My skin color is literally banana. Know how I know that? About five Sephora employees have, at some point, made a variation of the comment, “Wow! You’re very…er, uh…fair skinned” then awkwardly handed over the Powder Compact with the color label ‘Banana’.

I’ve always been fair-skinned. Like, people-comment-while-I’m-walking-down-the-street fair-skinned. You may be thinking, “oh she must get sunburns easily then.” Incorrect. It is beyond easy. 15 minutes in the path of that blazing fireball and I’m crispy. My husband aka sunscreen holder can attest. I grew up not-so-much liking this pasty hot bod. Any other sisters out there feel me? Whether your thing is being banana-faced or not, we all have things that we struggle with loving. Weight, height, skin type…the list goes on. And don’t get me started on aging. Don’t come at me with that wrinkle cream…

These insecurities are never more evident than when you have children. Lawdy, they bring it all out, don’t they? My 3 year old daughter’s stalker-like attentiveness combined with her tiny hawk eyes make for a sponge that absorbs every ounce of insecurity dripping from my psyche. She sees the frustration after I step on the scale. The obsessive staring at sun spots…or is it a freckle…what’s the technical difference? You get the point.

Ellie is also all princess.  From her birth, that girl has seen the world in pink. And we didn’t even plan it that way. We waited to find out the gender so she wore gray and yellow her entire first year. We’ve introduced her to a million different schemas of girlhood- ninja, wonder woman, yada yada…but still we’re tiaras and heels ALL THE WAY. In her closet are gobs of dresses, necklaces, earrings, lip gloss. Oh and a wig. We are now the proud owners of a Queen Elsa wig. Poor girl got my hair, and about 5 of them total. An Elsa style braid is a pipe dream without the wig.

About 6 months ago my sweet baby girl started developing an interesting reaction to her princess get-up. Any time she was denied a dress, gloss, or even to use a make-up brush (‘das my girl), she would melt into a ball crying “THEN I WON’T BE PRETTY!!!” I’m sorry, what?! Did my incessant obsessing over you not teach you anything?! Haven’t I told you a BILLION times that you’re beautiful?! And not just that, haven’t I drilled it into you that your brain and heart are even MORE beautiful?!

Even so, about once a day she falls apart sobbing she “won’t be pretty” if she can’t don her wig/dress/heels. And it breaks my heart. Insecurity runs deep in our veins from our most tender years. I know this is probably a phase and very normal but it would be less alarming if I felt like I’ve mastered my own insecurities. There are still these pesky things on my self-worth to-do list. Lose ten pounds. Grow a few inches (good luck). Throw on an extra layer of Banana powder. Master the art of looking like I have it together. These things are not in and of themselves bad, some of them are even explicitly good, but when those things are necessities to our confidence, our kiddos see it. Additionally, insecurity is not something only weak people obtain. It WILL inevitably happen, to us and our children. That nature/nurture combo begs addressing.

A healing salve for this unique heartache is conversation. For Ellie, it means being down on my knees, looking her in the eyes and asking her questions, giving her answers. Why do you feel like that? What makes us pretty? What do you love about you? This may seem a bit deep for a 3 year old but I kid you not, she gets it…mostly. Sometimes she picks her nose and runs off. You win some, you lose some. These little kiddos do feel deeply. If you haven’t had a chance to talk with your little lately about what they love or not-so-much love about themselves, I’d encourage you to do so. Every conversation we have about true beauty/strength/worth, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, is deeply meaningful. It builds truth and breaks down lies. Fears that are in the dark lose power when brought to the light. True strength is not in the absence of insecurity, but in its overcoming. I like to think that when I speak truth to my little about her worth, the tiny banana-faced girl inside me gets a little stronger too.

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  1. Meghan
    Meghan December 13, 2017 at 8:54 am #

    Great post! Thanks for sharing some good ways to talk to our kids!

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