REVERB 14: DAY TWO: When Did You Feel Beautiful This Year? Why?
It’s no secret that I’ve made an art form of self-loathing. My thighs have never been thin enough, my arms never defined enough. My hair too thin and an ugly combination of neither wavy nor straight. My nose is too big and my teeth are crooked and when I smile, my face looks fat and my chin doubles. I am too short, and, while I don’t mind being small-chested, the tits I DO have are oddly shaped and displeasing. With age, my left eye has begun to cross inward, and so, I must hide my one good feature, my eyes, behind coke bottle glasses. This list goes on and on, and though I’ve made significant strides against negative self-talk, I’d be lying to you if I said that there wasn’t some sort of narrative similar to this constantly playing in the background, even if the volume is low.
I had to get pregnant DESPITE these things. I had to BE pregnant while constantly battling them. The effort that it took for me to grow a child healthfully, while growing bigger everyday, watching my cheeks and face get plumper, and my ass get bigger, to see my skin stretch and my belly button disappear, was a graduate class in how to accept myself As-Is.
I was not a cute pregnant girl. There was no glow. I didn’t get curves in the right places, and I wasn’t able to maintain any shape besides round. Every day, I gave myself a pep talk. I reminded myself that I needed to keep this hatred in check. That I needed to silence it, for I was having a girl, and her needs were and would continue to be primary. I needed to learn to love this body of mine because she would soon be looking at me as an example of how to love oneself.
I kept waiting for it to be easier. Waiting to see the beautiful Almost-Mom in the mirror. Waited to hear truth in the words when passerby told me that pregnancy looked good on me. Waited to feel the goddess within.
I am still waiting, five months after The Girl’s birth. Still hoping that this miraculous change will happen. Hoping that I could be that girl whom motherhood transforms; to be that girl whose beauty shines through .
In all of the moments of the past year, there has been only one in which I’ve felt pretty, and it is so telling. It was the moment when I looked at my girl’s face, and saw a small glimpse of myself along with the rest which is made up almost entirely of her father.
In that small moment, I laughed to myself and then, ultimately, startled. It wasn’t her smile that was mine, or her eyes. It was her knit brow; not crying, but definitely not convinced. In her face was skepticism and consternation, and I fear, that before I’ve even begun to rear her, that the ONE thing she’s inherited is the one I’d like to change in myself.
And so, there I was, par for the course, finding beauty in the wreckage.