“You’re disgusting.” The view of me in the mirror brings out the harshest words.
I stand in front of the reflection. I suck it in. I let it out. I sigh loudly. I feel that sigh of disgust deeply. I pinch and poke at the places I hate. “Hate is a strong word,” I can hear my husband’s voice in my head.
But my body is easy to hate these days. The aching muscles. The stretched skin. The flabby belly and the jiggly arms and the dimpled thighs.
The hate comes on strong when I catch a glimpse of myself as I undress. Any confidence I ever had feels like a lifetime ago in the days of buttoning jeans without worry or standing in public without sucking in. The days I didn’t feel such an urge to stay looking straight when I walk past a window. The days when I didn’t need to close my eyes in front of a mirror.
These days, there are scars on my belly. There are dimples on my legs. There’s more chin and more bags and more hairs growing where they don’t belong. These days, the pairs of jeans that didn’t fit have turned into piles.
Next to me on the bed, the babbling is getting louder, calling out for my cue to come. Stripped to almost nothing, I lean over my little one and she gives me back the biggest grin. My love handles hang, my stomach sags, my thighs jiggle and my arms flap. She sees it all. And you know what she thinks? I’m the best thing ever.
What I see in the mirror is nothing that she sees. And how will I preach to my daughter that she is fearfully and wonderfully made when I don’t look at me the same? How can I teach her that she is God’s masterpiece when I say differently about myself?
The mirror may show what I look like, but it doesn’t capture how I love. And it’s a terrible thing, you know, to think of yourself based on how you look than who you are.
I’m not the adjectives I call out in the mirror.
I am not a size. I am not a number on a scale.
I am not the sum of the inches that wrap around my waist.
I’m a wife. A come-home-to warm hug.
I’m a sister. A can-always-count-on support.
I’m a friend. A ready-to-hear-it-all listener.
I’m a daughter. A laugh-til-your-lungs hurt partner.
And most importantly, I’m a mom.
To my daughter, I’m smiles. I’m a singing voice and a soothing whisper. I’m arms that hold and legs that carry. I’m a life-giver and a meal-maker and an always-can-count-on face. I forget all these things when I look in the mirror. I don’t see me like the little one who looks up to me everyday sees me. I don’t see me like the others in my life see me. And I surely don’t see me how my Creator sees me. But good grief, I’m going to start trying.