Between Mom and Woman: Accepting Me and Letting Go of Her


My shoulders are broad; in high school they embarrassed me, since then they’ve carried three babies thousands of miles. They’ve torn down walls and helped power me swimming from one side on an island to another. When I stand in a dressing room and try on a top or a dress I try not to let the label define me. Yet there is still a part of me that sees the Large or the 10 as a failure. Too big. The idea of not fitting goes beyond the shirt; somehow it’s about me. I don’t fit. When the shirt comes off I see myself in a better light. The familiar lines of my shoulders, my waist that has expanded to carry life three times; they are, after all, precious to me.

Somewhere between mom and woman and dressing room and dinner table I need to once and for all shake this idea that I am supposed to be a way other than I am. It’s fine to try on other personas for fun, but the body I have, the talents I do and don’t have, these are things to cherish, not hide. Thirty nine years into being me and I revisit this theme with great frequency, although I am getting closer to understanding that there isn’t a miraculous finish line to cross that will herald my having become a grown up, or having figured things out, or that I will ever truly outgrow the awkwardness that is living. You and I, we will be unsure. There will be foibles and face plants, but there will be moments when we each feel alive with the knowledge that we are a kind of strong, beautiful or amazing that has never come before.

Maybe the hardest thing to do is to face that not being her is the best gift in the world, because it means that I am me.




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