…for my children, and myself.
Sometimes we have to make changes on a whim.
Driving my girls to my parents’ house Friday night, for my father’s 76th birthday, a personal revelation occurred while talking with my oldest daughter. Something I wasn’t expecting. Somehow the topic of nose jobs came up. My oldest daughter was asking how doctors perform nose jobs. Not sure where it came up from, but my kids talk about everything. She was wondering if the doctor fully removed a person’s nose, leaving the patient looking like, as she wondered, Voldemort. Where I then explained to her what I believe they did…break the nose from the interior/nostrils, then cut, shave down cartilage or skin, pin and tuck, etc etc.; then in my next breath, I had said how I always wanted to have my nose done because I hate my nose but afraid of them screwing it up.
There was silence. I was expecting giggling.
So I look in the mirror at her. She was looking at me with so much upset from the back seat. She replied, ‘why do you do that!?’.
‘Say things about yourself that are so negative. Like the other day, you said (baby sister) had better lips than you when she asked if you look alike. You have beautiful lips. I love your nose. It fits your face perfectly and the angle of it makes me happy.’
My stomach sank while I was watching her talk in the rear view mirror. Yes, it is no surprise that I am not a huge fan of my looks. But, seeing her face as I was hearing her words, it brought full circle something I never imagined. A potentially damaging circle.
The way I view myself is never something I thought would affect my kids. I uplift them, encourage them to be good people and allow them to be themselves. Looks are not a factor, but they know I think they’re beautiful. I definitely never want my kids to think they are anything less than amazing people. This thing with disliking my looks is a cycle, because I clearly remember my own mom doing that in front of me. Telling me she would die to have my lips or my skin. My eyes. My smile. Etc etc. And, as a child I would think why was she saying that because she was the most beautiful women I knew. She still is. But then I started adhering that thought process within myself, ‘Maybe I am not pretty like other people if she doesn’t think she is beautiful’. And here I was with my daughter calling me out.
And. Thank God she was calling me out. She is my ‘everything compass’ directing me or reminding me of the rights and wrongs.
I immediately replied to her because my mind was traveling so fast to make it stop and I hated thinking about this affecting them down the road, ‘you know what, H? You are right. And at this very moment, right now in this car, I am making a promise to you. To You and your sister, and all girls! I promise (holding my right hand to my heart)to never devalue myself in anyway shape or form because it is the one thing I honestly don’t understand myself why I do it, and it is stopping today. I get asked this a lot, H, but have never from you. So I promise that is all from me on that negative thought.’
I honestly feel so upset with myself. If you ask my kids to describe their mom the first things out of their mouths are about my strength, or, being a fun cool mother. This is what I want to hear forever, not that I had self conscious issues about my looks. Or that they ‘catch’ that ideology about themselves. That would hurt me beyond anything. I love how confident they are, in all aspects of themselves. It makes me feel good that looks arent an ussue (yet). By their age I was very aware of mine.
But the cycle ends with me.