Recently, I was visiting my wonderful friend Nancy at her blog… BacardiMama. Nancy and I have never met in person, but the exchange of our thoughts and words and life experiences and questions and laughter has created an amazing bond. We are both mothers and grandmothers and teachers. Women. It used to be that women sat on their front stoops in the evenings and shared their thoughts and words and life experiences and questions and laughter. Or chatted over the fence while hanging laundry. Today, we chat over the internet. It truly is another world.
But one thing that hasn’t seemed to change since I can remember… beginning as a pre-teen, is the self-criticism that girls and women feel. We hardly ever give ourselves a big kiss on our own lips.
This brings me back to Nancy and her recent blog post. It’s about The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans and an “assignment” to find things you like or love about yourself. Ah… how different is this? Nearly every (nah, every) magazine or television segment or internet clip advises us how to look better, thinner, younger. It’s like we all need molding and squeezing and altering and tucking and changing to make ourselves want to give ourselves that big kiss on our own lips.
Now, I don’t mean to say a healthy lifestyle of exercise and good nutrition doesn’t increase energy and even life-expectancy… but these are changes that begin on the inside and work on the inside and then radiate to the outside. It’s the incessant “media” focus and criticism of the outside that has girls and teens and women reeling with self-doubt and self-criticism.
And it’s, like… why aren’t we ever asked what we do like or love about ourselves? I think The Sisterhood has something big and important going on here. And it’s hard, damn hard, to step out of our selves and analyze the good stuff. The stuff about ourselves that we do like or love. It’s hard to think about it, talk about it, write about it. We, as women, are taught to be rather selfless and humble, but at the same time we are bombarded with ways to changes ourselves.
So we stand in front of a mirror and say, “Hmmm. Ummm. I’m not supposed to like this. Or that. Or those.”
We glance at magazine covers and read headlines about changing this or that or those.
We spend billions of collective dollars on remedying this or that or those.
But we rarely say (or even think), out loud, “I love this or that or those about myself.”
So back to Nancy’s blog post. I must admit that it took me a little while to really concentrate on what I like or love about myself. I began with my face. What I saw was my life’s journey… and how I love and appreciate each, as my grandchildren say, “crinkle” and laugh line and those crow’s feet. I see the faces of my Mom and Dad and grandparents in my face. I like that. I re-discovered that I love the color of my eyes. Green with golden starbursts in the center. Everyone in my family has either brown or gray or blue eyes… so these green ones are somewhat of a wonderful mystery to me, a connection to a generation long, long ago on another continent, another land. And I love the “done” mark over my lips… the kind that sinks in a bit like when you’re testing cupcakes or cake as it comes out of the oven.
And speaking of lips, I think today I’m gonna give myself that great big kiss on my own lips, right below those crinkles and green eyes and done mark. Thank you, Nancy, for posting this wonderful post and getting me to think, to see, to say out loud a bit about this and that and those.
Now, what about you? What do you like or love about yourself?