubborn and a myriad of other things.
And she is beautiful on the outside.
Right now, at just-turned-six, she is physically beautiful. She has this strong, well-muscled little body – a gymnast's body type. And I say this not to brag about my child, because that's obnoxious. I say it with awe and wonder and amazement and joy, because at this point in time she is unaffected by external stuff that says how she should look. She just IS. And she IS beautiful and happy with herself and runs around in her underwear because why not? She's a kid, and she can, and she does not see herself as flawed in any way. She just IS.
She looks in a mirror and makes faces not because she is unhappy with what she sees, but because hey – if she does this, it's funny! There is only laughter in her eyes – no narrowing of the eyes, no squint of disapproval. Her face is fluid and funny and wonderful, as is the rest of her.
Her arms are strong. They are good for waving at Daddy in the morning and throwing toys to the cats and carrying her box of crayons and (yes) hitting her brother when words just take too long. They are good at hugging parents and friends, and snuggling Pinky at night. They propel her through the water and carry her back and forth on the "unbeeven" bars at gymnastics.
Her legs have well-defined muscles that she was born with, just like her eye color. They kick her along at swim class, they prople her upward on the trampoline, they carry her across the playground. They pedal her bike at breakneck speed DOWN hills, and they thrash wildly and dangerously when she is angry.
Her waist is trim and not at all ticklish. She can suck it in and stick it out and is equally happy either way. She thinks her belly button is funny. Her abs get a huge workout from all the laughing she does.
Her hips and little wiggly butt? Funniest. Things. Ever. Yesterday we were at the grocery store picking out fruit. I was smelling peaches (which aren't in season here yet, but I had a craving) and Julia picked up an apricot. "Can we get some of these? What are they?" "They're apricots. You can pick some out." She selected one, looked at it, and held it up to me. "They look like a bum!" She took four. She likes her own little booty quite a bit. Not because it's shaped well or firm or anything, but because it's hers.
That's her attitude about her entire self. It's hers. It's amazing and capable and strong, and it's hers.
My wish for her – that she never loses that feeling.
My wish for me – that I can get that feeling back.
I'm working on it.