Yesterday, I stared at myself in the mirror after my shower. Naked and vulnerable, I studied my body as has become my routine. The system of perusing, of berating, of judging myself has become as ingrained in me as brushing my teeth, combing my hair, putting on clothes.
My eyes danced over the bulge on my stomach that was too big, the cellulite chunks on my legs that were gross. I looked at my chest that was too flat, my arms that jiggled too much. I shook my head at the eyebrows that were too sparse, a victim of the early 2000s overplucking craze. The gray hairs sprouting in my brunette hair popped out at me, and the eye wrinkles I have now made me curse my twenty-year-old self for not using more eye cream. I looked at my too shiny forehead, the mole I hate, all of the things I notice every single day.
Then I did what so many women do. I headed to my closet and looked for the shorts that weren’t too short so that dimple I hate is covered. I put on the flowy shirt to cover the bulge, the one that isn’t too low cut. Gone are the days of crop tops because no one wants to see that, I tell myself. I pull out the fabrics that will cover and tuck and give the illusion that I am as perfect as can be. That I fit the mold.
Yesterday, I beat myself down for not being the perfect girl, the flawless symbol of beauty I strive to be but never quite reach.
So many of us, especially women, get so used to finding the “flaws” in ourselves that we forget what else is there, too. We forget that no one is perfect, that flawlessness is a lie we’re fed from a young age. Most importantly, we forget to see the warrior woman in our eyes.
So today, I looked in the mirror and challenged myself to quiet that inner critic who is so loud. I stopped myself from critiquing the extra pounds on my hips, the facial features that aren’t perfect, the body that isn’t magazine worthy according to society.
I challenged myself to see the strong woman in my eyes who loves and feels and believes and dreams and gives. I challenged myself to find confidence in my own version of beauty. I told myself to stop covering up who I am and to let my own version of beauty shine through.
Is it easy? Hell no. But I think so many of us need to challenge ourselves to find confidence in who we are. We need to remember that we are more than a mole or a bra size or a cellulite chunk. We are more not in spite of it, but because of it. Every bump and freckle and line makes us who we are today.
Stop mourning for yesterday’s body. Stop worrying about what tomorrow will bring.
Live in the beautiful body you have today. Let your confidence shine. Smile in the mirror at the woman you have become because life is beautiful, and so are you.