So, here’s a blog post I never planned to write. Not because I’ve been avoiding it, or because it felt too big or too personal to share, but because up until a few days ago, it simply wasn’t TRUE. Not for me.
Up until a few days ago, I didn’t believe I was beautiful.
The last time I remember feeling beautiful was my wedding day eighteen years ago. I’m sure there were times after that, but they don’t stand out to me. I can tell you one thing for sure, though. I haven’t looked at myself in the mirror and thought “I’m beautiful” since I got pregnant for the first time. That was fifteen years ago. Fifteen years.
I was a size four in high school. A size six in college. I worked hard to stay there, but not for the right reasons. I worked to stay super skinny because I had to be in control of my body. Absolute control. I had to prove to myself that even though other areas of my life were spinning madly, if I couldn’t pinch a single inch of skin on my flat stomach, I was still okay. I was still beautiful, at least on the outside.
But after I had babies, my body wasn’t the same. I gained twenty pounds the first pregnancy. Twenty more with the next two. And it wouldn’t come off. I felt so awful about myself that I comforted myself with food, which added more weight. I didn’t know what to do with my new body. How to dress. How to stand. How to see myself as anything but a fat lump of a failure. For fifteen years, I looked at myself in the mirror and instead of saying “I’m beautiful,” I said this:
Look at my face. How ugly.
I wish I didn’t look like this.
Nothing looks good on me so why do I bother trying?
I hate the way I look.
I hate my body.
I’m going to be the ugliest person in the room.