Saturday, March 14, 2015

You beautiful mom, you

Oh moms. Oh women. Oh ladies.
I'm going to be honest and real with you. I'm gonna level. I'm not a real big fan of how I look. I never really have been. (Ok, I thought I was smokin' hot on my wedding day and in my bridal photos!) The photos I'm sharing today, yup, not my bests...
I don't know where my negative view of myself came from. My family always said I was beautiful, ok my mom said it, my siblings did not really help build that confidence until AFTER high school... Middle school and high school were rough on me. I got picked on, ridiculed almost mercilessly. 
I was always more interested in the engineering side of everything. I loved wood shop and drafting. I helped start an archery club. I wore my brothers clothes. I didn't wear makeup or really do my hair in any style other than a ponytail. 
I was the only girl in my wood shop class, and got called a lesbian. It was hard to be made fun of for doing something I loved so much. Plus I was freaking awesome at it. I hold those projects and creations so dear. I still love building and making things. I love talking with my husband about what he's building (propellers right now) and I love drafting and design. I followed that dream and became a professional draftsman. I was the only girl on the drafting side of the projects. I got tougher though. 
As girls, we are told from birth how beautiful we are. How pretty we are. How special we are. We are told that we can do anything we can possibly think of, as long as we try and do not give up. Our families, and sometimes complete strangers, help build our confidence and strengthen us, build us up. 
When do we stop hearing that we're beautiful? When do we stop gaining that confidence? When do we stop building ourselves? When do others (and ourselves!) start the demolition? When do those sharp words and thoughts start flying?
At what point in our lives, do we, as beautiful, confident, amazing young women, allow those negative voices, thoughts, and words creep into our hearts and when and why do we ever start believing them? 
I'm not always (hardly ever!) happy with how I look. I'm not good at the 1-and-done selfie pic. Trust me, I take like 10 and then pick the one that I look least "offensive" and it's hard cuz my boys are only available for 1 pic! 
I'm not confident in how I look and feel in my own skin. When I sit and think about it, it's sorta sad. Look at all the abuse my skin has taken from me over the years:
-2 open heart surgeries
-countless skinned knees and elbows
-broken arm
-those years of learning to shave my legs
-my inability to remember sunscreen
-carrying 2 baby boys
-going years (probably) being technically dehydrated
-the copious amounts of superglue on my fingers
-and hot glue
-and all the pins jammed into my fingers
-my experiments with makeup
-all those greasy burgers
-all the grocery lists on my hand
-the tattoos

Yeah, skin, you've done good. I shouldn't be ashamed of you, and in all honesty, I'm not. It's just sometimes, I'm not happy looking at my skin. 

Look at that list again. Most of those are some pretty amazing things to put my skin and body thru. I should feel good about most of those. 
My body creates PEOPLE! And darn cute ones at that! How can I not be happy and confident with something that is a miracle? 

My heart is all messed up and backwards, but I'M STILL HERE! How can I not be happy and feel so blessed with something that technically and anatomically should probably NOT have functioned past my birth?
There are times I don't like how I look. And I know I am not the only one. I'm going to share some stories with you. Events that I witnessed, that made me so sad. 

#1 : I was visiting a friend, she was getting ready for work, and this friend hasn't felt good in years. Her health has been in a slow decline for a while now but she continues to push thru and she is absolutely amazing and wonderful, she's a beautiful mom and grandma and she is an incredible woman full of strength and faith! Anyways, she was doing her hair and she kept apologizing to me for how her hair looked. Honestly, it was not bad at all. She looked great! But she didn't think she looked good. It could have been that she was sick, and didn't feel good at all but she looked good! After all she had been thru, she was so sorry for how she looked. 
#2 In talking with a friend at church, she was reading a story about a "super attractive" woman, and she instantly quipped "Oh, and I didn't write that!" She totally could have written it and everyone would have agreed! She's an amazing mom to a little boy, her husband is going thru school and I'm pretty sure she works outside of the home. Why would she think she's not super attractive? If there's one thing I know about husband's and offspring, they LOVE mommas. Husbands will do anything to get "under the covers" with their wives, and children will do anything to hug, hold and kiss their mommas! These humans, who you interact with on a daily basis see and know how beautiful you are, and they don't hesitate to tell you. Why don't you believe them? Your husband picked you. He picked you to look at every day for the rest of his life, he chose you to wake up to - morning breath and bed head included! You are super attractive, trust me, if you don't trust me, will you trust them?
#3 A friend posted a picture of her awesome shirt, but she put an emoji over her face because she thought she looked awful, had just woken up, and didn't want others to see. If I looked that good waking up, there'd be way more "good morning" selfies. She's a friend of mine who married another friend of mine, and they are an awesome family and I love them. She had her 3rd baby a few months ago, and her husband works long hours, I'm not sure if she works outside of the home.  (This one goes along with #2) Those children LOVE her. I know as soon as I see my boys in the morning, I'm showered with humongous smiles and giggles and that is ALL before I have a chance to rub the sleep from my eyes or use the bathroom. Children don't care if your makeup is on, hair is styled, or even if your socks match. They just care about you. My big boy will come up and give me hugs and tell me I'm beautiful. I love that. He'll look at our family pictures and pictures from our wedding and say how beautiful I look and how handsome dad looks. He loves us. 
I want my children to be confident and strong. To know they can do ANYTHING they want to. How can I teach my boys to be confident, if they don't see me being confident? Where are they going to learn it from? 

There are qualities in myself I'm working on, patience is one. I had written on my mirror : 
The boys watch everything you do. 
Be who you want them to see.  
This momma, this one in the pictures, is the momma my boys will remember. This one, with the weird smile and sometimes lazy eye, and at some angles, a double chin. This is the momma my boys and my husband think is beautiful. This is the momma they are desperately trying to convince that she's gorgeous. Even if she's just in a t-shirt and jeans. I shouldn't have to wear my wedding dress to feel gorgeous. 

My husband LOVES looking at me. LOVES how I look. LOVES what carrying and giving birth to our 2 children has done to my body. LOVES me because I love him. Even after 7 years! When he looks at me, I feel loved, I feel beautiful. And I am so grateful for the love my husband and my children show me. 
We are beautiful creations. I know, God created each of us, with His own hands. And I know that because of how I personally am put together. It is only by some miracles that my heart functioned for 11 days before the doctors preformed surgery. It is only by some miracles that I was able to give birth to my children. I know that each of us is here for a reason. I also know, one of those reasons is to HAVE JOY! We are to be of good cheer. Not wallowing in self-doubt and low self-esteem. We are beautiful. We need to start seeing how incredible and amazing and beautiful we are. We need to start seeing how incredible and amazing and beautiful others are. We need to stop mom shaming and self shaming. Weed need to show compassion rather than criticism. 

 I also speak to myself. Please, please, PLEASE, NEVER lose that confidence and strength in yourself. If there is anything to believe in, it is most definitely YOURSELF. You, yes you, are freaking amazing. You do and can do wonderful, amazing, difficult things. You are stronger and beautiful. You are super attractive, you are incredibly smart and knowledgeable, you are amazingly strong. 

Please continue to believe in you. I love you.

From the deepest part of my broken, backwards heart, please know that you, yes YOU, are freaking beautiful!