You’re beautiful now

1. Image

I was messaging my mum and sisters the other day (we group chat A LOT), and my mum said something that made me feel really sad. We were talking about my sister’s upcoming wedding, and my mum was worried she looked fat in the dress she’d bought.

Now I’m not going to lie. I’d tried on my bridesmaid dress a few days before, and my eyes had expertly picked out every flaw. Arms too big and flabby, but if I got a fake tan and didn’t press them against my sides I might get away with it. That darned weak chin (ignore it), and dark bags under my eyes (concealer?). The back of the dress was lovely and low, but I saw shoulders not broad enough and too rounded. Mummy tummy? Tick. I scrutinised the bottom of the dress. I could just make out my saddle bags. Damn. I looked at every possible angle, and thought maybe if I tried harder I could lose a bit of weight. Spanx might help. If I wasn’t so weak and love cheese so much. Maybe if I didn’t eat for one day a week…

When I was 16 I had an issue with food and exercise. I decided I was fat. So I cut out some food groups – notably all dairy and carbs – and exercised for an hour every day. I dropped weight quickly, and lost my periods for 9 months. Not sustainable in the long term, and obviously a dangerous path, it took a boy rejecting me to start eating again. If he didn’t like me when I was that skinny, why bother?

I went the other way for a while after that. I’d gorge on everything I’d denied myself for 12 months. It was Christmas time, and I remember stuffing my face with whole packets of shortbread, Christmas pudding with custard, and loads of sweets. I can almost taste the emotion even now: urgency and greed and intense self-loathing. I toyed briefly with bulimia, but I didn’t have the stomach for it. I stopped one day, when I found myself on my hands and knees in the shower, pushing chunks of shortbread I’d thrown up down the drain. ‘What are you doing?’ I said to myself.

My 20’s were better, but I was still obsessed with the size of my thighs. I wanted a boob job, a nose job and a chin implant. I was very hard on myself.

I could always find beauty in other women though. Beautiful hair, or great style. Perfect eyeliner flicks, amazing pins. I made a point of looking for beauty in others, yet refused to acknowledge my own.

Now I’m 35 and the mother of a beautiful little boy who brings sunshine and joy. And I’m just so tired of wasting my energy on things that don’t really matter. Of course I want to feel good about myself, but when does it end? Will I know when I finally get ‘there’? Or is ‘there’ an illusion. I’ll be so much happier when I lose weight / get a nose job / tone up / get ‘there’.

Well, I’m fed up and calling time on this bullshit. Youth is so fleeting, and yet we obsess over capturing and recreating a 10-15 year period of time, that’s only a fraction of a life well lived. And my mum? She was my first reference point for beauty and she’ll be my last.

So, enough is enough. I want to say to my sisters and my mum, and to every woman who has struggled to get ‘there’:

You’re beautiful now.

Not yesterday when your skin was smooth and wrinkle free, or tomorrow when you finally lose that extra weight.

You’re beautiful now.

Not in some distant place and time, stretching ever further and out of reach.

You’re beautiful now.

Not when you get your pre-baby body back, or when your scars fade, or when you look in the mirror and see perfection.

You’re beautiful now.

And, because I want to be the best version of myself for my son, I say to myself:

You are loved and you are valued. Your body carried and gave birth to a child, and that is amazing. The scars that you have are simply brush marks on the unfinished canvas of your soul.

You are beautiful now. Not when you get ‘there’, but today. Right this minute.

When do you feel the most beautiful?

4 thoughts on “You’re beautiful now

  1. Vicki December 15, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    I needed to read that today, thank you x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jacki marie June 8, 2016 / 12:03 am

    we are all beautiful just as we are, especially to our babies


    • LouJC February 15, 2017 / 5:53 am

      Thank you! It’s hard to believe sometimes but so true x


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