Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pssst. You're beautiful.

A friend is having a rough time communicating with her lawyer about her separation.  I am absolutely heartbroken for her and the pain she's in. Her marriage is over and her life will never be the same. Her children and grandchildren's lives will be affected forever. And she is a hot mess. So I offered to draft a letter for her.

And I owe another friend one last chapter review on the book she's writing.

And I'm negotiating Christmas gatherings and family time and I'm wanting to be selfish but will aim for being fair.

And I visited with my dad this evening for a few hours and he was relaxed and happy to have me push him around the building for an hour before we settled in to watch Crocodile Dundee. And as we relaxed in his room, one of the residents wandered in with a vacant look in his eye, touched a few things and shuffled out again. "Poor guy," my dad says with compassion and it makes me cry. My dad with his huge heart, especially for the 'underdog'. He's always had a soft spot for the forgotten. The lost. The picked on. The unpopular. (I think James Dean's affection for the loser kid in Rebel Without A  Cause is what inspired him to care for those who get beaten up.) Haha. James Dean mentored my dad.

Anyways, all of these things were on my mind all day, but all took a back seat to this thing that kept jumping to the forefront. It was a blog post I saw on Facebook. Read it here.

I forwarded the link to a friend and we chatted online about it for an hour. We went back and forth and around in circles talking about beauty and marriages and self confidence and love.

For the better part of my life, I have believed that I was ugly.
When I was young, I was skinny. Too skinny. So skinny that I was at the doctor's often because my mom was worried about my health. I was pale and thin and gawky and shy and insecure and thought there was something wrong with me.

Then when I hit my teens I got some nice boobs and a defined waist and a cheeky bum and didn't look so skinny anymore. But oh. The acne. SO MUCH ACNE. I was at the dermatologists office at least once a week all through my high school years, because my face. Such a mess.

Then I got a boyfriend who thought I was beautiful. Very beautiful. He told me often and I believed that he thought I was. And really? A girl only needs one boy to make her feel beautiful. Doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks. Doesn't even matter what she herself thinks.That one boy? Makes all the difference.

That blog post reminded how awesome it felt to have a husband whisper, every morning,  "I love you, Beauts" in my ear before he kissed me on the cheek while I was still in bed and he was on his way to work.

And that blog post reminded me how devastating it was when he quit.

And that blog post made me happy for the writer, because she is loved. And a loved woman? Is stunning.

I'm this many years old. And for ten of them I felt acceptably pretty. And the rest of them? Not only did I feel 'not pretty' ... I believed I was ugly. I shied away from cameras, people, social situations, mirrors, pretty clothes, jewellery, men, my kids, because I was not attractive.

That's 80% of my life.

And it wasn't until a year ago, when Max asked, "Why don't you sign up for online dating"?
And I replied, "Seriously? Why would I put myself through that? Look at me. Haha. No one is interested in this..."
And he looked stunned. "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? You look like a normal mom. You look like everyone else your age."

Which was the closest thing to a compliment I've heard about my looks in twenty years. And it was the spark that initiated a decision to stop beating myself up. I've been forcing myself to take selfies (hahah) this past year for two reasons:
1. To get used to seeing photos of myself and not cringing everytime. (It took a whole lot of courage to post a photo of my face on Facebook as a profile pic. Prior to this year? It was usually just my hair. Or a sunset. Or an out of focus image. Or a pic of  younger me.)
2. To have photos for my funeral slideshow.

The last thing about that blog post that I love?
My friend Tricia (blogger from Florida/North Carolina) had just posted on her blog that she'd gained 15 pounds and didn't want to be photographed in any of her outfits. HER HUSBAND found this article (on husbands saying their wives are beautiful, which is over a year old), and posted it to her facebook page and said,  Tricia -  If you won't believe me, maybe you will believe this. 

I get all puddly when I hear of men who still love their wives after 30 years. If you've got one, go give him a hug. Or something.

And if you've got a daughter? Raise her to believe she is beautiful and worthy even if a man doesn't whisper it in her ear.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Bloggers.
2. Men who love their women well.
3. This day is done.

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