Before I start, realize that I put myself at the top of the list for this. So don't think I'm commenting on a friend, neighbor, or even random acquaintance, this is a self-admitted issue that probably applies to many others out there.
Just think of this as my own personal sermon to myself.
Hopefully I'll listen.
Also, this is going to be a novel of a post, so unless you have 6 hrs to sit and read, don't feel obligated.
Now that that's out of the way.....
I bought a new pair of jeans.
I am a cheap person. I just am. In general, I only shop clearance racks. Rarely do I pay regular price for anything. So obviously anything high-end or "designer" just doesn't exist in my world.
But I am picky about my jeans. I can't wear skinny jeans because, well, hello!, we've discussed my upper legs. This fact also makes boot cut a good option for me. And I'm short so I have to find the right length. But I almost always wear heels (yes with jeans!), so they have to be longer than a short person would normally buy. And I need a bit of stretch in my jeans because I just can't stand the way that regular denim feels anymore. Plus a little bit of give is a girl's best friend. Trust me.
Thus after years of searching, I've found the jeans that work for me; Levi Strauss Signature Stretch Boot Cut, low rise, size __, medium length. (No, I'm not going to tell you what size. And I actually own them in a couple of sizes) But, since I try not to buy Levi from the store (long story), I dig them up on ebay. Which is nice because then I can pull up exactly what I want and not have to search stores. And trust me, trying to search for anything with a herd in tow is not simple. Thank heavens for online shopping.
So- the jeans.....they look like this:
Hear my heart go pitter patter.
I went to a shoe party last weekend and the girl was selling jeans too. Big name jeans that usually carry a big price. In fact they had the regular price tags attached. At first glance it looks like it must be a joke, but no. One of my good friends has paid nearly that big price more than once. As have a couple of my relatives. They have all sung the praises of the jeans and sworn to me that if I ever bought a pair I would be forever converted. I told them they were just trying to feel better about paying a price for jeans that was higher than any car payment I've ever had and was roughly the equivalent to my monthly grocery budget.
My original plan was to not even look at the jeans.
But I looked.
Then I tried them on.
Then I tried on another pair.
Then I tried the first pair back on. Then the second pair again, then I asked everyone there for an opinion, spent way too long analyzing my back side in a mirror, and hung out in said jeans for a bit to see how they'd fit after being worn for a little while.
Then I bit. Big. Hook, line and sinker. I was gone.
Thankfully, said jeans cost only a slight fraction of their regular price. They were still more than I've ever paid for a pair of jeans, which brought with it a slight guilt, until something happened.
You see, those two pair I spent so long debating...someone picked up the other pair that I put back. and tried them on. and they fit her.
So what, right? Who cares, right?
Women care, that's who.
You see, this cute girl who tried them on, and looked fabulous by the way, is one of those women who I look at and think "I wish I looked like her! She's so skinny! How does she do it?" and all those other things that we females tend to think way too often.
The fact that she was wearing jeans that I had just taken off floored me.
And it made my day. My week even.
I went out that night and felt fabulous in my new jeans. And while the jeans really are killer, and so very comfy (and yes, one day I hope to buy another pair!), I've been thinking for the past few days, wondering why we women are that way.
I reminded me of two years ago, when Lincoln was about nearing a year old. I felt good enough about myself to wear a full body spandex suit for my Halloween costume (we were The Incredibles), but when I looked in the mirror I still saw all the little flaws. I looked at the scale and thought, "Wow-if I can just lose 3 more pounds, the number in the tens place will change, and my weight will be in the _____s! I've never weighed that before!"
Why wasn't it good enough where I was?
Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled to be in great shape, and to weigh what I had before having any kids, and even a couple of pounds less (which I never thought would happen). But I still looked at a few people and thought "I wish my legs looked like hers", or "I wish I was more defined like ____" or whatever. Why do we do that?
While I have never lived with an eating disorder (I like food too much, and I really hate puking), I can't say I wasn't ever tempted that direction. During Jr High I competed on my school's gymnastics team and I was surrounded by little stick figures. I have always had a more muscular build and was by far on the bigger side of that group, though looking back, I was by no means big. But when these early teen girls, who weighed mostly 80-something pounds, were constantly worried about being fat, it shocked me. I started wondering what they must have thought of me! Which then begs the question-why would that matter?
I had a reality check two years ago when I had achieved my pie in the sky weight goal. (see look, even when it's about weight loss, it's still about food with me-pie!) My body fat had dropped low enough that I was not able to become pregnant. My body shut down that department. My dr advised me that I needed to gain some weight if I wanted another baby. I wanted another baby, horribly badly at that point, but still had to sit down and have a little talk with myself. I had to mentally refocus. I had to ask myself, was I unselfish enough to gain 10lbs (plus the pregnancy weight on top of that)-even if they stayed there forever-for the privilege of having another baby. While the decision was obvious, and the mental resistance lasted no longer than a day, it makes me sad that I even had to think about that. Especially when I realize that if I had chosen otherwise, I wouldn't have my sweet Charlotte.
And it's not just the body image issues-we do it in so many areas. "Why am I not as good a cook as ___?", "Why can't I keep up with life the way _____can", "I wish I was as athletic as _____/as creative as _____/my house was as clean as ______/I was as stylish, smart, on top of things, funny, well-rounded as ______." Forget comparing yourself to others, just be your best YOU! Stop worrying about how you compare to everyone else.
Because ironically, for every time you've wished to be like someone else, odds are someone has thought the same thing about you, and wondered how you do it all. And that someone was probably me!
I challenge all you ladies who read this to focus on something great about yourself today! Don't let it go to your head, just appreciate the gifts that you've been given. Then go out and use those gifts to lift someone else.
And above all else, be happy!