Today was just one of those days. You know the days where your hair has a mind of it’s own, a pimple has popped up right in the middle of your forehead, and you get another swimsuit catalog in the mail. Yep, there it was, just waiting in my mailbox at the end of a long day at work. It is that time of year where we bare our arms and our legs and dig out the swimsuit from last year. If you’re like me, you cautiously pull the suit up over your legs only to realize that the Christmas goodies are still hanging on to your hips and thighs. A deep sigh always escapes my lips and my hands try and push and pull things into that swimsuit. I am going to fit into this thing because I am not going to shop for another one.
My gracious husband always tell me I look beautiful, but I sure don’t think I see what he sees. I did an experiment with him a few years ago. We were “people watching” at the mall, and as a woman walked by I would tell him if I thought her figure resembled mine. Woman after woman hurried past us and as I told him how much of me I saw in them, he countered every claim.
Did you know that there’s such a thing as body dysmorphic disorder? While that’s the extreme side of the spectrum, we rarely see ourselves as we truly are. While I have a small frame and little feet, I often feel like a bull in a china shop. I certainly don’t feel dainty, especially in a room full of other women. I am constantly comparing the shine of my hair, the length of my nails, the fit of my clothes, the size of my pores (as if anyone else can see them) to everyone else’s. Then to top it all off, I get frustrated at myself for even doing it.
Having a daughter has really shone a spotlight on the importance of a healthy body image. I want her to look in the mirror and see the beautiful and perfect young lady that God created her to be. To do that, I have to start with myself. So I’m not perfect, and I would like to look different. Yet, God’s Word says that I’m “perfectly and wonderfully made” and that God Himself “knit me together in my mother’s womb.” God wanted me to look like this. He made my nose to be the size it is. He wanted me to be five feet three inches tall. He didn’t measure me against any other human being when he made me. If He’s perfectly happy with me, then I should be happy with myself too.
Therefore, I eat right and I exercise. I take care of myself and try to be as healthy as I can be. I’m not going to let Botox, silicone, or little nips and tucks become a part of me. Most of all, I work hard at not putting myself down. I could tell myself all day how I’m not this and I’m certainly that, and it just doesn’t measure up. But whose measuring stick am I using?
That swimsuit catalog has found it’s way to the recycling bin. The perfectly Photoshopped women are just that — Photoshopped. Real women look like me, with flaws and imperfections. I probably look just like you.