Wednesday 30 April 2014

Facing your insecurities - can I love me just as I am?

I've had a blog post brewing for weeks now. Do you ever find that you have something to say but you are not sure how? I just seemed to have so much information and no way of putting it together into a coherent (and not too lengthy) post but today I'm determined to do it.

In March I wrote a post called 'As a parent I am the antidote to the norms and expectations of society' this was my first attempt to try and sort my own thoughts out about how the beauty industry and society at large are making an impression on my children. JJ is now 10 and my girls are nearly 7 so there is still some time to be able to positively influence them and to help them know they are beautiful and lovable. They are worthy of love without any conditions laid on it, they are loved for who they are, not what they do or how they look. I'm so scared the media will get under their skin and dictate that they have to be very slim, with perfect hair, clothes that are the latest fashion and always sporting a smile.

But I'll be really honest here with you (and please don't judge me). What I'm super scared of, is that the media has already impacted me and that without my wanting to I have been conditioned to believe that I must lose weight and keep my newly developing wrinkles at bay. Then of course in my fight to lose weight and my own battles with how I look (even if I try to hide it) they will see it and they will know it without me ever having uttered a word.

Just a week or two ago Miss E wrapped a cardie around herself and said 'look Mummy, I look like you, you wear your cardie like this' and she is right, I do.  I wear it tightly around me so it hides my large tummy, that was a bit of a wake up call!

Then wake-up call number two came when I was on pic monkey the other night resizing some images to use for my weekly 365 post and I came across a picture my Mum had taken of me last weekend. I was thinking how much I liked it and that it was a good shot.  Here it is, what do you think?

I look at this photo and I see a warm and friendly person, someone I might like to hang out with.

This is me as I look most days, nothing has been touched up in the photo, it shows the true picture of an overweight 40 year old mother.

Then for some reason whilst I was in pic-monkey I thought it might be fun to play with the touch-up tools (Photoshop type) and see how I might look after. Here is the touched up photo -

I used the weight loss tool, gave myself a sun-kissed glow, removed my forehead and eye wrinkles, gave my lips a touch of colour, added more mascara and brightened my eyes. It got to the end of the process and I was pretty pleased with the photo and thinking I looked like a better version of me.

What is that about? Here I am worrying that my kids will not accept themselves for who they are and what they look like and I am evidently doing the same.

This parenting lark really can be difficult, you have to deal with all your own insecurities and face up to every challenge in your bid to help your kids be confident and independently equipped to deal with whatever life throws at them. I suppose I should thank them really for helping me to grow up and face my own demons.

I now need to find some ways to help me love and accept myself just as I am. Have you got any good ideas for me? I think it is going to be quite a process.

So please tell me, am I alone? Have you been conditioned by the media or have you stood firm and retained the knowledge that you are worthy of unconditional love and that you don't have to look twenty forever more?

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