Learning to LOVE
I saw an interview on Oprah today with Portia de Rossi (Ellen's wife) and they talked about how she got down to 82 lbs and all of the psychosis that goes along with being thin. Thinner. About believing you "have control". About making poor decisions because you don't love yourself enough to stop.
I think many women can resonate with her psychosis involving her looks. We have a lot of messages that come at us. They are hard to deal with yourself, and then factor in a daughter,
and they are downright terrifying.
I used to not love myself. I got really lost in how I was supposed to look, in fitting in. I didn't know how to put up boundaries. I didn't have the LOVE for myself to say "I don't need that. I can say no". I looked for love externally and it never came to me the way I wanted. I made a lot of poor choices. As a teenager this is scary. As a woman, I've done a lot of work on myself. I've gone to therapy, traveled alone, moved across the country alone, worked on what it means to spend time with myself. I discovered the things I loved to do and I did them. I learned to love myself. It was a difficult road sometimes and it took some really hard work. But eventually as I worked my way through my 20's I learned that I, indeed, was a beautiful woman. No matter how I looked.
I was empowered.
Now that is at my best, and as a mom it's sometimes hard to see past the snot on my jeans, the bags under my eyes, and the RESPONSIBILITIES. Sometimes I feel frumpy, frazzled, bitchy, oh-so-not-very-pretty. I fully admit that I really struggle with finding the healthy balance between being a good mother, a good wife, a good nurse, and then taking care of myself. It's the holy grail of motherhood - the perfect balancing act. (But really I digress.)
I can only speak personally but I do believe one of the biggest gifts I can offer my daughter is that I waited into my 30's to have her. In my younger days I was so different, so ambivalent, so lost in needing external verification to feel good. Because now, at the age of 33, I am the role model. Her sweet little innocence will be looking up to me, her mama, and watching how I work my way through the world.
No pressure there, right?
She will be riddled with media and messages and peer pressure about how she looks. She will question her beauty. She will question who she is. But I want her to be able to come home and SEE what it means to respect yourself. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Show up for yourself.
It is no easy feat raising children and I'm just gearing up. I am not perfect. I have oh so many things to work on. But I have done a lot of work, and aging brings at least some wisdom with it. I am writing this blog entry as a sort of reminder for myself. For me, to be a good parent, I need to take the time for myself and proactively work on being a better person and accepting myself for who I am. It's a gift I give my daughter.
It's a gift I give myself.