16 Jan Learn from my mistake: watch what you say about yourself
This post was supposed to be about cleaning out your closet.
That’s what I spent all of last weekend doing, On our last free holiday weekend, with no activities or obligations, when everyone else in my house wanted to see a movie, I decided that my wardrobe desperately needed an overhaul.
Of course, a closet clean-up requires trying things on, and in retrospect, tackling this job after a really indulgent Mexican vacation (think: lots of cheese quesadillas and lots of Tequila) was probably not the best idea I’ve ever had.
My tops didn’t seem to care that I’m carrying around a few extra pounds of taco weight, but my pants sure did. Standing in front of the mirror, frantically jumping up and down and sucking in my gut to do up zippers and buttons left me in a frustrated sweat.
And in that frustrated sweat, my pile of “too small” pants growing by the minute, I yelled to my husband (who was lying on the bed, watching football and trying to ignore my angry muttering), “I can’t believe how disgusting I am!”
As luck would have it, this happened to be the exact moment my 14 year-old daughter wandered into the room.
I’m not sure whether she heard my rant, but the moment I saw her I wished I could travel back in time to the minute before I’d used the word disgusting to describe myself.
Fourteen is such an incredibly sensitive age.
It’s a time of hormonal upheaval, physical transformation and emotional turmoil. I’ve worked really hard to help my daughter foster a positive self-image. A competitive swimmer, she’s often expressed self-consciousness at her broad shoulders and athletic build and I’ve always responded to these remarks with encouragement and praise for her strong and healthy body. Those amazing shoulders, I tell her, have come from 6 am swim practices and incredible hard work and dedication and you should be PROUD. Also, you could totally take me in a fight and probably your dad too.
But with one overheard, stupid, disparaging remark, I’m afraid that I’ve undone all that hard work.
How can she believe my positivity about her body when I have nothing nice to say about mine? And did I just unwittingly give my daughter permission to use some awfully harmful vocabulary to describe herself? Our kids learn by example, and if her mom calls herself disgusting, why can’t she?
In the sobering light of remorse, I started to feel ridiculous. I had just come back from a terrific family vacation. My children are happy and thriving. My husband and I are healthy. We are surrounded by a loving network of friends and family. In light of all this, being upset over tight pants is absurd. It’s hateful, actually.
As I trudge through the damage control at my house, I hope you learn something from my mistake.
Watch what you say about yourself.
Drink some wine. Have dessert. Go to a movie with your kids instead of cleaning your closet. And if your pants won’t do up, just give them away and count your blessings.