i think i finally don’t care as much about the way i look

Absentmindedly, while watching TV, perpetually breastfeeding, I am playing with a roll of fat on my side. It is a new addition. My skin is looser now, around the middle, more pliable, softer. It feels nice to touch. It looks—well, whatever. I’m not thrilled about how it looks. My midwife said, “Yes, it will look tighter, after six months or so. No, it will never look the way it did.” Then she told me I was getting my period again, already. So that was a cheerful exchange.

The new moms I meet are always talking about their bodies. First we talk about our babies, then we talk about our bodies. We are a little uneasy about them, they seem unfamiliar, they have been changed and then changed again and what will they even do next? Who knows! The babies are cute, though.

“I have stretch marks on my boobs,” I was telling a friend. You know, just making conversation.

She said that her husband didn’t know what stretch marks were at first and he thought hers were pretty. And I remembered that the first time I saw them, on a guy, not a woman, I thought they were pretty, too. Silverly and iridescent. They have a magical sheen. It’s funny and random how we learn about ugliness—where to look for it. Where it’s supposedly hiding.

vid3739_pdid55232_1

(I googled “iridescent wings” and the jewelry that popped up is really nice!! source)

Bear said the other day, “You used to get really upset when you saw a bad photo of yourself.”

I remember—I would feel abruptly hopeless. It was like tripping into a deep hole- a hunter’s pit. Oh wait, I would think, I was wrong. I am not good. I was mistaken.

I didn’t even want to think about beauty. I just wanted to like myself. And somewhere along the way, I’d learned that looking a certain way meant you could like yourself more and not looking that way meant you should probably like yourself less. I got this feeling that I wouldn’t even have to think about my appearance if I only looked better. Stupid, stupid, I told myself, every time. Why can’t I just get over it? Why can’t I be smarter? It was so embarrassing to care.

 

Sometimes I see pictures of one of my beautiful friends with Eden, and I think, why don’t I look like that, holding my own baby? And for a second I wish that I looked different so that there could be this awesome legacy of my youthful beauty for Eden to look back on one day. She’d be like, “Wow, my mom was so gorgeous!” And she’d be proud of me for that instinctively. Being born of a beautiful woman is a pride thing. It’s like going to an Ivy League school or something. There’s cachet. But the next second, I am thinking about something else.

That’s what’s new here. I find I can’t manage to care enough to get really truly upset the way I used to.

And it’s amazing, really. And I should take a moment to celebrate it. Because once I thought I’d never get over this. I thought this sort of shit goes on forever, and you just keep pretending it’s getting better, but really, come on, really, it’s still always the same.

It’s not the same. Here’s my heavily clichéd observation about life for the day: you always feel like nothing is going to change and everything is always changing.

Someone rephrase that so it’s catchier and put it on a mug, please.

evolution_ride

(this looked cool. source)

When I started writing this blog, I really, really wished I looked different than I do. So I told myself over and over that I had to get to the point where I could accept my own beauty. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL THE WAY YOU ARE, I was practically shouting at myself as I typed. That’s the campaign they’re doing in this city now. And I think it’s really good. I believe in diverse beauty. I believe in complex beauty. I believe in beauty that not every single person agrees on. I believe that every girl has a right, actually, to feel attractive.

“The world doesn’t actually owe anyone that,” Bear said once, when we were having a little debate about this stuff.

“Sure,” I said, being all cool and not getting over-sensitive like usual, “But the world also needs to back off telling girls they don’t look good enough. The world needs to stop obsessing over the way girls look in the first place. The world needs to back the fuck off of girls and—“ OK, so I got a little sensitive.

The world doesn’t owe us a big compliment about the way we look, but we should be able to feel good about ourselves, and it would help a lot if we weren’t being told all the time that our appearances were really important. Maybe the most important thing about us. In practically every book I read as a kid where there was a male protagonist, his love interest would be the prettiest girl around. It was like that was the baseline requirement. She had to start out effortlessly being the prettiest, and then after that she could have a personality. Beauty sounded like something all the really awesome girls automatically had.

It’s taking me forever to get over that. I’ve always wanted to be awesome.

awesome-wonder-woman-fan-trailer-L-E40KRn

(source)

And recently I catch myself feeling relatively awesome anyway. Or at least not minding quite as much when I don’t.

“Do you think it’s because of the blog?” Bear asked me, after we discussed the possibility of it being at least in part because of the baby. “All those unroasts?”

Maybe.

When I started writing this thing, my mom was like, “I’m worried about you. You might be thinking too much about the way you look. It might depress you.”

Which was fair.

But I felt like I had something to say. I felt like I had to say it. It was like a tiny, personal crusade. I had this weird urge to publicly wrestle my demons on the internet. You know, to tweet the pain. I had this annoying urge to talk about stuff that people kept telling me wasn’t really important enough to talk about.

I’m really glad.

When I started writing I just wanted to get to the point where I could feel beautiful. And now here I am, twenty-seven, a new mother, living typically in Brooklyn, feeling tentatively good about my career, in love with my husband, craving yet another pulled pork burrito from the cart at the edge of the park, still neglecting to put my damn shoulders back, and not feeling particularly gorgeous. But not wanting in a serious way to look any different than I do.

calexicos-carne-asada-eat-the-street

(it’s just the best. source)

Beauty is important. The way the world works now, it seems much better to have it than not to have it, as a girl and a woman. It gets inflated. It gets overemphasized. It gets obnoxiously consistent top billing. But it is never, ever the only important thing. It can’t be.

It’s such a relief to recognize, for real, that it isn’t.

I feel forgiving towards my body right now. It did a lot of crazy stuff recently. The stretch marks on my boobs just crack me up, because it’s not like I’m busty now. My breasts are like, “LOOK! We’re so HUGE all of a sudden!! Can you even believe how much we’ve grown?? WATCH OUT! We might knock you over! GIANT BOOBS COMING THROUGH!!”  And yet they are maybe a B cup. So I make fun of them for that.

The roll of fat on my side when I sit is sort of sweet. It’s okay that it’s there.

I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself to do more every year until I’ve become fantastically impressive and also, hopefully, enormously clever. But one of the best parts of living for longer is that I get a tiny bit happier over time. I get a little bit more forgiving. I get more distracted and more forgetful and I let my old obsessions slip until maybe one day they will slide off entirely and I will step out of them, naked, fresh, silvery and softer and deliciously free.

Freer.

I’ll take it.

eden on my legs

(my own legacy)

*  *  *

Do you notice yourself caring less about the things that used to drive you crazy? Or are you frustrated at yourself for still being driven crazy? If so, I totally, totally understand.

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in pink pants

I’m doing a giveaway soon, for glasses (because I liked that offer– it sounded practical and cool), so stay tuned.

47 Comments »

Kate on October 3rd 2013 in beauty, body, life, motherhood

47 Responses to “i think i finally don’t care as much about the way i look”

  1. onebreath responded on 03 Oct 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    I wrote a post recently about theory vs. reality and I feel like that is where I am in terms of self acceptance. In theory, I know that I am worthwhile and okay no matter what I look like. In reality, though? I catch a glimpse in a mirror and those silly little automatic critiques leap out at me. I’m hopeful (especially after reading your post!) that there is hope for me and yet I’m frustrated with how difficult it is to change my mindset and just to love myself. So. Freaking. Hard.

    Worth it, for sure, it just amazes me how I need to commit to loving myself over and over again.

  2. skye responded on 03 Oct 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    I’m happy for you! I feel like I’m partly there, too. My thing now, though, is aging. I’m more concerned about it than I ever was about weight, because it’s heading steadily forward and there’s no reversing it, no diet I can try to make my eyes and mouth look younger. In the past year I’ve experienced a tragedy and someone close has cancer, and when I look in the mirror, I see it in my face, in pulls at the corners of my eyes and mouth and new wrinkles in my forehead. So my new project is getting OK with aging and having my life experiences be reflected in my face.

    <3 that picture of you and Eden in the park. I love Brooklyn.

  3. Liz responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 1:09 am #

    Kate, you ARE beautiful. And thank you for this.

  4. Sari responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 5:59 am #

    <3

  5. Amy responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 8:26 am #

    My baby boy is just a month or so older than Eden and I find myself feeling similarly to what you describe. I never had serious body hate but I could for real care less these days. And I have softened on a LOT of things. Halloween is coming up, one of my favorite holidays. For my entire life I have liked it scary and gory. “I want to be a princess! A ZOMBIE PRINCESS!” My goal has been to be the scariest house on the block. I have always been anti-cute Halloween. Now I’m out with the baby and see a smiley pumpkin or a cute little ghostie and I want it. Ugh. What is happening to me?! haha. It’s pretty awesome.

  6. Kate responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    @onebreath
    Yes. I feel like I’m intimately acquainted with every idea in this comment. And I wish there was some simple solution, but I think it’s some combination of time and chance and intentionality and the shifting big events of life. I’m just relieved to discover that I can sometimes stop caring so much so automatically about some of the things I’ve hated caring about. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s definitely happening!

  7. Kate responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    @skye
    I hear you! I’m shocked by how old I am. Which maybe sounds weird. But I can say things about what I was doing ten years ago, and I actually really remember ten years ago, because I wasn’t a little kid. I am shocked to find myself here, and I’m aware of my mortality. But I also hope that I’ll keep getting better emotionally and intellectually, and that will balance me out. One of the cool things about aging is that you can surprise yourself by how cool you’re turning out!

  8. Kate responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    @amy
    LOL!!! I have also caved to cuteness….Enjoy your adorable Halloween!

  9. Hope responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    My perception of my body has been changing a lot this year. Early in the year, I’d gotten tangled up in my eating disorder again. I had a level of self-awareness that told me it was more about finding power in a situation where I felt helpless than about my appearance, but my body was where I’d gone looking for power. So I went back to treatment. I gained weight, I got bigger, and I hated my body for not being controllable.

    Then I got very sick. I almost died before I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease affecting my digestive system. Suddenly, my whole relationship with my body–and by extension myself–was changed. I suddenly had to deal with severe pain, major diet changes, and a cocktail of potentially toxic drugs.

    I thought it would make me hate my body even more. Surprisingly, I was wrong. Being ill has taught me how much my body had been doing for me all my life, while I was taking it for granted and hating it.

    There are bad days, sure, where I say I want a new body that actually works, but overall, I’ve started to value my body for what it does and allows me to do. I’ve stopped being so critical of how I look, and that’s given me a level of confidence I never imagined I’d have. It’s not perfect; criticizing my body is such an old habit that I still catch myself doing it sometimes. The difference is that now I’m aware I’m doing it, and I can stop, realize that’s not how I really feel about myself, and start thinking about knitting patterns or the article I’m writing or the last episode of Game of Thrones. My life doesn’t revolve around self-hate anymore.

  10. Lauren responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    This is good to read, thank you! The part, “In practically every book I read as a kid where there was a male protagonist, his love interest would be the prettiest girl around. It was like that was the baseline requirement. She had to start out effortlessly being the prettiest, and then after that she could have a personality. Beauty sounded like something all the really awesome girls automatically had.
    It’s taking me forever to get over that. I’ve always wanted to be awesome…” well that really resonated with me.

    Oh, and Eden is adorable. I think she gets it from her mom!?! :)

  11. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    What a truly amazing mother/daughter photo :) I love it!

  12. Erin Lee responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    It’s awesome that you’ve gotten to this point, and maybe Eden has had a lot to do with that. I am wondering if you think you might fall back into old habits as time goes on and Eden gets older? Do you think your newly-realized freedom will last? I hope so. Just wondering what you think.
    PS She looks so much like you!

  13. Kate responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    @Hope
    This is fascinating and I’m happy for you, even though I obviously wouldn’t wish a near-death experience and a serious illness on anyone. But I’ve definitely noticed that many women who suffer from serious illness also emerge with a totally different, and often positive/indifferent outlook towards their appearances. Their bodies just take on a new meaning. Enjoy GOT!!!

  14. Kate responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    @Erin Lee
    I wonder that too. We shall see…

    And no one ever says she looks like me!!! Ha!

  15. Lillian responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Our nose is the same en profile! #proud!
    I love that you feel this way! I started out the same way you did, but my change of attitude has gone even a step further. I started out hating my nose when a girl once casually commented ‘You have such a strange nose!’ I hated her for that, because it was the start of my self-loathing. But we were twelve, I forgave her and we’re best friends now. About five and a half years I pointed out all my flaws to myself til half a year ago (I’m 18 now) I had a moment: ‘Damn Lily, you are being such a harsh bitch on yourself. Be kind to yourself as you are to others.’ I’m finally starting to see the beauty in me that others have been pointing out to me. I love my nose now! And I love yours! Yet I still hate en profile pictures of my left side. I’m working on that too. It’s just vanity caring about what my pics look like. That’s not me. I want the A+ personality and the A+attitude and the looks? Don’t matter anymore. Fuck society’s priorities! They should get their shit straight!

  16. claire responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    two beautiful ladies in the park, one little munchkin, and the other is my beautiful mooshie. I love your post, and just you remember I was once 97 lbs, and young too, however some of us are lucky and we age so we can see our wonderful children, grandchildren, and great grand children, that is our reward BABA

  17. Janae responded on 04 Oct 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    This x 1000. It’s not about attaining the unattainable or hating what is and wishing for what never will be. It’s about accepting that it just doesn’t really matter all that much. You so eloquently captured that in that photo of you and Eden and its caption.

    Interestingly, I just read this article yesterday and it resonates much the same way:
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/10/02/nyc_girls_project_bloomberg_s_worthwhile_self_esteem_campaign_for_girls.html

  18. Mandy responded on 05 Oct 2013 at 12:25 am #

    The older I get, themore impoertant health becomes to me, and the less important my little fits of insecurity and the rantings of my inner critic have become.

  19. Mandy responded on 05 Oct 2013 at 12:30 am #

    The older I get, the more important health becomes to me, and the less important my little fits of insecurity and the rantings of my inner critic have become.
    I have lived long enough to realize how silly my insecurities are, and how full of crap my inner critic is. That’s not to say that they don’t still get to me from time to time. But, since I’m aware of how relatively unimportant they are, it’s easier to shrug them off.
    And, let’s face it–I have better and much more interesting things to do with my time!
    And, I too love that photo of you and Eden! Congratulations on your new-found serenity.

  20. Mandy responded on 05 Oct 2013 at 12:31 am #

    Sorry about the duplication of posts–I’m trying to type with a splint on one finger. Makes things unpredictable!

  21. Esther Neema responded on 05 Oct 2013 at 10:18 am #

    You are really beautiful though, and that’s such a beautiful picture of mother and daughter, and I guess looking at your little girl makes you sure that the stretch marks are worth it :) .

  22. Ashley responded on 05 Oct 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    That picture at the end is beautiful! So much happiness showing in it :)

  23. Carina responded on 06 Oct 2013 at 4:55 am #

    I think stretch marks are pretty too :)

    When you talked about your little fat roll etc. I had a completely different image of you than the photo at the end – when I saw it I thought, “But she’s gorgeous!”

    I think Eden will prefer seeing photos of her young mother looking happy than posed and sexy.

  24. Neeva responded on 06 Oct 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    yeah, childbirth made me absolutely proud of my body. I more or less feel like dancing around and shouting ‘I made a child’ like Tom Hanks in cast away, after he made fire.
    And honestly I like my new shape, including stretchmarks and new scar.

  25. Third Assistant Librarian responded on 06 Oct 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    I hesitate to say this after a post that’s all about how beauty isn’t the most important thing, but that picture of you and Eden is beautiful. What an impish little face she has! Future mischief maker, that one. :)

    I can relate to this, since I had major surgery recently. That definitely teaches you to stop caring about how your body looks and start focusing on caring for your body. Before that happened, I’d be horrified at the prospect of being unable to work out for two weeks. Now it’s more like, what’s that, Body? You feel like sleeping for twelve hours? Cool. You’d like an entire box of saltines for dinner? All right. Walking a block sounds too difficult today? Fine, we’ll try tomorrow. No biggie.

    Not once over the past few weeks have a given a damn about how I looked. It’s a nice feeling.

  26. Daphne responded on 07 Oct 2013 at 11:58 am #

    A couple of thoughts:

    1. Not that I need to say it, but you are beautiful, and better — you are happy. Happy = beautiful every time.

    2. I was born to an extremely beautiful (and wonderful and caring, but frequently unhappy) mother, and let me tell you… it’s a lot to live up to. Frankly, I’d rather just have the happy mom. Beauty is nice but it doesn’t buy happiness.

    3. It does get better over time! I’m turning 40 next year and although I look about the same and weigh about the same as I have for the past 20 years (I guess those good genes are good for SOMEthing), I find myself just… not caring as much. The upper arms, they are not toned. So what? The nose… is large. Oh well! I’m loved, I love others, and I’m happy.

    Happy = beautiful.
    Which is why you look stunning in the photo in this post!!

  27. Kande responded on 07 Oct 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    I am not attractive. Even on my best days, I would never be someone that anyone would take a second look at (appearance wise anyway). I used to be upset by that. Not overly so, but it always preyed in some way or another on my mind. Like you I would be harshly critical of pictures of me, would go through and delete, get mad when people would post up what I saw as a sub-par version of me – yet really it wasn’t me thinking the PHOTO was sub-par, it was me being upset at the thought that it really was an accurate portrayl of how I look.

    Fast-forward to 2.5 years ago, where for the first time in 15-20 years I started to realize the need to take care of myself; where I slowly started to make making time for me to workout a priority rather than something to be set aside with a ready excuse.

    And as I stuck with it – some physical flaws became remedied as I dropped unhealthy weight (fat from unhealthy food choices and being sedentary) and gained healthy weight (via toned muscle). Other physical “flaws” (not so much flaws other than the fact they are seen as signs of aging so considered flaws) became more prominent – grey hair in some areas, newly sprouting hairs in others, wrinkles, skin still breaking out, post-BF-two-kids saggy breasts …

    And yet – despite me still having my same old face that I know has never stopped traffic; despite me having those newly not aspired to physical attributes listed above (not to mention the re-harshing of old ones from teenage years!) – THIS is the time in my life when I truly feel the most beautiful that I have ever been!!

    In fact, unlike before when I used to critique and want to burn any photo of me that didn’t look like it was taken by a professional of a model (so in other words – pretty much EVER photo of me ever!) … some of my all-time favourite pictures of me now, where I am SO proud of how I look – are when I am visibly tired, sweaty, red-faced, flaws clearly showing due to no make-up and bright sunlight on my face – as they are taken when I have just finished a race! Some of them when I am greeting my children after doing a race -and the joy/pride/happiness/peace just beam from my being!

    My only explanation of this wonderful phenomena is that I am realizing that the physical limitations of my ability to be beautiful just can’t limit or suppress the beauty of my emotional/mental self that shine through.

    And for that – at almost 40 – I am grateful. While also desperately hoping this is a lesson that will not take my daughters 40 years to learn.

  28. Leila responded on 07 Oct 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    So, I sent this as an email to Kate, and she asked me to post it, since she thought people might find it interesting:

    I was always considered one of the “pretty girls”. Not movie star beautiful, but always pretty. And it annoyed the hell out of me. I’m a total nerd (don’t get me started on gross infectious diseases, I’ll go on forever), but because I was pretty, no one thought my brain was of much use. I remember running into a teacher from junior high who had never thought much of me academically, and she was shocked to discover that I’d graduated from Berkeley. It was written all over her face that she thought I’d barely make it through a junior college.

    In high school, for a bit, I embraced the pretty, because it was fun to play with makeup and clothes, and get all of the attention. But really, I just wanted people to take me seriously academically, and few did. Probably why every guy I dated was a friend first, since the ones I just met thought I’d make good arm candy, and would run away as soon as I opened my mouth about a subject I was passionate about. Or, they decided that, no matter how exotic I looked on the outside, I was just like the average non-ethnic girl.

    Either way. My best friend has complained on numerous occasions that it’s hard to be friends with me sometimes, because I’m prettier than she is (not true, but it’s an opinion caused by her deep seated personal perception issues). I explained to her that it took me years to get to the point where I simply stopped caring what people thought of me (and I’m still doing that), because, invariably, I got lumped into the “pretty” category, and I had to work that much harder to prove myself, that I had a brain.

    So I guess it’s a grass is always greener thing. I yearned to be more ordinary looking, because I wanted to be taken seriously.

  29. Kate responded on 07 Oct 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    @Kande
    I kinda love how you started this comment with the statement “I am not attractive.” It sounded like the beginning of a novel. And then I really liked reading where the comment went. How cool, that you are where you are at 40, and how cool that I and other women can learn from this

  30. Kate responded on 07 Oct 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    @Daphne
    HELL YES to un-toned upper arms and big noses! And even more so to happiness.

  31. Kate responded on 07 Oct 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    @Leila
    Thank you for posting!

  32. sarah elizabeth responded on 07 Oct 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    I had my first son (of 3) at 27. I hated my body, the huge boobs, the fat rolls, the general loss of “control”. There are zero- zero pictures of the two of us together until he is about 4 months old. This makes me physically ill to think about. I tried to erase myself, I did not want a record of myself in “that state”. Very depressing. After the birth of my next 2, I made an effort to be in the pictures, having realized “that state” is not permanent. I wish I could have had your wise attitude, I would give anything to see a picture of myself with him, both of us so young and unsure how it was all going to pan out… keep writing…

  33. CL Mannarino responded on 09 Oct 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    This is a wonderful post. :) Thank you for writing it!

  34. Vicky responded on 11 Oct 2013 at 7:33 am #

    I’m feeling the same, but it’s complicate. As I’m getting older I care less about what other people think about my appearance, but I care more about what I think. I mean, I wear the clothes I like, not those that are trendy. I style my hair naturally because it takes less effort and makes me feel more comfortable, even if people around me dye it and apply several products every day.

    Now I’m pregnant. I’m only two months on, but I find subtle changes on my body, and I love them. I’m not gonna lie, I’m afraid of what I’ll look like after delivering, but not because I don’t want to be fat, it’s just that I think I won’t recognize myself…

    Anyway, this is one of the best posts I’ve read on your blog, and the first time I’ve had the courage to comment. Your unroasts are awesome, and I think that reading this kind of blogs has helped me love myself more and also love others and judge them less.

    Keep on being so brave and open hearted, and your daughter we’ll be proud of you!!

    PS: I love your last picture. Your smile is so natural, and your daughter’s face… so lovely!

  35. Becky responded on 12 Oct 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I just wanted to say that you mentioned above about not looking as good as your friend while holding your baby. Well the picture of you and Eden (I assume) is beautiful. You look BEAUTIFUL in it and she to will see that when she looks at old photos some day. Enjoy your baby because it goes by very fast. My little boy is six already and I can’t believe it.

  36. Claire responded on 13 Oct 2013 at 12:31 am #

    I breathed a sigh of something when I read this – not simply relief, but of happiness. Satisfaction. I could relate to your beautiful piece, because although I am not quite there yet, a few changes that I have recently undergone in my personality (accepting my crazy habits, embracing myself and who I am) make me feel so much more positive about the future. Your piece gave me something to really look forward to.

    Thank you so much, you have no idea how much your ideas help me!

  37. Lola responded on 15 Oct 2013 at 2:32 am #

    Agreeing with Becky. That picture is gorgeous. And when your daughter is older, she will think that you’re the most beautiful woman in the world (the wonderful part about being a mother).

  38. Linda Lou responded on 16 Oct 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Good for you! Keep writing ! Young women need to know they are not alone with all these struggles. I got a good laugh from the boobs comment, I know that feeling well with my D cups. Your forgiveness about your physical appearance is the best thing in the world, that will only make you even more beautiful with age.

  39. Rosanne responded on 17 Oct 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    This post made me smile. How wonderfully relatable and uplifting. That picture at the end just topped it of, gorgeous :)

  40. Jeremiah responded on 18 Oct 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Wow!
    You’ve delightfully, eloquently, charmingly (and so on) completed a major arc in the wonderful circle of your life you’ve been educating and enchanting us all with all this while.
    Thank you.

  41. Angie responded on 18 Oct 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    Welcome to the world of body acceptance! Feels good doesn’t it? It took me a lot longer to get there, and by a different route, but the feeling is just as good!

    My first glimmer of understanding came when I married a man who had long been a naturist (that’s NUDIST – oh yeah, THAT freaked me out!) and through him I discovered a whole new world! Raised a good Catholic girl, the last thing I would have ever done is expose my body to strangers!

    Nonetheless, I bit the bullet and took the plunge. The first surprise was how good it felt to be outdoors nude! The second was how comfortable I found I was among others who, honestly, don’t care how you look. I mean, REALLY don’t care!

    Now, I’m not a small girl. Six feet tall and, well, I won’t say how much I weigh, but a model I am not. I have never been comfortable with my body but there’s not a lot I can do about it. I’m just big all around.

    Among fellow nudists there is NO judgement based on appearance, none at all. While I’m reluctant to appear in public in a swimsuit, I feel totally relaxed and comfortable completely naked! Go figure.

    But anyway, it was through naturism that I discovered that my body appearance isn’t what makes me, ME. ‘Me’ is a much-loved mother and lover, grandmother and all around good person!

    I guess I knew these things before, but it wasn’t until I learned that my appearance wasn’t all that important to those who really matter that I was able to become comfortable and love the person I am!

    If anyone is interested in my first encounter with naturism, here’s a old article I wrote for our fledgling website! From there you can find your way to our new site which has lots of good information for women! – Angie http://allnudist.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/how-we-met-part-two-angies-version/

  42. Dana responded on 25 Oct 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    No matter what you think you look like now, when your daughter is an adult, she will look at you in her baby pictures and think you are absolutely beautiful :)

  43. Grace Grayling responded on 26 Oct 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Thank you for this. You really defined something for me – the acute inequality of importance of physical appearance, and the pressure this places on us as women.

    Brilliant article.

  44. Janine responded on 13 Nov 2013 at 1:00 am #

    I care as much as always about the way that I look, but my requirements for “looking good” have changed. I’m more laidback about the way I look in my downtime, whereas previously I always had to be ‘on.’ But pre-kids I also had all of the extra time to achieve that look on a daily basis. My motivation has also changed. Deep down I’m probably less concerned with my looks but I hate the idea of people thinking I’ve “let myself go”, etc. Pretty silly. And unfortunately (and sadly), my husband would prefer I still look the way I did when we got married.

  45. Also Kate responded on 13 Nov 2013 at 6:59 am #

    Hi- I just found your blog and I’m really struck as to how much I relate to it.. and especially this post. I have a long history of caring about how much I look to the point of being pretty down on myself.
    I turned 28 this summer and got married shortly after. The thought of dieting before my wedding day crossed my mind a few times, but then I realized that I very likely wouldn’t stay at whatever my “wedding weight” was for very long. In fact, I would probably look different in just a month (or a week!) after my wedding. I was resolute to just look how I look.. and hedge my bets that I will probably be able to look back at those photos next year and say, “That was my wedding day and I looked beautiful.” By doing that I was also giving Future Me a compliment.. since if I could feel I looked beautiful on my wedding day, I could set a good example for, well, me. I don’t know if that sounds convoluted, but I think you get the idea.
    Lately I have passing thoughts of, “Oh I should lose 10 pounds.” Sure, I guess I could, but gosh that would take a lot of work, a lot of barraging myself for eating a cookie (or some cake!), and that doesn’t make me feel good. For well over half of my life I have been down on myself and it’s just Exhausting. As in, I am so tired of not feeling good. I just can’t muster the energy to be critical of myself anymore.
    I also want to have a kid and I can’t imagine having them grow up in a household where Mom is putting herself down all the time. That’s lame and I’ve been there/done that.
    So, here’s to your blog… and to hanging up our hang ups.
    -
    Kate

  46. Eat the Damn Cake » I am sexier as a mom responded on 22 Nov 2013 at 9:53 am #

    [...] I didn’t stop caring about the way I looked (this isn’t a story with a moral or something), but I was really busy caring a lot about other [...]

  47. Eat the Damn Cake » losing my hair responded on 18 Dec 2013 at 11:00 am #

    [...] days I feel so fine. I mean, I just wrote this piece, about feeling sexy. And before that I wrote this piece, about not caring about the way I look anymore. So yes, that just happened. I realize I’m sort of [...]