I want to talk about something that is so near to my heart that I haven't had the ability to write about it until now. It has hit, not close to home, but instead, smashed right into it for me.
The truth is, most of us will never face the reality of feeling completely and totally ugly. Trust me, I am a woman and I have felt the painful awkwardness of being a young woman, being mocked and bugged for things my body had or lacked. I have felt that bloated and gross feeling that comes with carrying a child. I have watched my body change through the years, sometimes loving it and sometimes down right hating it.
But believe me when I say that the biggest zit on my face (like "reach out and slap you" zit), the five or ten pounds that I have obsessed over and over and over and over (get the picture) and over again, or the worst possible hair day pales in comparison to the way I have seen myself this past year.
Few of you, and I am so grateful for this, will ever have to look at yourself and not even recognize who you see. It is so hard to explain to people what that feeling is. It feels lost and sick. It feels completely helpless and scary. It feels odd and unimaginable. Maybe you think that I am over reacting, but can you image not know who is looking back at you in the mirror?
There were so many days, and I mean SO many days, that I couldn't believe who that was. It is the weirdest feeling to see the world the same, my kids, my husband, our home, our family, our friends, the grocery store, the car, the yard, our supper, buildings, nature... I literally mean my world; but not have the faintest of clues as to who that was staring back at me from across the bathroom counter.
Sore, red, rashy, bloated, and hairless was the new me for quite long enough, thank you very much. What makes us as women feel beautiful? Our hair, our eyes and how we get to put our face on. Our body and our breasts (still hate that word!! but I am going for effect here) are some of the most important things that define us as women. Imagine all of that being taken away from you. No hair to say "I feel funky/tired/or beautiful today." No eyelashes to extend and bat at the hordes of people taken in by your beautiful eyes. No butterfly kisses for your children (that one got me every time ESPECIALLY when they were given to me). No eyebrows to show your expression... only sad, puffy and sore eyes. I mean seriously, right down to my fingernails which were lifted, split and as thin as paper. Everything - gone.
To make matters worse, let's gain 20 pounds from steroids! I always explain it like this, "Eat like a football player and sleep like a new born baby." I can testify to you that THAT does nothing for your figure. And you know what, no matter how hard you try, there is NOTHING you can do about it. You are too sore and tired (because your hemoglobin levels have plummeted) to even try. Talk about compounding the feeling of ugly upon ugly.
And you know what, luckly for me, I am not a burn victim or someone who has been horrible disfigured by diseas or accident. My body is slowly, very slowly, returing to itself. I feel like I can see me again. I feel blessed to have had this experience in my life to show me what beauty really is. To love and appreciate me at any stage, and I can say that and honeslty mean it. It is my hope to never bitch or complain about myself again. I like you struggle with this.
My prayer for you is that you will love and appreciate who you are, no matter what stage of life you are in. That you will take care of your body so it can do the same for you. That you will see beyone the zit, 5 pounds or bad hair, and just be happy and love who you are. It could honestly be so much worse. Don't listen to the world, magazine or what the boy or husband you "love" so much says about you. You are beautiful from the inside out. That beauty radiates from within and infects those around you. It is stunning and amazing. And don't ever forget that.