Mirror Mirror on the Wall

My teenage son looks in the mirror and says “yep, still awesome”. He smiles at himself, combs his hair just so, and moves on with his day.

NOTE TO SELF: Harness some of that self-confidence and belief for yourself.

I am envious. I want to remember the last time I looked in a mirror and was 100% pleased, even thrilled, with how I looked. I am finding as I age I am becoming more critical of the way I look.

My nose is too big – I photo-shop it in almost every picture I put up online. I make it just a smidge smaller, because I feel that it completely overtakes my face.

NOTE TO SELF: You are Jewish and have a Jewish nose. Be proud. Your glasses will NEVER slip down.

My laugh lines seem to multiply, and my hair is turning silver strand by strand.

NOTE TO SELF: You still look very young, and your laugh lines are a result of smiling your way through life, no matter how many lemons were thrown at you. The silver highlights? Badges of honour – you know that each silver hair is named after your children, some having more than others! Feel accomplished – you are raising kids with spirit.

The stretch marks on my belly, breasts and thighs that by now have faded to very faint lines still look so obvious to me, and in my mind mar the perfection of my English-rose skin.

NOTE TO SELF: Those stretch marks have history. They tell the story of the babies that you bore, and nursed, and nourished. Those stretch marks should be worn like medals – as if to say “I created life here”. These are your warrior’s stripes.

My surgical scars are mostly hidden – the appendectomy and the cesarean scars don’t bother me. After all it’s not like I am going to the beach daily in a teeny weeny bikini. But that scar on my oh-so-long neck? I feel like it flashes like a Belisha beacon.

NOTE TO SELF: You were in pain and not functioning well. That surgery saved you, that surgery gave you back movement and quality of life. If you cannot get over it being so obvious (which it really isn’t) wear fabulous scarves and be grateful that you are no longer in pain. GET OVER IT. No one notices it until you point it out. Stop doing that.

I mourn for the body I had when I was 18 and didn’t realize then just how perfect it was.

NOTE TO SELF: At 40 you are still pretty damn hot, and even though your body looks different, there are reasons for that. FOUR of them. You cannot expect to have birthed four kids and have no changes in your body. The biggest change, dear self, is that which you cannot see. Your heart changed so much with each birth, with each child you welcomed into your life. Are you going to tell me that you mourn for your 18 year old heart? No – because those children have changed you, completed you, aggravated you, but brought so much love and laughter, and are the epitome of joy.

Self – who you are today is the sum of every place you have been and everything you have ever done. No one, but no one, goes through life and stays the same – not physically, not emotionally, not spiritually.

Self – Stop focusing on the physical, and the negative – focus on the positives in your life. Focus on the blessings of all your children. Focus on being the best YOU that you can be. Be a role model for all the kids in your life. Let them see what it means to accept yourself for who you are. Leave the criticisms by the wayside. Be proud of who you are and how far you have come.

Next time I pass that mirror I am going to tell myself that I am fabulous, and I will believe it. Will you do the same?

Originally published on the Times of Israel Ops & Blogs.

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