My husband and I are planning our anniversary trip to Joshua Tree next month. We’ve been planning a trip for the last year, since we didn’t get to take one during the COVID outbreaks. Every year we take a trip just the two of us, and this year we wanted to “get away from it all” to somewhere peaceful, sunny, and hot. Joshua Tree fits all three categories so we booked our Airbnb, secured reservations for fun activities while we’re out there, and started packing.
I feel like when you’re packing clothes for a trip, you learn alot about your self-esteem. You have to go through all your clothes and prepare for the type of weather of your destination based on what still fits you. Sometimes those clothes might be too loose if you’re going somewhere cooler, sometimes clothes are too tight if you’re going somewhere warmer, and sometimes, you opt for a whole new wardrobe specifically for that trip. I went with option 3, and if you ever need a sucker punch to your self-esteem, buy clothes where you cant try them on first, online.
I got a whole new wardrobe for our trip, opting for that cute boho look you see all the Intagram models wearing when they head out to the desert. For the most part, all of the new clothes I bought fit me quite well. I actually lost close to 30 pounds over the last year so I was feeling great, until I got to swim wear. When you’re going to the desert in the summer, swim wear is a must. So I bought this adorable plunging neckline one piece swimsuit, with matching sun hat and was so excited to try it on, eager to see what I looked like in it. Imagine my disappointment when I tried it on, and it looked okay. It fit me just fine, but I was reminded of my sagging breasts from breastfeeding two kids, and my not so firm butt that I neglected over the year because I was more focused on slimming my stomach. Needless to say, I wasn’t too happy with who was staring back at me in the mirror.
As I was twisting and turning in front of the mirror trying to find a “better angle” my daughter came in and asked what I was doing. I told her I was trying on my new clothes, and like any 5 year old girl, she wanted to join in. So as she started trying on my new clothes with me, I still sat pretty distraught and feeling sorry for myself in my new swim suit. I was trying to decide if i should return it, knowing that deep down I felt it wasn’t the swim suit’s fault, but my body’s. Then I asked my daughter a question I know I should never have asked a 5 year old. “Do I look fat?”, I asked her? And I was completely floored by her response. She didn’t answer right away, which at first to me was “confirming” my fat-ness. She tilted her head to the side, walked around me in a circle, and said “You’re beautiful.”
I was taken aback by the fact that it wasn’t a “no” answer, and seemed more like she was trying not to answer it. But then I thought about the way I asked the question. It was clear in my voice that I thought the word “fat” meant not beautiful. So the words that she chose were clearly meant to change that opinion. And they did. It took me a minute, but it made me change the way that I see beauty. So my breasts are lower than they were before I had kids. So my butt wasn’t as tight as it once was when I did squats multiple times a day at the gym. I learned that those aren’t the things that matter anymore. My breasts provided nutrients for two beautiful babies, my stomach stretched to hold those babies safe in my womb until they joined the world, my butt didn’t really serve a purpose for motherhood but it was probably neglected so that my children weren’t.
My body is different. It may stay that way, it may not. I may wake up next week, month, or year, and decide I want to work even harder on my body this year than I did last year. I may wake up and decide the opposite. But whatever I decide, it doesn’t take away the beauty of what my body created. More importantly, our daughters and sons will be looking to us for an example of how we treat our bodies and ourselves. It’s time I started leading by example and treating it right. Thank God I had a five year old by my side to remind me of that.
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