I am beautiful

I am beautiful.

Even when I choose to wear my slouchy purple cotton top, the one that hugs me andĀ feels like a soft caress on my skin, the one that’s easy to nurse in because it has a low scoop neck and I can just pop a full boob out to feed my baby whenever she’s hungry with zero hassle, the one I like to travel in because it’s comfortable and not too hot and not too cold…

I am beautiful.

Even when I look in the mirror at ten til ten in the morning in the bathroom at work with the harsh lighting, and realize that this favorite top of mine does nothing to hide my belly pooch, or the muffin top rolls on my hips, or my bra fat around my armpits, or the back fat under my shoulder blades, and all the doughy, rolly, fatty parts of me are on not only on display but harshly accentuated…

I am beautiful.

Even when my feet, clad in the twelve year old pair of flip flops, the ones that help my aching heels and will be easy to kick off and on at the airport and on the plane, but do not fall into the category of proper work attire, and look somewhat silly below my skinny jeans and purple top…

I am beautiful.

Even when I’ve chosen to wear no makeup today, as I felt my skin needed a refreshing break, and my chin is breaking out, and that damn harsh lighting shows me every imperfection, wrinkle, broken vein, red spot, eye circles, cracked lips, and the rest…

I am beautiful.

Even when I hate my hair, need a pedicure, want a hot bath, feel sticky in places one should never feel sticky…

I am beautiful.

Even when I don’t feel beautiful.

I am a freaking goddess. I created life. I pushed out an eight and a half pound being from my body seven months ago. And I’m still feeding and carrying that being around with me and she’s strong and healthy and happy.

I am beautiful.

I deserve that front paunchy belly, and the doughy rolls, and every stretch mark and under-eye circle because I am a freaking champion mother. They are not battle scars, they are victory medals.

Go me.

I am freaking beautiful.

So self-consciousness and anxiety, you can go shove it. Good day. I SAID GOOD DAY!

 

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Welcoming Despair

Oh, hello again. Can’t say I’m all that pleased to see you.

Can’t say I’m all that surprised either.

It’s been nice with you gone. Really nice. The past few months have been some of the most joyous and life-giving I can remember. I felt like I was accomplishing things. Big things! Did you know I graduated from Divinity School? And I got married! And I turned in a huge amount of paperwork for commissioning and I started CPE. All of these are big things that have happened and they’ve made me feel good. For a very long period of time, I was pretty happy without you nagging me, constantly telling me I’m not good enough.

But you’re back now. Who knows for how long. I guess you came and settled yourself in a few days ago. I’m not sure why. I’m not sure what triggered your unwelcome invasion into my life. Things just started feeling pointless again, you know? Of course you know.

The other day I watched Disney’s Robin Hood on Netflix. The one with the animals. It darn near broke me to bits. That mean old sheriff taking the little bunny’s farthing? On his birthday? And I know that sounds funny for me to get all broken up over a cartoon, but that’s what you do to me.

Later, in the car, I was driving through my old neighborhood. And I just got so sad about it. I’m not sure why. Just nostalgic and melancholy for what used to be and isn’t anymore. It’s not like that time in my life was even all that great. I don’t think I’d go back even if I could. But I don’t know, I was just driving, and there’s my old house which I can’t drive in the driveway anymore, and these are the old streets I used to jog on. And it was like the saddest day of my life for some reason.

I blame you.

And then, the kicker, Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” played on the radio. Not the piano version, which is my favorite, but the harp one, the one Mom used to play at night when I was little to help me go to sleep. And all the sudden I’m a puddle in my car just trying to make it to my destination because what am I doing? What does it mean? Life is so tragically short and here I am depressed again for no reason.

They put pepperoni on my pizza when I asked for cheese because I was hungry and of course they did. I got ranked last in a stupid game. It shouldn’t have hurt my feelings, but it did because I feel like a perpetual loser again. Why did that happen? Why are you here? Why do you make me doubt myself?

Here you are, whispering things about how I’m not loved, or wanted, or cool, or funny, or good enough to be friends with who I want to be friends with. You tell me no one takes me seriously, that I’m annoying to those around me, that I’m too uptight, too insecure, too fat, too lazy, too indecisive.

It would be fine if I didn’t believe you.

I can be angry about it, but the fact is you’re here. The one bright side to your presence is that this time, I’m pretty sure you can’t stay forever. Based on precedence, and some therapy, I know that you’ll go away. And I have coping skills for dealing with you now, though they’re rusty. And maybe it’s good you’re here, because you’re reminding me that I’m not impervious to you, like I maybe thought I had become. Like I maybe I didn’t know you that well anymore. Like I was cured. You’re incurable. But you’re not triumphant. You’re never triumphant.

So come on in. I see you. I recognize you. I will walk with you by my side knowing that you are not permanent. And I will tell myself the opposite of everything you tell me, even when I can’t believe my own truths. And I will take care of myself and love myself and love others. That’s what I will do.

And that will be all for now.