Recently, I’ve seen this girl hanging around.
I watch her walk by and sometimes we even make eye contact.
She looks tired, sporting a ponytail and headband most days.
Yoga pants and a t-shirt seem to be her outfit of choice.
She’s heavier than I remember and seems uncomfortable in her own skin at times.
Every time I see her, I criticize her every move.
I critique her body, her facial expressions and the way she does her hair.
For a moment, as I walked by the other day, she stopped and stared into my eyes. She examined every part of me and for a minute I saw a tear roll down her cheek. This girl that I have spent so much time analyzing and critiquing was standing before me, begging me to like her, maybe to even love her.
The reflection in the mirror was one I’ve been avoiding for far too long, often disgusted by the figure on the other side.
The girl I’m dying to make friends with again is myself.
At 35, my body hasn’t responded to losing the baby weight like it did the 1st or 2nd time around. With 20 pounds of extra weight there are days I walk pass the mirror and think I still look pregnant. The wrinkles around my eyes and forehead are deeper than before. The greys in my hair shine brighter as they have decided to multiply and make friends. I see pictures of myself and delete them out of disgust over my double chin or stomach that is hanging too far over.
I have allowed myself to accept this self-talk as truth for far too long. I thought it was an internal dialogue until I heard my 7 year old daughter say that she needed to “lose weight,” a phrase I thought I only used around my husband. I thought no one else was listening. But she is watching and listening and copying my every move.
I reminded her that she is beautiful and smart and strong. I reiterated that being healthy is important and the number on the scale doesn’t define us.
I spoke with such confidence to her, wanting her to believe that her worth is not found in her weight, but instead in her heart and spirit. Why, as a woman and mom, are those words so hard to believe for ourselves?
As I looked at the girl in the mirror, I realized I owed her an apology and I needed to speak to her with the same conviction I used with my daughter.
This girl in the mirror was defined by more than her weight, her wrinkles or her grey hair.
She is smart.
She is a good friend.
She is a great listener.
She is creative.
She is strong.
She loves fiercely.
She has overcome infertility.
She has stared post-partum depression in the face and refused to let it win.
She is a fighter.
She is WORTHY.