I have been hanging out at a new website lately. For you ladies that haven’t visited, you should really check out Scary Mommy. Not only are her blogs hilarious, she has an anonymous confession board where you can say ANYTHING (and I really do mean “Any Thing!), and message boards where you and other women (and a couple men) can discuss other subjects, solicit advice, cry on virtual shoulders, or laugh until you hurt! It is really a great site.
One of the topics on the message boards is about body image. How we women feel about our bodies, how they have changed since we got older, since we got married, since we had kids…you get the picture. So, of course, I got to thinking about my body (AAAARRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!! Noooooooooooo!). How I see it, how my husband sees it, how other women see it.
Now personally, I’m not really happy with my body. But if I’ve learned nothing else on Scary Mommy (SM), I have learned that most women aren’t. I’ve put on quite a few pounds since I had kids. I’ve gotten a few gray hairs (for which I blame the kids AND the husband). I’ve gotten a couple of chin hairs (definitely the kids). And my skin certainly doesn’t have the “dewy glow” it had when I was 16 and we won’t even discuss the stretchmarks.
My husband says I’m still beautiful to him. He swears when he looks at me he sees the 19 yr old beautiful, skinny, sexy, fiery girl he fell in love with. He doesn’t see what I see when I look in the mirror. He doesn’t see the older, pudgy, tired woman who stares back from the mirror after working all day, helping with homework, cooking supper, cleaning up that still tries to dig deep enough into reserves to find a little energy to show her husband she does still care. Do I believe him? Honestly? Sometimes.
How other people see me is another perspective. I really don’t care how other men see me. I don’t want them to run screaming in horror, mind you, and I do get a secret thrill when I get a second glance and smile from a man; but I am WAY past the days of wanting to be the center of men’s attention. I have my man. And he’s not going anywhere (even if I have to chain him up in the basement). It’s the women that get to me. And let’s be honest here. We never dressed for the men anyway. Not primarily. We wanted them to notice us, of course; but what we REALLY wanted was to be prettier, sexier, than the other women we were around. We HAD to be able to compete. Seriously, if we weren’t in the top 10 best looking women in the room, we might as well go home. Now it’s just easier for me to STAY home. Why risk it?
I use to look at older women walking around with too much make up on, wearing short skirts that would have looked great on a teenager, and hairstyles that just didn’t suit their faces all in an attempt to look younger. I would snort derisively and think, “Lady, just give up! Grow old gracefully. It’s a natural part of life!” Now that the “bloom of youth,” so to speak, has left me, I’m rethinking those harsh, selfish words. No, I don’t think anyone should attempt to look SO much younger than they obviously are…..but I don’t see any harm in trying to deny a decade few years. Really, what is a little hair color and new make up between friends?
I’m working on my self-image. I’m dieting to lose the extra pounds. I colored my hair (for the very first time). I shave the chin hairs. And I use moisturizer religiously. I will never be what I was…..but I’m beginning to think that is okay. I’m working on believing my husband when he tells me I’m still beautiful to him, because he doesn’t lie. I’m working on my self-confidence, because self-confidence is really what makes a woman sexy. So maybe I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world (Miss Universe certainly doesn’t have to worry about me giving her any competition), but I’m working on it.
I’m working on…..Me.